Luke Fickell earned his second B1G West win in Week 8 and has Wisconsin on the verge of qualifying for a bowl game in year one after beating Illinois 25-21. Redshirt freshman quarterback Braedyn Locke hit Nolan Rucci for the go-ahead touchdown with 27 seconds left in the game.

The timetable for starting QB Tanner Mordecai’s return from a hand injury is unclear so Locke may need to have more games like Saturday in order for Wisconsin to reach the postseason and potentially compete for a B1G title in Indy.

The Badgers will have to face two more B1G East teams before the remainder of their schedule is filled with more foes on the same side of the conference. Ohio State, Indiana, Northwestern, Nebraska, and Minnesota are the last five games on Wisconsin’s regular-season schedule.

After firing Paul Chryst halfway through the 2022 campaign, Wisconsin was still able to reach a bowl game under Jim Leonhard. Fickell would also fill in on the sidelines during the bowl game. Bowl eligibility and a chance at the B1G title should be a realistic expectation once again.

Here’s how the rest of Wisconsin’s games could go:

Week 9: vs. Ohio State

Ohio State has dominated Wisconsin in recent memory. Wisconsin has not beaten Ohio State since the 2011 season.

The only way that Wisconsin has a chance in this game, and it’s a small chance, is if Mordecai plays. With no answer on how long he’ll be out the Badgers’ odds of winning this game are slim, even if the game is in Madison.

The only team that could be capable of beating Ohio State in the regular season might just be Michigan in The Game. Wisconsin is not going to be the team to knock the Buckeyes down, at least not this season.

Wisconsin may have some fight in this game, but it won’t be enough to upset the undefeated Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State wins this game by a couple of scores after an inspired attempt from Fickell and company.

Prediction: Ohio State 35, Wisconsin 20

Week 10: at Indiana

After coming back to earth following a tough loss to Ohio State, Wisconsin should rebound well with Locke and Braelon Allen leading the way on offense. Indiana should be a great game for Allen to regain his bearings as the Hoosiers’ run defense is the worst in the B1G, allowing 174.4 yards on the ground per game.

The secondary at Indiana is better than the run defense, but that shouldn’t be enough to stop Wisconsin from rebounding with a win on the road. Indiana may have earned a win against Wisconsin in 2020, but that won’t be the case on Nov. 4.

The Badgers have a 41-19 record over Indiana in football and that dominance should continue in this game. Hoosier fans may be rushing for the start of basketball season after this game is over.

The rotating door of quarterbacks for Indiana won’t save the Hoosiers.

Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Indiana 3

Week 11: vs. Northwestern

Northwestern has looked better than last year so far, but that isn’t saying too much considering the Wildcats won just a single game in 2022. Interim coach David Braun should earn some credit for leading Northwestern to a 3-4 record although you can only get so far with that.

Northwestern’s run defense is barely better than Indiana’s, but that isn’t saying much as it’s one spot higher in the conference. The Wildcats are allowing three fewer yards on the ground each game than Indiana at 171. It should be another game where Allen dominates, allowing Locke to take advantage of the Northwestern defense for a win.

Wisconsin should once again take care of business for its seventh win of the season.

Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 10

Week 12: vs. Nebraska

Wisconsin’s nine-game winning streak over Nebraska started after Melvin Gordon, James White, and Montee Ball all rushed for over 100 yards on the ground in the 2012 B1G title game.

This game could be a little closer than Indiana and Northwestern due to Nebraska’s run defense coming in at No. 2 in the conference (76.6 ypg allowed). Wisconsin should still have enough firepower on offense to come out on top in this one.

Wisconsin should make its winning streak against Nebraska 10 games after the clock hits zero on Nov. 18. Wisconsin and Nebraska will have a tight game in Week 12, but the Badgers pull away at the end to win.

Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 20

Week 13: at Minnesota

Wisconsin and Minnesota don’t like each other very much. Wisconsin would love nothing more than to snap its two-game losing streak to the Golden Gophers in the rivalry on Nov. 25.

While Minnesota has gotten the better of Wisconsin lately, things are different this season with Fickell at the helm. It’s always a cold, emotional game for both sides, but expect to see Wisconsin break the streak. This win should secure the B1G West title, effectively punching the Badgers’ ticket to Indy.

A field goal may be needed to break the tie late in this game, especially if Mordecai isn’t able to return from injury before the end of the regular season. A go-ahead fourth-quarter field goal will be enough for Wisconsin to win this game.

Prediction: Wisconsin 17, Minnesota 14

Wisconsin final record prediction: 9-3