IOWA CITY, Ia. — There are no secrets when the film comes on. Iowa and Wisconsin are quite familiar with each other and what they do well.
Saturday’s Iowa-Wisconsin showdown pits two teams rooted in identity. The Hawkeyes and Badgers have long established their tendencies over the last handful of years
“In this series, we know who they are. They know who we are.” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said at Tuesday’s press conference. “So that’s the good news.
“The bad news is we know who they are. And they give up (not many) points per game. That’s the challenge. The thing that’s significant here is they’ve had a philosophy in place. They’ve had a staff that’s been in place. It’s amazingly uncommon in college football. It seems like every three years, you’re looking at a new menu.”
Wisconsin’s consistency is among the biggest reasons why the Badgers have ascended among the conference elite of late.
Wisconsin has won fewer than nine games just twice since 2004 — a stretch that’s included nine double-digit win seasons. The Badgers have won five division titles (2011-12, 2014, 2016-17) and three conference titles (2010-12) during this surge.
“They have a DNA that’s been pretty consistent,” Ferentz said. “How do you crack the safe against them? It’s hard.”
The Badgers do come in a bit wounded, having lost last week at BYU. The Badgers fell 10 spots in the Coaches Poll and 12 in the AP.
“It took a really good effort (by BYU),” Ferentz said. “And that’s what it’s going to take Saturday. Points are going to be tough.”
Long way to go either way
As big of an impact as Saturday’s contest could have on the Big Ten landscape, Ferentz pumped the breaks a bit on the magnitude.
“Whether we win or lose this game, we’ve still got eight more weeks of football left no matter what happens,” Ferentz said. “And we’ll deal with it on either side. It’s a long season.”
Ferentz announced Parker Hesse, Nate Stanley, Keegan Render and Brady Ross as Saturday’s captains.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.