Badgers-Hawkeyes Preview: Two Teams Headed in Different Directions
Wisconsin Badgers are in a bad spot. They’ve been dreadful offensively scoring a combined 13 points in their last two games. Wisconsin could not get the ball anywhere close to the end zone in their last game settling for two field goals. And in the game before, they scored early then shut down like a bad Bar Rescue bar. Wisconsin needs to find something, anything, offensively this week before they head into the bowl season. There is also a chance they could play against Minnesota or another opponent next week in Indianapolis, but that hasn’t been confirmed by the Big Ten. Can Wisconsin pull off the mild upset against Iowa?
STORYLINES I CARE ABOUT
1. The bad weather favors the Badgers – There is a real opportunity that this game could be 10-6. The winds are supposed to be brutal in Iowa, and there could be some snow rolling through. This is why the Big Ten doesn’t typically play games in mid-December. This plays into the Badgers’ bad offense though. They can muck it up and hope for something weird to happen. Iowa has a good rushing attack, but that plays into Wisconsin’s hands perfectly.
2. #FreeJalenBerger – Paul Chryst is likely keeping Jalen Berger’s carries down because he knows this guy will be a workhorse for the Badgers in years to come. While I understand the long game, Berger is the best option for this offense. Iowa has a good rush defense, but that doesn’t mean Berger will be stifled. He’s a good running back that can make men miss and have a big game. There is 0.0 reason for Garret Groshek to get more than five to 10 snaps a game.
3. Will Jack Coan make an appearance – Wisconsin seems committed to Graham Mertz. It makes sense for the future of the program. But you do wonder if Mertz continues to struggle, will Paul Chryst pull the plug? Some want it for a chance at winning, but my focus is the confidence of Mertz. You don’t want him to lose his swagger. If that’s gone or feels like it’s gone, put Coan in and let him figure this out. This is a last resort type of thing though for Wisconsin.
Even with the bad weather expected, it’s hard for me to pick Wisconsin right now. They’re a mess. And have been a mess all season with COVID. Iowa is playing pretty well right now, although, they haven’t played anyone worth a damn. Interestingly, all the early gambling money went on Wisconsin which maybe telling us something about this one. One thing for Iowa is that Wisconsin has owned this rivalry. Badgers have won four straight, and the last time Iowa won in Kinnick was 2008. There are some demons here. Iowa squeaks this one though. Iowa 13 Wisconsin 10.