Donovan Raiola's confidence in his Wisconsin Badgers was overflowing when the Omaha Nighthawks returned to work this week.
Raiola proclaimed Monday that he was taking the Badgers and giving the points for Saturday's showdown at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. By Wednesday, he had "small monetary wagers" with two former Huskers — Jay Moore and Eric Crouch — as well as head coach Joe Moglia.
The one ex-Husker who wasn't biting was linebacker Steve Octavien.
"I told him I would, but Nebraska's defense has given up way too many points," Octavien said. "I told him there was no way I was betting on that one with that quarterback they have over there.
"I'm obviously pulling for the Huskers, but it's been a while since we won a big game like that. So no bets from me."
Raiola, the younger brother of former Husker center Dominic Raiola, started 39 games for the Badgers from 2002 through 2005. He's been to games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln but said Nebraska and its fans have no idea what they're in for Saturday.
"It's going to be an eye-opener," he said. "Nebraska has played in some tough spots in the Big 12, but a night game at Wisconsin is a total different atmosphere. It should be fun for both teams.
"The game-day atmosphere in Lincoln is fun, but it's a little tamer than Madison, especially at night. I don't know when those people (Wisconsin fans) start drinking, but they must stay up all night."
Raiola's favorite Camp Randall moment came during his sophomore season against Ohio State. The Buckeyes were coming off a national championship season, but left Madison with a 17-10 loss.
"They had something like a 17-game winning streak, but we beat them," he said. "We went up midway through the fourth quarter and held the lead. The fans rushed the field, and it was pretty cool."
Omaha plays Saturday night in Sacramento. The Nighthawks game will start at 6 p.m. CDT, about an hour before the Badgers and Huskers kick off.
"I'll be checking my phone at halftime," Moore said.
The defensive end said he and Raiola have had daily "discussions" about the game.
"He's really confident, as he should be," said Moore, who played for Nebraska from 2002 through 2006. "I told him I'd bet the Huskers and the spread.
"I haven't seen too much out of Nebraska that would make me feel extra-confident, so I've had to listen to him and take it. We'll see how it turns out."
Moglia spent the past two seasons as a volunteer at Nebraska, working closely with head coach Bo Pelini. Moglia said he has a $20 bet with Raiola.
Moore said his wager with Raiola is "something affordable."
"It's nothing crazy," he said. "We're not out here making hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Moglia does have a second source of income as chairman of TD Ameritrade. He said that came into play when he and Raiola were settling on the amount of the wager.
"He asked me if I wanted to bet," Moglia said. "I said, 'Sure, Donovan, how much?' He said, 'Whatever you want, Coach.' I said, 'You sure you mean that?'
"So we settled on 20 bucks."
NOTES: The Nighthawks added a twist to preparations for Saturday's game as Moglia had the equipment managers haul out a pair of big speakers to blare crowd noise during parts of the practice. ... Former Nebraska I-back Cory Ross rushed for 45 yards and caught four passes for 33 yards in the Mountain Lions' 23-17 loss to Las Vegas on Sept. 17. ... Sacramento drew 19,938 fans for its opener, the largest crowd of the season in the UFL.
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