Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 9 vs. Iowa

My how things have changed in a few weeks. And yet …

Wisconsin, as well as analysts, had a week to rest and ponder what’s happened recently to the Badgers — blowing a late lead and suffering a bad loss to Illinois and being overmatched and getting blown out by Ohio State. And yet …

There’s something about being able to play at home. Both Wisconsin and Iowa, the Badgers’ opponent this Saturday, enter with 6-2 records. Yet, the Badgers are a nine-point favorite and the vast majority of people think Wisconsin is going to win.

So much for the previous two games.

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Of course, the opponent matters, but Iowa isn’t horrible (although while the Hawkeyes have a good defense, their offense has struggled, to say the least) and we know this will be a knockdown, drag ’em out, old school Big Ten kind of game.

And, being played in Wisconsin. That matters.

Here’s the picks from around the web and Twitter for Saturday’s Wisconsin-Iowa game:

The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 16, Iowa 9.

Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 26, Iowa 17. “And now Wisconsin is back to being Wisconsin. It’s back at home, it’s had two weeks off to recharge and regroup, and it’s about to be back to the team that smashed Michigan and Michigan State and now the one that didn’t belong on the same field as Ohio State. This won’t be a total wipeout, but one of the big positives about Wisconsin under Paul Chryst is how everything maintains an even keel. This is the type of team that will blow off the problems of the last few weeks and get back to what works. It’ll be a fourth straight win in the series for the Badgers in what will amount to a Big Ten West elimination game.”

Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 17.

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 20, Iowa 10. “Yes, Wisconsin enters with a two-game losing streak and struggled offensively at Ohio State. However, this is an enormous test for Iowa, which mustered only 15 total points in losses to Michigan and Penn State. Wisconsin has the clear advantage at home.”

Josh Slagter of MLive.com: Wisconsin 23, Iowa 9. “A West division elimination game. Both teams are two games behind Minnesota, but have a November date with the Gophers. Iowa boasts the Big Ten’s third-best rushing defense, and Jonathan Taylor has 0 career TDs against the Hawkeyes, so Jack Coan will need to make a few plays. On the flip side, Iowa’s offense managed just 15 total points against Penn State and Michigan, and Wisconsin’s defense can be equally stout. Nate Stanley has two touchdowns compared to five interceptions against Big Ten teams not named Rutgers.”

Zac Al-Khateeb of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 20, Iowa 17. “Wisconsin is out of the Playoff race, but it’s not out of the running for the Big Ten West championship yet. That must start with a win over an Iowa team that has been impressive, defensively, all season, giving up 11.5 points per game in Big Ten play. That includes an impressive 87.8 rushing yards allowed per game. That’s the challenge for Jonathan Taylor (1,009 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns) and Jack Coan (1,491 yards, 10 touchdowns, two interceptions). The Badgers must be able to win with Coan (which, to their credit, they did against Michigan State). Chryst and Co. get back on track in typical Big Ten fashion.”

Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 20, Iowa 13. “If Iowa can find some effectiveness in the run game and limit mistakes, it’ll have a chance to make the West Division a two-team race with next week’s opponent, Minnesota. If it doesn’t, it’ll be a two-team race between the Gophers and Badgers.”

Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com: Wisconsin 21, Iowa 17. “Wisconsin hasn’t proven that it can be counted on to score points without Taylor doing most of the work. This should be a low-scoring, rock fight kind of classic Big Ten game. One I believe Wisconsin will win, but it’s going to be closer than this spread suggests.”

Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wisconsin 23, Iowa 10. “Iowa just hasn’t shown on offense this season that it has what it takes to win at Wisconsin.”

Rainer Sabin of the Detroit Free Press: Wisconsin 27, Iowa 14.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic ($): Wisconsin 23, Iowa 20. “The Hawkeyes have one of the better run defenses in the country, and they’ve improved as the season’s progressed. I think they can slow Jonathan Taylor enough to keep this one tight, but I just can’t go against the home team in this one.”

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Stewart Mandel of The Athletic ($): Wisconsin 21, Iowa 10. “I chuckled for just a second when Playoff selection committee chairman Rob Mullens referred to Penn State’s victory Oct. 12 victory at Iowa as a “marquee” win. Are you sure we’re talking about the same Iowa team that scored three points at Michigan and two touchdowns against 3-6 Purdue? You got this, Badgers.”

Kevin McGuire of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 23, Iowa 16. “While Wisconsin hit some speed bumps in its last two games, Iowa has gotten its season back on track after its own back-to-back losses. Iowa may have been playing some better overall football than the Badgers, but Wisconsin plays better at home. Iowa has also really struggled to score points against top defenses like Penn State and Michigan. Wisconsin’s defense will play with some pride and lead the Badgers to a much-needed win.”

Rob Howe of Hawkeye Nation: Wisconsin 16, Iowa 9.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune is taking Wisconsin and the points, which obviously means he thinks the Badgers will win. “An extra week gave the Badgers time to recover from getting blitzed at Ohio State, and Paul Chryst seems to have Kirk Ferentz’s number. Wisconsin has won three straight in the series by an average of 14.3 points. I’ll take the Badgers.”

Joe Vozzelli of the Champaign News-Gazette: Wisconsin 20, Iowa 16.

Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: Wisconsin 16, Iowa 13. “For reasons that remain unclear, these 6-2 teams still are listed with playoff odds, albeit extremely long ones. This is a classic clash, a throwback to when real teams played defense and the Big Ten didn’t need no stinkin’ national title even if they expanded the field to 64! “

James Kratch of NJ.com: Doesn’t offer a score, but picks Iowa to win.

Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 14. “This game has 9-6 written all over it. Iowa is a nice team with a defense good enough to keep most games close. Their recent thrashing at Ohio State notwithstanding, the Badgers are essentially a better version of the Hawkeyes. Plus, Wisconsin will have the best offensive player on the field in running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor plus the home-field advantage is too much for Iowa.”

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 26, Iowa 7.

Brad Crawford and Chris Hummer of 247 Sports: Crawford – Wisconsin 20, Iowa 9; Hummer – Wisconsin 24, Iowa 21.

Al Arend of the Herald-Palladium: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 17.

Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 27, Iowa 17.

SportsLine Projection Model: Wisconsin 19, Iowa 16.

Eight of the nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News have Wisconsin winning. Of those eight, only two think the Badgers will cover a 10-point spread.

Six of seven analysts at SI.com think Wisconsin will emerge with a victory with Lorenzo Arguello the lone exception. Laken Litman writes: “This one comes down to Wisconsin’s blockers up front making way for Jonathan Taylor. The normally explosive RB struggled in the Badgers’ 38–7 loss to Ohio State two weeks ago, rushing for 52 yards on 20 carries without scoring. The Buckeyes thoroughly controlled the line of scrimmage, and Iowa’s defense is good enough to do the same. Taylor is still ranked fifth in the country averaging 126.13 yards per game and has already passed the 1,000 rushing yard mark this season. The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten in rushing defense, allowing only 87.8 yards per game on 3.07 yards per carry, and haven’t allowed a run of 20 yards or more this fall. Taylor, however, has made six of those this fall. Can he and his O-line get back to putting up some big numbers? Loser of this one is ousted from the Big Ten West race, while the winner gets a shot at division leader Minnesota later this month. The edge goes to Taylor and the home team here to reassert some dominance.”

All three analysts at Oregonlive.com are picking Wisconsin to win. The scores: Ken Goe, 22-20; Sean Meagher, 34-29; Joel Odom, 24-19.

All six analysts at USAToday.com pick Wisconsin to win.

All seven CBSSports.com analysts think Wisconsin will win but only three have the Badgers covering an 8 1/2-point spread.

All three Athlon Sports analysts are picking Wisconsin to win.

All three analysts at FootballScoop.com pick Wisconsin to win.

All four pickers at KSL.com are taking Wisconsin.