It’s here. The Big Ten Championship Game is now just hours away and nobody seems to care. Well, nobody except the players and staff inside the locker room dressed in black and gold. Seemingly not even those on the other sideline in their white, maize and blue.
Iowa is supposed to lose tonight. They’re supposed to be humiliated. It’s a familiar sight. We saw it two years ago when a Cade McNamara-led Michigan team trounced Iowa 42-3. We saw it earlier this season when the #10 Penn State Nittany Lions annihilated the Hawkeyes 31-0. It’s why the Wolverines are favored by more than any other team playing in a conference title game this weekend.
But we’ve already seen one massive upset this week. Washington entered last night as a double-digit underdog to Oregon and came out looking like they were going to be the ones doing the trouncing. Things certainly got interesting, but the Huskies came out on top. Can Iowa do the same and flip the script on the college football world?
Well, Hawkeye fans aren’t so sure. More than half of fans participating in this week’s Reacts poll expect Michigan to cover the massive spread on tonight’s game.
But it’s not an overwhelming majority. What’s more interesting than the 44% of fans who think Iowa can keep this one somewhat respectable is just how they thing it could happen.
The Wolverines enter the day averaging nearly 38 points per game. They’ve topped the 30 point mark in every matchup this season, including a week ago when they face a top-5 scoring defense from Ohio State.
But 55% of Iowa fans think this Hawkeye defense, which is second nationally in yards allowed per play (which is a superior metric than total defense given it accounts for the number of plays the defense is forced to be on the field by their offense), will be the first to keep Michigan under that 30 point mark and below their implied point total of 29.5.
Again, that’s not the most interesting part. No, that’s the 45% of participants who think Iowa will be the ones to top their implied point total and get over 6.5 total points. For those looking to place some bets, you can play with that number on DraftKings Sportsbook, but you can also bet on the over/under of 0.5 total touchdowns for Iowa. Seems like 45% of you should be hitting that over.
Which could make this thing truly interesting. If Iowa holds Michigan under 30 and manages to get on the board with a TD, we are likely talking about a game that is within two scores for much of the time.
Moral victories are not something any team should be looking for, but avoiding national embarrassment and showing up on the national stage is a goal worth having. And you never know, you can’t pull off the miracle upset without keeping things close.
The Hawkeyes and Wolverines will kick off shortly after 7pm CT tonight on FOX. Be sure to check back for the live updates in the game thread as we get things moving tonight.