The Madison.com sports coverage team once more went 7-for-8 against the spread in predicting Saturday's game against Fresno State at Camp Randall Stadium, which the Badgers won 34-31 in double overtime.

We'll do this weekly throughout the season and keep tabs for those of you scoring at home. Please offer your thoughts by adding a comment at the end and voting in the poll on the left-hand side of the page.

The prevailing line as of Friday morning had the Badgers favored by 8.5 points over the Bulldogs.

Our prognosticators are ranked in the order of the current standings. The total points category, which measures the differential between the predicted and actual scores, will be cumulative.


ANDY BAGGOT (2-0 vs. the spread, 2-0 overall, -14 off total points)

The Badgers should be able to run the ball better than they did in the opener, which will be the difference. Fresno State has enough playmakers on offense to make it very interesting.

Wisconsin 30, Fresno State 23


JIM POLZIN (2-0, 1-1, -22)

Even though the Badgers have gone 31-3 at Camp Randall Stadium since 2004, there haven't been many signature victories in that span. In fact, only two of those victories have come against ranked opponents. Fresno State isn't ranked, but this would be a victory UW could hang its collective hat on considering everything it had to deal with this week. But I think the Badgers are going to end up feeling sick to their stomachs after this one.

Fresno State 23, Wisconsin 21


ROB HERNANDEZ (2-0, 1-1, -24)

You'll have to excuse me, but I've been battling - ah-hem - a little something this week that's sort of clouded my thinking. But, yes, I like John Clay for the Heisman and the Badgers to play in the BCS National Championship game ... and - while a high-octane opponent like Fresno State is nothing to sneeze at - I think the Badgers' emerging offense will take its "Tolz" on the Bulldogs.

Wisconsin 31, Fresno State 21


TOM OATES (2-0, 2-0, -24)

What is it with California teams and their kickers? If Fresno State hadn't missed three field-goal attempts and Cal Poly hadn't missed three extra-point tries in games against UW last season, the Badgers would have lost both games. The Bulldogs always have good athletes and now they have an experienced kicker, but it still won't be enough to beat the Badgers.

Wisconsin 27, Fresno State 20


TOM MULHERN (2-0, 2-0, -25)

It'll be interesting to see who's more alert at kickoff: the Badgers, who have been battling the flu all week; the Bulldogs, with a 9 a.m. (California time) breakfast special; or the always fashionably late-arriving student section. The Badgers seem to have bonded over bottles of hand sanitizer this week. This could actually work against Fresno State, which has to fly halfway across the country and will be worried about catching something before its biggest game of the year against Boise State on Friday night.

Wisconsin 30, Fresno State 20


GREG SPROUT (2-0, 2-0, -31)

Who's healthy and who's not? Hard to tell. That factor aside, UW's quarterback rotation gets the nod over Fresno's, and the Bulldogs have problems stopping the run. Meanwhile, the Badgers' defense is coming off a solid debut.

UW 31, Fresno State 21


ADAM MERTZ (2-0, 2-0, -35)

Over the next four weeks, Fresno State's football team will log an estimated 15,000 frequent flier miles, following up the Madison trip with voyages to perennial WAC powerhouse Boise State, reigning Big East champ Cincinnnati, and conference foe Hawaii -- raising the possibility of a whole new definition for getting beaten through the air.

That journey will feel even longer and tougher if the Bulldogs get beat up physically and lose Saturday. It'll take more than another solid effort from the Tolzien-Phillips tag team to get it done for UW, which needs to quickly get its offensive line and ground game in order to survive what figures to be a difficult challenge.

Wisconsin 23, Fresno State 20


MIKE LUCAS (1-1, 2-0, -33)

If this was strictly a quarterback duel, the Bulldogs would win, 3-2.

They have Ryan Colburn (the starter), Derek Carr (the thrower), and Ebahn Feathers (the runner). In fact, they could even enlist the services of tailback Ryan Mathews, who operated out of the shotgun as a prep runner and thrower.

Colburn shares something in common with the UW starter Scott Tolzien: patience. Both have waited a very long time for their opportunity to get on the field. Colburn, though, has the edge on Tolzien in offensive coordinators. He's playing for his fifth in five years.

That has to be an NCAA record. Colburn, a career understudy prior to this season, has been tutored by Frank Cignetti, Steve Hagan, Jim McElwain, and Doug Nussmeier, who mentored last year's starter, Tom Brandstater, before bolting to the University of Washington.

Jeff Grady is now the quarterbacks coach and playcaller for the Bulldogs. (Derek Frazier is in charge of the run game and offensive line). As it is, Grady, a former Fresno State quarterback, has a working knowledge of the Badgers and Camp Randall Stadium.

In 2002, Grady completed 21 of 42 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns in a 23-21 loss to Wisconsin in Madison.

Brooks Bollinger outdueled Grady, despite being sacked six times. The real difference-maker for the Badgers was tailback Anthony Davis, who rushed for 184 yards.

If Wisconsin is going to hold off Fresno State again Saturday, the running backs, Zach Brown and John Clay, have to make a difference. A year ago, P.J. Hill got 112 tough yards to complement the tight end duo of Garrett Graham and Travis Beckum, who combined for nine catches.

It was one of the few times that Graham and Beckum were healthy and on the field together. Health obviously could be an issue for the flu-riddled Badgers. But there's no better way to get "healthy" than with a win over an intense rival.

And, yes, Fresno State-Wisconsin has become a hotly contested series. After last season's game in Fresno, there was an interesting, X-rated exchange between Bulldogs head coach Pat Hill and several UW assistants as the teams were leaving the field.

Hill, to paraphrase, promised to get "even" in the Madtown rematch. Makes for good theater. I'm not worried about Hill running his mouth. But I am worried about the Badgers running the ball. That could spell the difference, one way or another.

Wisconsin 24, Fresno State 21

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