The Iowa Hawkeyes pulled off the unthinkable last week, handing the Ohio State Buckeyes a 55-24 loss. If you didn’t pay attention last Saturday, you’d think that is a typo. Not the case, as Iowa pounded Ohio State into submission. The win for Iowa all but removes the Buckeyes from the playoff picture. They’re not out for certain, but it’s pretty close to a lock at this point. Ohio State can thank Iowa for that.
Note that the Hawkeyes lost to Penn State earlier in the season on the last play of the game. They took a 21-19 loss back on September 23rd. Iowa left no doubts against Ohio State, though. For Penn State, that win becomes a little more insignificant, as they lost as well this past week to Michigan State. There is one team left standing in the Big Ten, and they aren’t named Ohio State, Michigan, or Penn State. Wisconsin welcomes Iowa to Madison with a record of 8-0.
Despite their record of 8-0, Wisconsin is not getting the most respect out there. People turn to their strength of schedule, which I agree, hasn’t been the stingiest. But they are going to have their chance to flex their muscles against Iowa on Saturday afternoon. Their best win to this point was against Indiana? Nebraska? Purdue? Yeah, so I’m not about to argue with anyone who says an undefeated Wisconsin team doesn’t belong in the top-5. It’s usually a team from a smaller conference who runs into this problem, but here we are, and the Badgers from the Big Ten are a victim of their weak schedule. Nevertheless, Wisconsin has an opportunity to standout this week vs a team who just blew out Ohio State.
Wisconsin have Michigan on top next week, so they have a nice opportunity to jump up in the next two weeks. And don’t forget, the Badgers can win the Big Ten. If they do all that, and don’t overlook Minnesota the last game of the season, you cannot keep Wisconsin out of the college football playoff. I don’t see how an undefeated Big Ten team is left out.
While everyone is going to talk about the Iowa and Michigan game, they better not look down on Minnesota. This is of course if Wisconsin win this week and next week over the Wolverines. That could be a letdown spot for the Badgers. There are plenty of big games on the schedule on Saturday, but this one is getting overlooked. It’s a big game, though, with playoff implications on the line. Head below for our free Iowa vs. Wisconsin pick.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers Betting Odds:
vs. Wisconsin -12(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Iowa vs. Wisconsin Pick:
Wisconsin have been typical Wisconsin. Run the ball effectively behind a strong offensive line, play good defense, and everything else falls into place. That’s been the modus operandi for Wisconsin for the last 100 years. Old school Big Ten football has always been the model of Wisconsin football. It’s survived the test of time, and has gotten them to 8-0 in 2017. The Badgers are 37th in the nation, averaging 439 yards per game. They also have 36.1 points per game for 24th. If you don’t come to play on defense, their offensive line will pummel the defense. They’re 16th on the ground, with 244.8 yards per game.
Iowa counters with an opportunistic defense, but they do have one weak point. Despite scoring 55 points on Ohio State, the defense is why they beat Penn State and the Buckeyes. Iowa are averaging just 143.2 yards on the ground. That’s 92nd in the FBS. They’re also 77th passing the ball with Nathan Stanley at quarterback. Stanley is a silent assassin, though. He hit Ohio State for 5 touchdowns last week, and has 22 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on the year.
It isn’t a secret on how to beat Wisconsin. Cut into their offensive line and make plays on their ball carriers. They aren’t winning games with Alex Hornibrook alone. Shut down the running lanes, and force the Badgers to win with Hornibrook. The one weak point I noted earlier, on defense, is their ability to defend the run. Iowa are 85th in the country, allowing 147.3 yards per game.
They’re better against the pass, 66th allowing 221.7 passing yards. Iowa have had a much stronger schedule in 2017, but this looks like letdown city for the Hawkeyes after beating the Buckeyes. A physical Wisconsin team is not who you want to see after winning a big game. Everyone will line up to take the points with Iowa. They’ve all heard about the upset for the last week. How could you possibly lay 12 points on Wisconsin? Yeah, well, the Badgers have been listening too, and they’re tired of not getting any respect. I think Wisconsin gets some this week, with a win and cover over Iowa who are still celebrating from last week.
PICK: WISCONSIN -12 (-110)