AH week 10 picks: Last Saturday’s record-setting win over Ohio State seems to have impacted this week’s picks
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – As much as I hate to do it, I'm switching my pick for the Iowa-Wisconsin game.
In July, I picked the Badgers to win a close game, but now I'm flipping the script and picking Iowa to win a close game.
I've always been against switching picks because it seems weak, but this time I have to make an exception.
I'm willing to admit that my 6-6 prediction for Iowa was wrong, or eventually will be wrong because it seems highly unlikely that 6-3 Iowa will lose out to the Badgers, Purdue and Nebraska.
I could be over-reacting to Iowa's stunning 55-24 victory over Ohio State last Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, and selling the undefeated Badgers short because they haven't played anybody very good.
But it's hard to ignore Wisconsin's injuries and that the visiting team has won the last six games in the series.
Iowa's defense also has been solid for most of the season, and the Iowa offense looked unstoppable at times against Ohio State, which is something I never thought I would see.
Badger fans will be waiting to harass and heckle Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley, who is from Menomonie, Wis., and coming off a game in which he threw five touchdown passes against Ohio State.
It'll probably be a waste of time, though, because Stanley seems oblivious to his surroundings. Or as former Iowa quarterback Chuck Long said this week about Stanley, he's unflappable.
Iowa and Wisconsin are mirror images of each other in that both rely on ground-oriented attacks, and that's been the case with Wisconsin ever since Barry Alvarez rebuilt the program in the early 1990s.
Every year it seems that Wisconsin has a standout running back who consistently moves the chains behind a mammoth offensive line, and this season is no exception.
Freshman Jonathan Taylor leads the Big Ten in rushing with a 152.0 per-game average and also averages a whopping 7.2 yards per carry. It's hard to see Iowa winning on Saturday if Taylor averages anywhere close to seven yards per carry and has over 25 carries.
"We have to stop the run," said Iowa senior linebacker Ben Niemann. "That's what it's going to come down to win the game. We have to limit their run game and not give up explosive plays."
The Wisconsin defenders would say the same about Iowa.
Both teams strive for balance on offense, but the Badgers will be without their most productive receiver in Quintez Cephus, who is out with a leg injury.
Both teams also rely heavily on their tight ends and the Badgers have one of the conference's best in senior Troy Fumagalli, while Iowa has two rising stars in sophomore Noah Fant and redshirt freshman T.J. Hockenson. They both caught two touchdown passes against Ohio State and Fant already holds the Iowa single-season record for most touchdown catches by a tight end with seven.
"I know there are a whole bunch of stats out there," Fant said. "But I just try to focus on the game that we have. Obviously, scoring touchdowns is great and fun, but I'm just really focusing on what we need to do this week."
What Iowa needs to do is play with the same sense of urgency that it had against Ohio State, win the turnover battle and not get dominated on the ground.
I didn't think that was possible in July, but now I do after watching Iowa score 55 points against the Buckeyes.
Iowa 18, Wisconsin 15: Barry Alvarez organizes a ceremony at halftime in which he honors himself for helping to rebuild both programs.
Ohio State 28, Michigan State 24: Urban Meyer celebrates the win by telling his secretary to put away the form letter in which he says he has to resign to spend more time with his family.
Oklahoma State 34, Iowa State 24: Thinking that back-to-back losses will help to keep Matt Campbell in Ames, Cyclone fans storm the field after the game.
Notre Dame 27, Miami (Fla.) 23: The members of the Rolling Stones were in their 40s the last time this game mattered.
Georgia 28, Auburn 21: With this win, the Bulldogs will have all but clinched the opportunity to lose to Alabama in the SEC title game.
Last week: 2-3
Iowa 17, Wisconsin 13: The average amount calories eaten per day between the two offensive lines is probably in the hundreds of thousands.
Oklahoma State 45, Iowa State 31: Mike Gundy paints his face like William Wallace from Braveheart to boost morale.
Ohio State 35, Michigan State 28: Urban Meyer keeps his team pumped up by having the Iowa game playing on a television on the sidelines.
Miami 27, Notre Dame 20: Brian Kelly challenges Mark Richt to a fist fight after the game to prove he's still got it.
Georgia 38, Auburn 28: The Georgia players carry Uga the bulldog off the field like a trophy after the game.
Last week: 1-4
Wisconsin 13 Iowa 10: If you like grind it out games with a lot of defense, tune in for this one. Both teams are about as stubborn as they come on the defensive side of the football. Plus, the Badgers are without their top receiver.
Oklahoma State 31 Iowa State 23: The Pokes have one of the more explosive offenses in the country. I'm not sure the Cyclones can score with them, which is a big reason I have them losing.
Ohio State 27 Michigan State 21: Sparty's defense could give Ohio State fits, but Urban Meyer is so good that I think the Buckeyes pull this one out. Given the fact they just got torn to shreds by the Hawkeyes I think OSU will be out for blood.
Notre Dame 30 Miami 21: Not really sold on the Hurricanes yet, even after their home win over Virginia Tech. Notre Dame has beaten ranked opponents in 2 of the last 3 weeks and I think they get another win to add to their College Football Playoff resume.
Georgia 34 Auburn 23: You could make the argument that Georgia hasn't really played anyone noteworthy outside of Notre Dame earlier in the year. But it's been the way the Bulldogs have won games this year that is impressive. The Fighting Irish are the only team to come within two touchdowns this year. So, not only are they winning, but it's been in blowout fashion.
Last week: 2-3