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Big Ten West Rooting Guide for Wisconsin Football Fans: Week 8



Wisconsin Badgers Football
Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers footballs sit on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the Wisconsin Badgers football team had a golden opportunity in front of them to put some real distance between themselves and the rest of the Big Ten West by beating Iowa at home. With a win, they would have put themselves up a game against the Hawkeyes and multiple games against the rest of the division. They also would have earned the tie-breaker between themselves and their rivals.

Instead, the Badgers’ offense sputtered and stumbled leading to just two field goals in a very ugly 15-6 loss to the Hawkeyes, putting them at 2-1 in the division. Here’s a quick look at the current standings in the division:

Iowa – 6-1 (3-1)
Wisconsin – 4-2 (2-1)
Northwestern – 3-3 (1-2)
Minnesota – 3-3 (1-2)
Nebraska – 3-3 (1-2)
Purdue – 2-5 (1-3)
Illinois – 3-4 (1-3)

Now, Iowa is in the driver’s seat in the division. They are a half-game ahead of Wisconsin with the head-to-head tie-breaker. Meanwhile, the Badgers travel to Illinois this week and then host Ohio State in Week 9 in a primetime matchup. The Badgers are going to need to get hot and get some help if they have any hopes of winning the division. That all starts with this week.

Let’s take a look at who Wisconsin football fans should cheer for this week, whether we like it or not.

Who Should Wisconsin Football Fans Cheer for in Week 8?

Big Ten West teams on a bye this week: Purdue

Wisconsin @ Illinois – 2:30 PM

First and foremost, the Wisconsin football team needs to take care of business against Illinois, which is currently at the bottom of the standings in the West. You can find everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup on BadgerNotes. I don’t want to be dramatic, but this is 100% a must-win game. A loss to Illinois and potentially (probably?) a loss to Ohio State next week would sink the Badgers’ hopes at the division. Three losses in a row would be absolutely deflating.

Who to cheer for: Wisconsin

Iowa vs. Minnesota – 2:30 PM

I’m just going to come out and say it. I know it feels wrong, but the Wisconsin football team needs Minnesota to win this game badly. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

An Iowa loss to Minnesota would give the Badgers some hope. If the Hawkeyes fall and the Badgers win, they would be 3-2 and 3-1, respectfully, putting the Badgers up a half-game on Iowa.

Iowa’s remaining schedule after Minnesota are home games against Northwestern, Rutgers, and Illinois, then finish the season on the road against Nebraska. Not necessarily a gauntlet. If Iowa wins this game, it would be very difficult for Wisconsin to come back.

Who to cheer for: Minnesota

Northwestern @ Nebraska – 2:30 PM

Northwestern and Nebraska are both 1-2 in conference play. If I had to guess, I’d assume Nebraska would be a bigger threat to the Wisconsin football team for a division title. Plus, a loss to Northwestern at home would be pretty deflating for the Huskers. I’d rather play a Nebraska team that doesn’t have a ton to play for than a team that has a chance to make some noise.

Who to cheer for: Northwestern

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Christian Borman was born and raised in Wisconsin and covers the Badgers football and basketball programs, plus some recruiting for He previously covered the Wisconsin Badgers for years as the site expert for Badger of Honor of the Fansided Network.