Michigan-Wisconsin: Recent History Marked By Close Games

Jason BarczyCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2008

The Big Ten season is upon the Michigan Wolverines, who welcome a familiar foe to the Big House this weekend.

Wisconsin is not thought of as one of Michigan's rivals, but they certainly have made a case for themselves to be considered one of the Wolverines' toughest competitors.

Although Michigan has dominated the all-time series, games between the Wolverines and Badgers have been really close over the years—especially within the past 10 years.

Since the 1998 season, the average margin of victory in eight games between the two have been 8.75 points—and that's mostly due to three games decided by 16, 16, and 17 points.

Five of those games were decided by seven points or less.

The last two years have seen the 16-point difference, with Michigan winning in 2006 and losing in 2007.

Wisconsin has definitely proven to be one of the tougher teams in the Big Ten to deal with, and as far as conference powers go, the Badgers are right below Michigan and Ohio State.

The Badgers used to be a doormat, though, as evidenced by Michigan's 48-12-1 record against Wisconsin. In fact, Wisconsin has losing records against Ohio State (17-51-5), Michigan State (20-26), Illinois (34-36-7), and Minnesota (50-59-8).

They barely have a winning record against Iowa at 41-40-2.

Wisconsin has won two of the last three against Michigan, but both wins have been at Camp Randall Stadium, where the Wolverines haven't won since 2001. However, I'd like to point out that since Camp Randall opened in 1917, Michigan is 16-5-1 there.

Home domination is something these two teams are accustomed to in the series lately, as Wisconsin hasn't won at Michigan Stadium since 1994 and has only won there five times in history, and only twice in the past 46 years.

Michigan and Wisconsin used to be mirror images of each other before Rich Rodriguez became the Wolverines head coach. Both used to stuff the ball down the opponent's throat with a power running game and stifling defense.

These games were must-see television for those in love with Bo Schembechler-style ball but a bore-fest for those who liked to see high-flying offense.

It's going to be interesting to see how both do this Saturday with both teams coming off of a bye week.

Preview and prediction coming tomorrow.


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