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Live from Iowa City: What you need to know about Wisconsin-Iowa

Rick Brown
ribrown@dmreg.com

Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) avoids the tackle by John Lowdermilk (37) of the Iowa Hawkeyes  during a 2013 game.

GOOD AFTERNOON...From Kinnick Stadium. Cloudy and foggy at Kinnick Stadium two hours before kickoff. Temperatures near 50. Vintage Big Ten football weather.

FACES IN THE CROWD. Eleven-time PGA Tour winner and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson is among those headed to Kinnick Stadium for today's game. Johnson is a lifelong Hawkeye fan.

IOWA'S BIGGEST ADVANTAGE TODAY… Kinnick Stadium. Iowa was once invincible on home turf, but some of that edge is gone. It will take a huge dose of Melrose Magic during today's designated "Blackout" to topple the 14th-ranked Badgers. This game feels like that 2008 Iowa-Penn State game. Iowa was 5-4. Penn State was undefeated and ranked third. The Hawkeyes won on Daniel Murray's buzzer beater, 24-23.

WHAT COULD BE THEIR UNDOING? Plenty of places to start here. Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon could become the frontrunner with a big game today. He let the fans get to him last season, when he was held to a season-low 62 yards. The former Iowa commit will be hell-bent for revenge. And he's got the nation's No. 1 defense backing him up. Iowa's offense has struggled to find consistency all season long. That Badger defense will make it an uphill climb.

WHO SHOULD WE BE TALKING ABOUT BUT AREN'T? Warren Herring, Wisconsin's nose guard, was injured in the season opener against LSU. He missed five games before returning against Maryland Oct. 25. The Badgers have allowed a total of 45 points in the four games since he returned. Iowa fifth-year center Tommy Gaul has a busy day ahead of him.

FINAL PREDICTION: The national spotlight will be on Gordon and Wisconsin, not Iowa. That's the stuff signature upsets are made up. The Hawkeyes hang around for a while, but don't make it to the finish line. Wisconsin 35, Iowa 21.