October 23, 2010

Preview: Wisconsin at Iowa

This is the last big game of the season for the Badgers, so hopefully that's enough to get the team over the letdown game hump. After this week the Badgers have a bye before facing Purdue and Indiana, traveling to the Big House to face Denard Robinson, and ending the season vs Northwestern at Camp Randall. For the Badgers to have a shot at the Rose Bowl they need to win this game and hope Michigan State loses to Iowa and someone else - NW seems like a good candidate this week taking on MSU for their homecoming in Evanston. Aside from that we would just have to hope that PSU picks them off in the last game of the season.

Going into this game I was sure Wisconsin would get blown out - I thought this game had 27-10 written all over it. Now I'm not so sure. Much of the vibe I've gotten this week is that Wisconsin is firing on all cylinders and knows it, and isn't just sitting on their big victory last week. The other question is how good Iowa is. They lost on the road to a decent Arizona team, and crushed a not so great Penn State team at Kinnick. This will be a big test for them as well. Their defense has looked great, but then again, so did OSU's and the Badger offensive line had their way with them.

How Wisconsin wins: J.J. Watt gets pressure on Stanzi and James White gets to the edge consistently. The Badgers did a decent enough job defending Boom Herron last week and I don't think Robinson or the Hawkeyes O-line are as good as OSU's. Stanzi is a good QB if he has time but he is prone to mistakes, and pressure from the likes of Watt and Nzegwu should lead to a few turnovers.

How Iowa wins: Aside from the letdown game factor, Iowa wins this game by making Scott Tolzien beat them. He's a decent enough QB, but only in the context of UW's offense. He's not a guy you want throwing every down.

Final prediction: I'll go with MB's prediction of 28-24 Iowa, though I feel much better about this matchup than I did a few days ago.