Wisconsin was forced to shut down operations this week and cancel Saturday’s game against Nebraska due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. While the other 13 teams have been OK through the first week of the season, the Badgers saw a surge after the Week 1 win over Illinois.

As good as Wisconsin was last Friday, ESPN analysts Jesse Palmer and Joey Galloway both believe its the team to beat in the B1G West. However, they both share the same concern about the Badgers moving forward.

Will they be able to play enough games to be eligible for the B1G Championship Game on Dec. 19?

“That’s the question, when do they get back? We mentioned the B1G West, after Week 1 [and the] way Graham Mertz played, everyone had their eyeballs on Wisconsin,” Galloway said. “Now they’re shut down. Because of the 21-day [rule for Mertz], everyone has their eyes set on the Michigan game.

“They have to play six games to be able to play in the B1G Championship. Will they get enough games?”

Wisconsin must play at least six B1G games this season to be eligible for the B1G Championship Game. Palmer has the same concerns considering the Badgers have already had to cancel one game, and there could potentially be an issue with next Saturday’s game against Purdue.

“I’m more concerned about them being eligible to compete for a B1G title than I am — can they beat Purdue or Michigan without Graham Mertz?”

“I gotta be honest — yeah, Michigan looked good against Minnesota — I didn’t see anything offensively that made me think ‘Wow, Wisconsin cannot stop that defensively,'” Palmer said. “Michigan is a power running teams, and that’s exactly what Wisconsin is built to stop.”

“I think they can win the games, [even] with [QB] Danny Vanden Boom. Can they play the games?”