Wisconsin at Iowa
(glances suspiciously around the room)
(whispers “It’s been a long, long time since Nebraska had a good defense.”)
It has been, you know, and if you didn’t, last week should have reminded you. So include that as a factor in why Melvin Gordon all-timed the Huskers last week — and why he won’t put up similar numbers this week.
The Badgers have had good running backs for a long time. Kirk Ferentz and his defensive coordinator, Phil Parker, have coached against them all. They’ve both been at Iowa so long, they coached against Ron Dayne. Sure, they got killed by him and his team, 41-3, but that was Ferentz’s first season, when the Hawkeyes didn’t beat anybody other than Northern Illinois.
Still, Minnesota gave a pretty good blueprint for how to beat this Iowa team: Don’t panic when Iowa gets the two early scores it assumes will be enough, then go vertical until the run game opens up. Once it does, attack the perimeter and watch the scoreboard light up.
Wisconsin can’t do that quite as well as Minnesota did, for two reasons. First, its defense is good enough to prevent those two Iowa scores; second, as squishy as Minnesota’s passing game has been at times this season, Wisconsin’s has been worse.
This will be another weather game, in all likelihood, so expect neither team to be terribly aggressive on offense. That leads to a matchup that favors Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes will put up more of a fight than the Huskers did but let’s be honest, that wouldn’t be hard to do.
The pick: Wisconsin 31, Iowa 13