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The Pants Predicts: Iowa at Wisconsin

Iowa’s matchup with Wisconsin could determine the Big Ten West. What are we predicting?

Iowa v Wisconsin
How many times will the Badgers find the end zone tomorrow?
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

After a disappointing stretch where the Hawkeyes lost in back-to-back weeks at Michigan and at home to Penn State, Iowa has now rattled off two straight wins at home against Purdue and on the road at Northwestern.

That win at Northwestern wasn’t exactly an offensive explosion, but it was enough to cover the spread as Iowa won 20-0. As a refresher, four of the staff has Iowa covering in that matchup while the rest of us had the Wildcats with the points, including BoilerHawk who went with the reverse jinx and took Northwestern outright.

After the win, here’s an updated look at the standings on the year.

Adam - 1-0
Thad - 2-1
BoilerHawk - 4-4
DC - 4-4
Doug - 4-4
Jerry - 4-4
JP - 4-4
Matt C - 4-4
Matt R - 4-4
Ben - 3-5

As we look at this week, the staff is mostly pessimistic about Iowa’s chances in Madison. Only two of our ten participating writers are predicting the Hawkeyes to come away with a win.

However, on average, our staff predicts Iowa to cover the 8.5 point spread currently available at Our average projected score is Wisconsin 19, Iowa 13. That’s a total of 32 points, well to the under of the 38 point over/under. And those are all skewed quite heavily by our resident optimist. Let’s all hope he doesn’t taste a bite of sushi this weekend.

Here are our individual predictions.

JPinIC: I really want Iowa to win this game. If they can pull off the upset, things line up so well. They would be back in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten West with a chance at a 10-win season, which we can all agree would be a very good year for a team that was supposed to win 7.5 games.

But I’m an Iowa fan so I know that all of those things being possible are exactly why this is a game the Hawkeyes lay an absolute egg. I fully expect Jonathan Taylor to break loose a time or two and Jack Coan to have his most mistake-free game of the season. I think this defense is good enough to overcome those things and hold the Badgers under 3 TDs, but Iowa can easily envision a repeat of that 2017 offensive performance. And now we drown our sorrows.

Wisconsin 16, Iowa 6

Jerry Scherwin: I’ve had everyone from an old coworker to my own co-host try and dissuade me that Iowa isn’t going to win this game. I’ve read article after article about Jack Coan’s ability to beat an over zealous Iowa defense and how the Iowa offense won’t be able to move the ball on the Badgers. All of it is bunk. Iowa is going to win this football game because they are supposed to win this football game. And here’s why:

  1. This is Nate Stanlye’s final shot at beat his home state team at their house with a chance to go to the Big Ten Championship on the line.
  2. Nate hasn’t had his Woodshed/Mississippi State/at Iowa State game yet this season. Its well overdue. Same can be said of AJE
  3. Iowa let Alex Hornibrook beat them last year. Phil Parker is NOT letting that happen again.
  4. Phil Parker has not one, but two game tapes to digest and use to his advantage. If Northwestern and Ohio State (two very different teams) can confuse Wisconsin, this defense who held the #4 team in the College Football Playoff Rankings to 17-points can too.
  5. Geno Stone, who is going to patrol the box all day, is going to slam Jonathan Taylor or Jack Coan so hard that it will force a turnover.
  6. ISM and Tyler Goodson and the emergence of Sam LaPorta are going to push this offense over the edge and open up the floodgates for this offense.

I have more but I’ll probably get edited down at this point… so….

Iowa 31, Wisconsin 17

Mattcabel: Boy, am I unsure about this game. On one hand, Wisconsin has one of the most dynamic running backs in the country and an enormous offensive line. On the other, Iowa has one of the best defenses in the country. Once again, this will come down to offensive production and I’m just not sure. What I do know? It’ll be close. But I just haven’t seen anything from Iowa’s offense to encourage me that they’ll take home this win, especially on the road.

Wisconsin 24, Iowa 16

DC: The over/under for this game as of Thursday morning is a whopping 38 points. If I know one thing after a weekend in Atlantic City, it’s that oddsmakers know what they’re doing so don’t expect Iowa to suddenly find points like my podcast co-host believes above. Iowa-Wisconsin is the Spider-Man meme IRL and this game comes down to which QB can sustain a scoring drive or 2. I’ll go with the senior in his home state to lift the guys around him and Iowa keeps it’s Big Ten West hopes alive.

Iowa 17, Wisconsin 13

tnels20: My heart tells me pick the Hawkeyes, but my eyes tell me that it is two fairly equal teams and in those situations take the home team. Wisconsin has looked like a top 5 team in five of their games this season, and looked fairly pedestrian in three of them (NW, Illinois, OSU). Even facing a major talent disparity, Northwestern and Illinois were able to keep the Wisconsin defense off balance with an offense that utilized the quarterback as a running threat. Iowa doesn’t have that, at least with any consistency.

If Brandon Smith were playing, I’d say Iowa has the offensive firepower to win on the outside, but missing his size on the outside is a big deal. Wisconsin is so fast in the middle of the field that Iowa is missing its biggest (literally and figuratively) advantage. I don’t know how Iowa gets above 20 points against that defense.

The only thing leaving me with hope is Wisconsin’s kicker is 2-6 on field goals over 30 yards this season. If it comes down to a foot, Iowa has a massive advantage.

Iowa 15 - Wisconsin 22

Ben: Why do we think this year will be any different? I’m not going to get into the definition of insanity, but I think it very much applies here.

I dunno where Jonah is getting his number, but Benny’s Friends in a Pool Hall Basement have Iowa at +9.5, and that speaks largely to how much Iowa S T I N K S in hostile road environments ever since CJ tha God left us. I don’t even like the Hawks getting that much.

Wisconsin 17, Iowa 3

Adam: Iowa has a legitimate shot at winning this game, despite how blah the offense has been playing as of late.

In a perfect world, the offense takes the bye week to regroup and gets its act together and comes out firing. Too bad we don’t live in a perfect world.

I think it’ll be a close game. Both Ohio State and Illinois (LOL) proved that Wisconsin is not an unbeatable titan in the West. I just don’t have faith in the Hawkeye offense against a Badger defense that ranks first in yards allowed per game, second in yards allowed per play, third in passing yards allowed per game, and ties for fourth in the country in points allowed per game.

Wisconsin 24 - Iowa 10

Doug: These kind of games are definitely ones that I wouldn’t bet, While the spread seems too high based on the defensive ability of the Hawkeyes, sometimes the heart leads you astray. With that said, I’m going to say that it will be the low scoring game that we all expect it to be with a final score within one touchdown.

As much as I want to will the Hawkeyes to win, I have them going 3-1 over the rest of the season and I definitely don’t want one of the losses to be to any of the other teams left on the schedule - Gophers, Lovie, or Landry Clarke.

Wisconsin 17, Iowa 13

MattReisener: Illinois and Ohio State have exposed the blueprint for how to contain the Badger offense, but Iowa lacks the offensive horses to replicate the type of gameplan the Buckeyes used to drop 38 points on Wisconsin two weeks ago. Even with a bye week to get right, the offense still struggles on the road against a dangerous Badger defense, and Wisconsin’s offensive skill players make enough plays to ensure that the Heartland Trophy stays in Madison.

Wisconsin 17, Iowa 6

BoilerHawk: Iowa is 0-6 against the spread as road underdogs since Brian has taken over as offensive coordinator. Kirk Ferentz is a game over .500 after a bye while Paul Chryst is 7-3 at Wisconsin. Keith Duncan has more field goals than extra points which I’m pretty sure is the first time that’s ever happened under Kirk for a full-time kicker. He’s the only kicker in the country who can say that.

Iowa’s newest TikTok star continues his quest for the Lou Groza award but Wisconsin is simply too much.
Wisconsin 20, Iowa 9

That’s what we’re predicting, what’s your call for Iowa’s matchup with the Badgers?