Earlier this season, after falling on the road at Northwestern with an offense in disarray, Wisconsin looked like a possible disappointment in a weak Big Ten West. However, the Badgers have slowly but surely regained their place atop the West Division. That was cemented last week when Melvin Gordon ran all over Nebraska for a blowout win.
Now, Wisconsin heads to Iowa City to try to remain in the driver's seat. In fact, the Badgers can win the division this weekend if they get some help, but they need to get by an Iowa team that has been pretty unpredictable and still looking for an impressive win.
The Hawkeyes are still in the division race, as well, and they get both Wisconsin and Nebraska at home to end the season. While they'll need Minnesota to lose one of two against Wisconsin and Nebraska (seems likely), they can largely decide their fate in Iowa City.
The Big Ten West might not be good, but at least it's close in last September, and that's really all you can ask. This will be one of the biggest games of the season in the West.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Rankings and records: High of 47° F and low of 39° with a 20% chance of rain.
Weather forecast: TBD
Two things at stake
Wisconsin can win the division with a win and some help. A loss pulls the Badgers out of the driver's seat.
Iowa needs a win to stay in the race to win the West Division.
One big matchup
Iowa rush defense vs. Wisconsin rush offense: Could it be anything else? Iowa's run defense has been inconsistent this year. It struggled a bit against Maryland and Indiana, but played well against Northwestern and Illinois. The defensive tackles are certainly talented — both Louis Trinca-Pasat and Carl Davis should play in the NFL — and they need to step up and have their best collective game of the season.
The defensive ends and linebackers also have to step up to contain Melvin Gordon, who is very good when he gets to the outside. If Iowa can force Wisconsin to pass at least a little bit, it might have a chance. If not, then the Hawkeyes aren't likely to pull the home upset and be in a position to win the division in their rivalry game against Nebraska to end the season.