For the second time in three years, the Iowa Hawkeyes are set to square off with the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten Championship Game. For all the hand-wringing over Iowa’s offense, Brian Ferentz and the stuck in the mud ways of head coach Kirk Ferentz, Iowa has done it again and enters the week with 10 wins for the 8th time in the Ferentz era.
They will, of course, have their hands full. The Hawkeyes face a Michigan Wolverines team that hasn’t lost a game outside of the College Football Playoff since October 30th of 2021. While Iowa is playing in their second title game in three years, Michigan is playing in their third straight, having won each of the last two.
The Wolverines enter the week averaging nearly 38 points per game, having scored at least 30 points in every contest this season. On the other side of the ball, they’re giving up the fewest points of anyone in the country, just over 10 per game. That presents a tall task for the already struggling Iowa offense, and that’s putting it incredibly lightly.
Given just how accomplished this #2 Michigan team is, it should come as little surprise that they enter the weekend as massive favorites to defeat the Hawkeyes. DraftKings Sportsbook opened with the Wolverines as 21.5-point favorites. That line has steadily climbed throughout the week, topping out at 23.5-points. With an over/under at 35.5 total points, the implied final score from Vegas is Michigan 29.5, Iowa 6. Not a pretty picture for the Hawkeyes.
Here’s a quick look at the details for Saturday’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, December 2nd
Time: 7:00 pm CT
Matchup: #16 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-2, 7-2) vs #2 Michigan Wolverines (12-0, 9-0)
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis, IN
DraftKings Opening Line: Michigan -21.5, O/U 35.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Saturday’s matchup will be the 64th time the two schools have faced off. The series dates all the way back to 1900, when Iowa opened things up with a 28-5 win over Michigan in a game played in Detroit.
While Iowa started things off on the right foot, Michigan has been rolling of late. The Wolverines hold a 44-15-4 all-time advantage in the series and have won the last three meetings.
Most fans will recall this is the second meeting between Iowa and Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game with the Wolverines clobbering Iowa 42-3 in the 2021 meeting in Indianapolis, the two programs are actually playing for the third consecutive season. Michigan came to Kinnick a year ago to face an Iowa team that was similarly struggling offensively but solid on defense. The then-#4 Wolverines won that matchup 27-14.
In that matchup, Michigan jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead and pushed it to 20-0 in the fourth before the Hawkeyes got on the board with a 2-yard Kaleb Johnson TD run. The teams then exchanged touchdowns in the final minute of the game to take the final to 27-14. The Wolverines went on to win a second-straight Big Ten Championship last season with a 43-22 win over Purdue.
Prior to that 2021 meeting in Indianapolis, things had been quite close between Iowa and Michigan. The Hawkeyes won two of the prior three meetings, all of which were within one score. The Wolverines pulled out a 10-3 win over Iowa in the big house back in 2019, which ended a two-game winning streak for the Hawkeyes.
Each of those two prior wins came in Kinnick with the Hawkeyes notably kicking a game-winning field goal to defeat Michigan 14-13 in 2016 in the first meeting between head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Kirk Ferentz. Iowa had won four of the last five meetings between the programs entering that game.
Despite the rough start, Harbaugh holds a 3-1 all-time record against Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. He will be coaching the Wolverines for the first time in several weeks on Saturday after serving a three-game suspension for a scheme in which Michigan sent staffers to future opponents’ games to steal signs. The scheme reportedly dates back to 2021, when the Wolverines started their current run of dominance in the Big Ten and just after an abysmal 2-6 2020 season where Michigan avoided playing Iowa in their season finale.
Be sure to check back in throughout the week as all preview and postgame stories will be published to this stream.