Game Time: 12:00 PM EST/11:00 AM CST | Wolverines vs Hawkeyes coverage
Television: Big Ten Network
Opponent Blog: Black Heart Gold Pants
Vegas Says: Iowa -5
Weather Forecast: Sunshine and clear, mid-twenties with wind (yay field goal silliness!)
Series History: Michigan leads, 41-13-4
Michigan plays Iowa on Saturday, and I don't like it when Michigan visits Iowa City. Things usually do not go particularly well for the Wolverines in that stadium. I don't blame the famed pink locker rooms either. it's just weird college football voodoo that circulates around that place. Despite a large series lead, Iowa has Michigan's number when the game has some importance. Neither of these teams can get to the Big Ten Championship, but I imagine bowl representatives will be lurking in the shadows.
Last time, with the aid of a poor referee call, Michigan and Denard Robinson fell short in Iowa's red zone, and their conference championship hope evaporated. It is often Iowa who determines Michigan's postseason plans. In 1997 the Wolverines won a hard-fought game in Ann Arbor that kept the perfect season going, despite the presence of Tim Dwight.
Ferentz has maintained that his team this year will compete better with Michigan this year, and they can definitely get the jump on the Wolverines as long as Al Borges continues to run his Jekyl and Hyde offense.
About last week: Brendan Gibbons was not the Gibbons of the Penn State game. Instead, we got a stone-cold assassin that used the powers from his tiny pants to hit a field goal in what felt like suspended time. Somehow, everything fell perfectly into place for that kick to be attempted. Even a sliding Drew Dileo made that work. Devin Gardner nearly gave Northwestern approximately five sure interceptions that they just plain dropped, but the overtime performance from him is what mattered.
Iowa will be no different, and they won't drop all those footballs if Gardner throws them right at the linebackers and defensive backs. Michigan's defense should be up to the task of keeping them in the game as long as the offensive strategy isn't based solely on field goal attempts. The weather won't be as bad, but a cold wind will be there. Jeremy Gallon has to haul in sure touchdowns unlike last week, and the one thing I'm most hoping for is that the offense finally finds Devin Funchess open deep on the off chance that Gardner has enough time to throw (hint: use the moving pocket, Al!).
Iowa is a scary place, and the pink locker rooms should be the least of Michigan's concerns.