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Wisconsin

vs.

Iowa

College Football Pick

10/22/16

There hasn't been much to fault Wisconsin for this season, despite back-to-back losses. If anything, the Badgers have been pretty impressive in their two losses, falling by a touchdown at Michigan and then leading most of the way before an Ohio State comeback. They are a -3.5 point road favorite against an Iowa team that has arguably disappointed up to now.

Going off early results, this clearly isn't the same Iowa team as a year ago. The Hawkeyes already lost two home games, one to North Dakota State and another to Northwestern, and most of the fault goes to the defense. Other than those games, this team hasn't really played a viable opponent unless winning at Rutgers, Minnesota or Purdue can be deemed impressive. Even in their recent win at Purdue, Iowa's defense struggled to hold down the Boilermakers the entire game, winning 49-35.

With that, it's hard to see this game going the same as last year's 10-6 result in favor of the Hawkeyes. There's nothing much that needs to be said of that game. It was extremely defensive and Iowa just made one more play than Wisconsin and that was it.

While Iowa's defense may not be as good, Wisconsin's looks every bit as elite as last year's unit. Even after the loss to Ohio State, the Badgers still held down J.T. Barrett for a good portion of that game and did enough against Michigan to hold them to 14 points, even with a few missed field goals. The Badgers have already shown they can take this brand of football on the road at Michigan State (and even in the Michigan loss), so the main thing to get this cover for Wisconsin is to score.

Scoring has been the main issue for Wisconsin the last couple years, but Corey Clement finally seemed to get back to normal in the game against Ohio State in which he ran for 164 yards. If Clement is at those levels, similar to what Melvin Gordon was doing a couple years ago, this offense should score on Iowa. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook is fine as long as he doesn't turn it over, which is something he's done in four straight games.

The Badgers should have some success behind Clement, but it'll be up to Hornibrook to keep drives alive on third down and ultimately decide if they can cover or not.

On the other side, Iowa will likely have problems against this defense. Despite the few games they have scored a lot of points in, there were still visible issues in games against Rutgers and Minnesota (14 points in each win).

C.J. Beathard still looks like a mediocre quarterback and he hasn't improved from last season. That said, it'll be up to the Iowa ground game to win this one, which isn't surprising. Last week LeShun Daniels ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns while Akrum Wadley had 170 and another touchdown. Needless to say, but Wisconsin won't let that happen to them. They've played better running teams and done just fine and Beathard isn't the same dual-threat QB that J.T. Barrett presented last weekend.

This line is only three because this could easily turn into another defensive slugfest and Wisconsin is coming off a massive three-game stretch. But if the Badgers perform like they've been able to as of late, this should be a marked up as a win, unless the Hawkeyes turn to another gear we haven't seen yet this season.

Our Pick - Wisconsin -4

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