• CFP Positioning On the Line
  • Michigan Looking to Run Away With the Game
  • Can Iowa Offense Keep Up?

The Big Ten Championship Game is a few short days away. No. 2 Michigan is riding high after their first win over rival Ohio State in the Jim Harbaugh era, while No. 15 Iowa has rattled off four straight wins to clinch the Big Ten West. 

Michigan is making its first appearance in the Big Ten Championship game since the Conference introduced the new format in 2011. Iowa is making its second showing, with the last appearance in 2015. 

With a potential berth in the College Football Playoff on the line, the stakes are as high as can be. Kickoff in the Big Ten Championship is on Saturday, December 4 at 8:00 PM on FOX.

Michigan vs Iowa Matchup at a Glance

  • Sport: College Football
  • Teams: Michigan vs Iowa
  • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 4
  • Betting Odds: 

Moneyline: Iowa Hawkeyes (+340) vs Michigan Wolverines (-450)

Spread: Iowa Hawkeyes +10.5 (-110) vs Michigan Wolverines -10.5 (-110)

Total: Over 43.5 (-115), Under 43.5 (-105)

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Big Ten Championship Preview: Can the Hawkeyes Finally Deliver?

With 23-year veteran Head Coach Kirk Ferentz again patrolling the sidelines, the Iowa Football Hawkeyes dug into the 2021 Season in a confident mood following a Covid-19-related truncation of its previous year. 

Several starters returned to the 2021 roster, including Junior — and second-year starting Quarterback — Spencer Petras. While perhaps not always spectacular, his play was consistently efficient, stamped by a 58% completion rate, only six interceptions in 236 passing attempts, blending into an overall 120 QB rating.

Junior running back Tyler Goodson generated additional offensive firepower; his 238 rushing attempts combined with 25 pass receptions accounted for 1,320 total yards and seven touchdowns. Goodson averaged five yards per carry, and he fumbled only once in 12 games.  

Dane Belton’s stalwart play in the secondary led to five interceptions and 30 tackles in 12 games. Linebacker Jack Campbell is credited with 83 tackles.

After improving their finish in the Big Ten West in each of the past four seasons, can Iowa finally get over the hump?

Big Ten Championship Preview: Wolverines Looking Rabid

Jim Harbaugh’s first six years as Wolverine head coach can most charitably be thought of as decent. His overall record of 49-22 adds up to a .690 winning percentage, good enough in some circles but less than program faithful had come to expect.

Harbaugh’s record was marred by an absence of a Big 10 Championship, with four Bowl Game losses, and the biggest indignity of all – an 0-6 mark against Ohio State. As it turned out, Number Seven was the Lucky Charm.

A talented roster was again on board in Ann Arbor. Junior Cade McNamara may not have set any records at Quarterback, but he was meticulous in ball protection, connecting on 64% of 284 attempts, netting 2,301 yards good for 14 touchdowns and an overall 146.6 rating. 

Commendably, he seldom fumbled and was intercepted a mere three times. Junior Hassan Haskins and Sophomore Blake Corum spearheaded a punishing ground attack. The two combined to put up more than 2,000 yards on 380 carries, averaging better than 5 yards per touch.

Senior defensive end and team captain Aidan Hutchinson led an often stifling defensive corps, limiting six opponents to fewer than 14 points. Thoroughly dominating both lines of scrimmage, Michigan out-coached, out-classed and in general out-played the favored visitors in Ohio State last week to advance to the Big Ten Championship game. 

To win on Saturday, Michigan will need to find a way to break through Iowa’s rushing defense, which ranks third in the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed per game (105.8). 

Odds & Free Betting Analysis for This College Football Game

The Wolverines have been installed as 10.5 point choices over the Hawkeyes. The underdogs are unquestionably a well-coached and resourceful group, but this may be the best team Michigan has ever put on the field under Harbaugh. 

Because both squads have impressive defenses, the under seems like the smart play here. 

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