Well, what a difference one week makes.
Coming off an embarrassing loss at home to BYU, Wisconsin must now face 3-0 Iowa on the road and at night. Not exactly the best circumstances when trying to rebound from a defeat.
And yet the Badgers have been installed as the favorite against the Hawkeyes.
However, that doesn’t mean everyone is picking Wisconsin to win. While many predictors are selecting the Badgers, there are a number (and not just those who live in Iowa) who think the Hawkeyes will emerge victorious. There’s even a few of my Twitter followers who are going with Iowa. As I said, what a difference one week makes.
I’m curious if we’ll determine if BYU was just a trap game for Wisconsin or if this is just who they are in 2018. Saturday’s game will help determine that.
Onto this week’s predictions from around the web and Twitter:
The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 23, Iowa 18.
Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 26, Iowa 20. “It’s going to be a grind, and both defenses will take over from the start, but the Badger running game will start to work as the game goes on – it didn’t last week – and Alex Hornibrook will make up for a weak game with a far stronger performance. Iowa will need to come up with a few late scoring drives, and it won’t be able to. And Rafael Gaglianone will hit a field goal or three for the Badgers, with at least one, “where was that last week?” comment from the Fox booth.”
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic ($): Wisconsin 20, Iowa 14. “An excellent matchup between a fierce Hawkeyes D-line and the Badgers’ touted front, which didn’t have a strong performance in the loss last week to BYU. I think the men from Madison respond well to this test in a very tough place to play.”
Stewart Mandel of The Athletic ($): Iowa 19, Wisconsin 16. “This one screamed Upset Potential even before the Badgers inexplicably lost at home to BYU. Kinnick Stadium has become a pit of despair for Playoff contenders like Michigan in 2016 and Ohio State and (almost) Penn State last season. And though Wisconsin has star RB Jonathan Taylor, Iowa boasts the nation’s No. 3 rushing defense (1.54 yards per carry allowed).”
Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 17.
Zac Al-Khateeb of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 31, Iowa 21.
Jesse Temple of The Athletic ($): Wisconsin 20, Iowa 17. “Wisconsin players surprised me a bit in how upbeat they were after the loss to BYU. There is no panic inside the program, and there remains a high level of confidence that the team is close to finding its form, particularly on offense. If the Badgers are as good as we think they can be offensively, this week is the time to show it. Wisconsin is listed as a field-goal favorite, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers, and this has one-possession game written all over it. Iowa has been the more consistent team thus far, but Wisconsin has a higher ceiling.”
Scott Dochterman of The Athletic ($): Iowa 17, Wisconsin 13. “Iowa holds every advantage entering this game, from the home stadium to the night environment. On the field, the teams are balanced, but Wisconsin’s defense has not lived up to its traditionally high standards. The Badgers have a Big Ten-low three sacks and have allowed 6.46 yards per carry in the fourth quarter in three games. If Iowa’s offensive line can keep Stanley upright and exceed more than 100 rushing yards, the Hawkeyes should be able to grind out a win in the fourth quarter.”
Athon Sports’ Mitch Light: Iowa 24, Wisconsin 21.
Kevin McGuire of Athlon Sports: Iowa 26, Wisconsin 23. “This was always going to be one of the tough hurdles for Wisconsin to clear this season if the Badgers were going to make a playoff push. After losing last week, Wisconsin cannot afford to lose again now that conference play is opening, but winning on the road in Kinnick Stadium is not easy for anybody. Iowa has the tools in place to go head to head with Wisconsin but will need quarterback Nate Stanley to shrug off a disaster of a game against Wisconsin last season. Odds are, Stanley is not going to complete just 8-of-24 pass attempts for 41 yards this time around. He doesn’t have to throw five touchdowns as he did against Ohio State last year, but Stanley should be able to lead enough effective drives at home to give Iowa a chance to jump on top of the Big Ten West standings and secure a win against Wisconsin.”
Athlon Sports’ Steve Lasson is picking Wisconsin to win.
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Iowa 24, Wisconsin 20. “Even before BYU stunned Wisconsin, this Big Ten clash spelled trouble for the Badgers. Two years ago, Iowa upset Michigan under the lights of Kinnick Stadium. Penn State needed a final-play touchdown to survive last season. The Hawkeyes can pull off the upset if they stifle Wisconsin star Jonathan Taylor and force quarterback Alex Hornibrook to propel the visitors.”
The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Iowa 23, Wisconsin 21.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: Wisconsin 21, Iowa 19. “The Hawkeyes are 3-0 despite a grueling schedule that featured Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa and Northeastern Dubuque State. The Badgers plummeted from sixth to 18th in the country after BYU pretty much said BYE to their title chances. But hey, they get to blemish another unblemished Big Ten ‘power.’”
Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 17, Iowa 13.
Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 19. “If the 3-0 Hawkeyes can continue such clean living and force 16th-ranked Wisconsin to consistently march 75-plus yards to the end zone, I like their chances Saturday as a 3-point underdog. But perfection is a tall ask. … Iowa center Keegan Render said it best, that it’s not even debatable: The road to the Big Ten championship game goes through Wisconsin in the West … until proven otherwise.”
Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Leader: Iowa 13, Wisconsin 10. “The quarterback position is a relative wash between Alex Hornibrook and Nate Stanley, Wisconsin has the slight edge at running back with Jonathan Taylor, and Iowa has the slight edge at receiver/tight end thanks to Noah Fant. Wisconsin has the better offensive line, Iowa has the better defense so far, and Kinnick Stadium will be buzzing.”
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune is picking Wisconsin to win.
Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Iowa 23, Wisconsin 20. “A Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium should reveal plenty here. Not just about Wisconsin and an ability to bounce back, but also a Hawkeyes team that is 3-0 and sporting one of the nation’s best defenses. This game was a total mismatch in Madison last season, but something feels different about both teams. BYU had too much offensive success to ignore, and Iowa is strong enough on the defensive line (12 sacks) to contain Jonathan Taylor a bit. And you can plan on at least one Alex Hornibrook interception. Wisconsin’s streak of 15 straight regular season Big Ten wins ends.”
Andrew Powell of the Lock Haven Express: Wisconsin 31, Iowa 28.
Al “Big Al’ Arend of the Herald-Palladium: Wisconsin 28, Iowa 27.
Nick Howe of Hawkeye Nation: Iowa 17, Wisconsin 16. “I had the Badgers winning this game in my preseason picks but through three weeks Iowa looks like the better team. And it’s home, under the lights, where the magic happens.”
Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 25, Iowa 19.
Mark Hasty of Go Iowa Awesome — and this might come as a shock to you based on the name of the website: Iowa 23, Wisconsin 21. “… without a solid running game, it’s going to be hard for Iowa to beat the Badgers, and there’s a good chance Paul Chryst knows this. A two-score lead in this game may well be insurmountable, so whichever team can put its opponent off-kilter first is likely to win. That will have to happen on both sides of the ball, though. Even though I am aware that Iowa’s offense has yet to put together a truly impressive performance, Iowa’s defense has utterly controlled every game this far, while Wisconsin’s D hasn’t. Throw in the ‘Kinnick at night’ variable and, while I still feel like I’m going out on a limb, I like Iowa’s chances here.”
Six of the eight analysts at SI.com think Wisconsin will emerge with a victory. Laken Litman (one of the six) writes: “The Badgers are looking to make everyone forget that they were upset by BYU last week. A win over Iowa to start the Big Ten schedule won’t do it, but it’ll help them avoid a negative spotlight for a little while. Wisconsin really has no choice but to win this game, then be perfect the rest of the season if it wants to win the conference and get back among the College Football Playoff contenders. It’s possible for the Badgers to get right back in the national conversation by going undefeated in league play.”
Five of the six reporters and editors at the Los Angeles Times pick Wisconsin to win. The scores: Ben Bolch, Wisconsin 28-21; Mike Hiserman, Iowa 22-21; J. Brady McCollough, Wisconsin 17-14; Blake Richardson, Wisconsin 30-21; Angel Rodriguez, Wisconsin 24-14; David Wharton, Wisconsin 21-17.
The analysts at USAToday.com are split in half, with three of the six choosing Wisconsin to win.
Six of the nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News have the Badgers winning and of those six, just two think Wisconsin will cover a 3-point spread.
Just one of the three analysts at FootballScoop.com picks Wisconsin to win.
Eight of the nine analysts at The Action Network are taking Wisconsin to win straight up.
Two of the three at The Oregonian/OregonLive.com pick Wisconsin to win. The scores: Ken Goe, Wisconsin 24-23; Sean Meagher, Wisconsin 33-28; Joel Odom, Iowa 27-26.