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The Pants Predict: Iowa at Wisconsin

Prediction: there will be pain for everyone who watches this game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Wisconsin at Iowa
It’s time to get weird.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are set to square off with the Wisconsin Badgers in a game that decide the fate of the Big Ten West in 2023. To say that expectations are low might be an understatement.

The Hawkeyes opened as 9.5-point underdogs for their trip to Madison according to DraftKings Sportsbook with an over/under at 36.5 total points. The spread moved up to 10, but has come back down to that 9.5-point area late in the week. Meanwhile, the over/under has gradually fallen to 35 total points.

Here at The Pants, we’re pretty skeptical. On average, we’re predicting a final score of Wisconsin 23, Iowa 13. That puts us on the Badgers giving the points. But it also, somehow, puts us on the over. That.... can’t be right.

All told, all but one of us is taking the Badgers straight up and all but two of us are giving the points. Long story short, we don’t feel good about this week.

Here’s a look at our individual predictions for Iowa at Wisconsin.


Iowa football is not fun to watch, period. Doing it against an opponent who has historically been just as happy to join the rock fight makes it worse. Add in the forecast for rain and I just can’t see a world where anyone watching at Camp Randall or on TV really enjoys those 3+ hours.

In the end, I suspect the Iowa offense does what it does while the defense does what it does. Wisconsin is going to have some success on the ground because that’s what they do, but I also think the Hawkeyes get at least one turnover out of Tanner Mordecai. Deacon Hill is good for at least one pick that ricochets off his receiver into a Badger bread basket to help even things out in that department and ultimately be enough for Wisconsin to put more points on the board.

Prediction: Wisconsin 17, Iowa 13

Bartt Pierce

Before the season began I had us losing this game. Post Cade and Lachey, I feel like we have almost no chance of winning this game. Offensively we are a mess. Our defense is good, not great. It will take a defensive or special teams score for us to have a chance. We are already at “What could have been.” Sigh...

Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Iowa 9


Iowa’s had a horrible time getting off the field this year. Despite the change in style, Wisconsin can still outmuscle teams. This is a game in which Iowa has to keep Wisconsin drives short so the defense isn’t gassed. If Iowa can’t do that, they’re going to get bulldozed.

If Iowa can get off the field, keep Wisconsin out of 3rd and short, they might be able to hang. Despite my grumblings last week, the ground game looked improved. It certainly helps having a back the caliber of Kaleb Johnson return from injury. If Iowa can get their ground game going and they limit turnovers, they can hang. I have zero confidence they can do that though. Eventually, Wisconsin grinds Iowa down and the West is effectively over 4 weeks into league play. Yay.

Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Iowa 10


Let’s be honest here, Wisconsin is the more complete team in this game. They’re not a great team by any stretch, but they have a pretty good defense (27th in scoring, 39th in YPP, and 12th in stop rate). They have the best offense in an offensively challenged division by nearly 10 ppg, and a QB that can not only complete more than 50% of his passes (64.2%) but can also pick up yards with his legs.

Iowa has the best defense in the B1G West, and an offense that ranks near, or at, the bottom of several statistical measures for the entire country. Against lesser competition, that defense paired with an elite special teams unit (that had some bad luck last week) can keep us in a lot of games, and sometimes carry the offense across the goal line. Sadly, I don’t think that’s the case this weekend, though I feel like they’ll keep it close enough to give all of us some hope before Braelon Allen buries a dagger in our collective heart with a long TD run in the 4th quarter.

Prediction: Wisconsin 20, Iowa 10


In our preseason predictions I had Iowa losing this game but still winning the west. Six weeks in and my outlook for one of those things has changed. At the time I thought Iowa would find enough juice on offense to be at least competent and it while I hedged my bets and took the Badgers it wouldn’t have surprised the preseason me if the Hawks won.

Yet here we sit minus one starting quarterback and rising star tight end in an offense that should come with a surgeon general’s warning and a defense that is left bailing water. Both teams will try to establish the run because that’s just required by law with these teams, so the game therefore hinge on who can stop the run. I’ll give Wisconsin the edge in both categories. If Iowa can force some turnovers and the offense find a bit of success I think they can make it a game but that’s easier said than done.

Wisconsin scores touchdowns in the first half while Iowa scores field goals. Despite a late Hawkeye touchdown it’s a fairly comfortable bad guy win.

Prediction: Wisconsin 23, Iowa 13


Not feeling good about this one. Maybe not a Penn State redux, but not going to be great. Bye bye, West division.

Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 10


This is the weekend…

On Saturday, we will all witness something that’s less believable than the bigfoot video that surfaced this past week. What is that you might say? Iowa playing average offense.

Maybe I’m so far gone in the depths of offensive hell that my mind is unable to make rational predictions anymore, but I’ve got a feeling that Iowa pulls a completed pass (or seven) out of their ass and walk out of Maddison with a win.

Seth Anderson and Nico Ragaini are finally going to have a productive day, leaving tears of joy in the eyes of every Hawkeye fan.

As I said, there is nothing that has pointed to any of my prediction making any sense or being remotely possible. But hey, that’s on brand for this football team.

Prediction: Iowa 27, Wisconsin 20 (Fml that hits the over)

So there you have it - we’re all pessimistic except the kicker. Can we get a taste of that drink?

How do you see this one playing out, Hawkeye fans?

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.