Iowa travels to Michigan this weekend needing a win to keep its postseason hopes alive. HI Publisher Rob Howe previews the game and predicts its outcome.
TV: ESPN will carry the game to a national audience with Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Jenn Brown calling the action.
Point Spread: As of Wednesday afternoon, the number and total were off of the board, presumedly because of Denard Robinson's unknown health status.
Update - The Mirage in Las Vegas had Iowa as a 17-point underdog. That number shows little faith in a Hawkeye program that often has a fourth shot in the fourth quarter no matter who is the opponent. That Casino also posts the total what will be scored by both teams at 46.5.
Iowa Trend: The Hawkeyes are 2-11 Against the Spread in their last 13 road games.
Michigan Trend: The Wolverines are 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
Prediction: Despite their not being a betting line as of the writing of this preview, trust that Michigan is the favorite…and a damn heavy one. The previous sentence was for readers who don't follow the Big Ten.
Iowa limps into the contest with a 4-6 record and dragging a four-game losing streak. The Wolverines are 7-3 includes being unbeaten in the Big House and a 5-1 conference mark.
If you believe in the revenge factor, Michigan has dropped three games in a row to the Hawkeyes. It's the Wolverines longest skid in a series that began in 1900.
This doesn't appear to be a fair fight.
You might even say that this is two programs currently headed in different directions. The good thing for Iowa is that it has a chance to change that on the field. That's what you can ask for in sports (and hopefully they're fun to play and watch).
Can they? Yikes. It's more than a mountain.
The Hawkeyes will try to do what they've been able to do to Denard Robinson, to an extent. He led a frantic Wolverine comeback that fell short his freshman season. He threw 20 incompletions against Iowa last season.
I'm throwing that out. This Iowa defense is inconsistent and whomever plays quarterback for the Wolverines won't need to be great. He'll need to be solid and take care of the ball. The last thing you want to do at home on Senior Day is give the heavy underdog life with turnovers.
Michigan has more at stake than do the Hawkeyes. Iowa needs the win to keep postseason hopes alive. Michigan is pursuing a championship.
Expect Brady Hoke to play the odds. He brings in the superior team. He can call a conservative game.
That's good for Iowa, which must keep the game close into the fourth quarter and then deliver a few big plays. One of its best weapons, if not No. 1 outright, is the foot of junior kicker Mike Meyer, a Groza Award semifinalist.
I started off 3-4 picking Iowa games this season. I thought this crew would improve. It hasn't, at least not enough.
I've decided I'm sane and objective enough to stick with that trend.
I feel the same way as I have for the last three games - The Hawkeyes have more unanswered questions than the opponent. This week, they play their first ranked team in 2012.
Two types of people will pick Iowa this week:
1. Someone with no objectivity.
2. Someone who is talking out of their rear-end knowing nobody in the fan base will remember their idiotic prognostication because they will all be too pissed off at their team not being bowl eligible for the first time since 2000.
Score: Michigan 31, Iowa 16
Season: 5-4 (1 week on vacation)