There is a rematch of the Big Ten Championship game this weekend as the #4 Michigan Wolverines (4-0) head to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1). Michigan is looking to repeat as Big Ten champs, while Iowa is looking to get their season back on track after an early season loss to Iowa State.
Michigan has been dominant so far, albeit against a weak schedule, while the Hawkeyes have had a truly dominant defense slowed down by its own struggling offense. How will Michigan answer its first test, and can the Hawkeye offense finally get something going? We'll find that answer out very soon!
The IB team has broken down the game and is ready to make predictions.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: Michigan 24, Iowa 13
Iowa has had a truly a brilliant defense this season and I expect it to be good against Michigan as well. The Wolverine offense comes into this game averaging 50 points per game, but that was mostly on the backs of an embarrassingly easy schedule. Against Maryland, the Michigan offense was good but far from great. The ground attack was outstanding, but it will face by far its biggest test of the season against the Hawkeye defense, which has been truly brilliant so far this season.
Michigan has two big keys going for it against the Iowa defense. One, it has a speed advantage on the perimeter, and two is that the Wolverine offense should get plenty of opportunities, as I expect the putrid Iowa offense to do a lot of punting. As long as the Michigan line can give young QB JJ McCarthy just a little bit of time he should be able to make enough big plays in the pass game to get the offense going.
The only hope Iowa has is that Michigan turns it over a bunch. I just don't see an offense that has averaged just 17 points per game and has yet to top 27 in a single game (against Nevada, mind you) all of a sudden busting out against Michigan. I wouldn't be against it, but I don't see it happening.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Michigan 41, Iowa 24
Bryan had to go and put a Michigan game on here for me to predict. Anyone who follows us on the podcasting side knows my love for that team up north and also should know the pain that it gives me to predict them as a winner in this game but I have to. Michigan is by far the better team in this one. I think this one will be over by half time for all intents and purposes. Believe me, no one would like to see the Hawkeyes win this one more than me but I just fail to see a path for that to be reality. Go Iowa!
SHAUN DAVIS, RECRUITING ANALYST
Prediction: Michigan 23, Iowa 13
This is simple. The task facing the Wolverines is for starting quarterback JJ McCarthy to stay healthy and put up 21 points. If the Wolverine run game continues to surge behind Blake Corum and reaches that goal, Iowa shouldn’t have enough offense to pull off the upset.
SEAN STIRES, STAFF WRITER
Prediction: Michigan 24, Iowa 10
Iowa’s only allowed 23 points through four games, but the offense is also only averaging 17.0 points. The Hawkeyes might slow down running back Blake Corum (it’s really their only chance), but they just won’t score enough points.
RYAN ROBERTS, DIRECTOR OF RECRUITING
Prediction: Michigan 27, Iowa 13
This is a matchup that screams potential upset. Michigan is coming off of a less than stellar victory over Maryland where they struggled in spurts. Iowa is also a program that has had a propensity to create some upsets in the past, particularly at home.
I just can’t pick Iowa to upset Michigan with how bad the Hawkeye offense is. It is one of the worst units in recent memory on the Power Five level. Obviously with their defense, this game will be a close loss but ultimately, the Wolverines just have too many athletes.
ANDREW McDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Michigan 21, Iowa 10
All offseason I had this circled as an Iowa win. Michigan played arguably the easiest non-conference schedule in modern college football history, with home wins over Colorado State, Hawaii, and UConn (each of which could be the worst FBS team in the country), and a close win over a mediocre Maryland team in the Big Ten opener.
This will be by far Michigan's toughest test to this point, but this Iowa team just does not have the offensive firepower to hang with the Wolverines for 60 minutes. Kinnick Stadium will be rocking and Iowa will test Michigan on the strength of its defense (which ranks 6th in the country), but the inability of the Hawkeye offense - which ranks LAST in the FBS - to sustain drives will allow JJ McCarthy and Blake Corum to make some big plays in the second half.
IB STAFF STANDINGS
Bryan - 15-4
Vince - 14-5
Shaun - 13-6
Sean - 13-6
Ryan - 13-6
Andrew - 11-8
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