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GAME THREAD: Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Iowa

It’s Homecoming. It’s Halloween. It’s the battle for the Heartland Trophy. LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Wisconsin v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

There isn’t much to say about a matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Iowa Hawkeyes that wasn’t said last year before the matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. You know how this game is going to go. I know how this game is going to go. A mortified nation knows how this game is going to go.

The Badgers (4-3 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) welcome the No. 9 Hawkeyes (6-1 overall, 3-1 Big Ten) to Camp Randall Stadium for a Homecoming Halloween Heartland Trophy matchup that has large implications for the Big Ten West title race. If Wisconsin wins, they are fully in control of their own divisional destiny and if they lose, well, they are pretty much out of it and will spend the rest of the season battling for bowl eligibility.

Iowa is coming off of a bye week and their first loss of the season the week before that, so they’ve presumably had plenty of time to stew in their anger about how they got dog-walked by Purdue on their home field. Will that result in them coming out hungry and fired up or will their first mistake of the game send them spiraling into a “here we go again” tailspin?

Wisconsin has looked far more competent over the past three weeks, all wins obvi, than they did at the beginning of the season and the reasons are twofold. One, the running game, and most importantly the run blocking, has improved greatly and two, they have begun to force a few turnovers instead of just three and outs.

Any game with Iowa involved will heavily involve turnovers. They have forced a ton of them this season and while some of it is definitely “turnover luck” playing in their favor, they’ve also been adept at intercepting the ball for the past four or five seasons so it ain’t all luck.

This will be a low-scoring, defensive, field position, “ugly” game. Both teams’ defenses are far superior to their offenses. The Badgers defense is the best unit in the game, but Iowa’s special teams being far better than Wisconsin’s has the potential to be a game-changer.

The staff is feeling very confident in it being a low-scoring, close game and mostly confident in Wisconsin leaving with another win over a ranked opponent. Strap in, folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Here are the staff predictions for the game:

Badgers are 3.5 point favorites per DraftKings (Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.)

Tyler: 24-21, Wisconsin

Owen: 16-12, Wisconsin

J.J.: One team 17 the other team 10

Belz: 17-13, Wisconsin

Rock: 13-9, Wisconsin (sickos meme)

Kevin: 24-10, Wisconsin

Ryan: 20-10, Wisconsin

Bremen: The Dolly Parton Game, 9-5, Wisconsin

Drew: 20-17, Wisconsin

Jake: 17-14, Wisconsin

Neal: 10-6, Iowa

Here are the depth charts for Wisconsin and Iowa:

And here is the updated injury/availibility report: