College GameDay crew breaks down what to watch for in crucial Wisconsin-Northwestern game
A lot of eyes in the B1G West will be on Saturday’s game between Northwestern and Wisconsin.
While Indiana and Ohio State are squaring off in a game that is likely to decide the B1G East division, the Wildcats and Badgers will be facing off in a similarly crucial matchup. Winner of the game in Evanston will have a clear lead and leg up in the B1G West race and the inside track to the B1G Championship Game.
On Saturday morning, ESPN’s College GameDay crew discussed what could prove to be key in the showdown. For Desmond Howard, he still has some questions about Wisconsin following just two games played, and he will be watching how Graham Mertz performs against the best defense he will have faced to this point:
“Wisconsin has been a team that, if you’re in the B1G West, this is a team you measure yourself by. They have been so dominant with Paul Chryst. But only two games, beating Illinois and Michigan, those teams are a combined 2-6 this season,” explained Howard. “I’m not sure where Wisconsin is as a team. So, Northwestern in my mind, you flip the script. Wisconsin will tell us a lot about who they are as a team by the way they play Northwestern. Northwestern is 4-0, they play great defense, the offense is efficient. I want to see what Graham Mertz, how does he perform against this Northwestern defense?”
David Pollack agreed with Howard’s assessment, but he is confident that Mertz is the real deal. He went on to label Mertz as the best Wisconsin quarterback since one prominent player who is having a remarkable NFL career:
“Graham Mertz, he looks like he’s for real. I mean, for real, for real,” said Pollack. “He looks like the best Wisconsin quarterback we’ve seen in awhile, maybe since a guy named Russell Wilson.”
Who comes out on top? Either way, Mertz will likely be key to the outcome.