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Big Ten Championship Roundtable: Michigan vs. Iowa

We are back with a championship roundtable for the third straight season!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After Michigan defeated Ohio State — again — the Wolverines officially punched their ticket to Indianapolis to defend their back-to-back Big Ten titles. In their way is a familiar foe: Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes, who Michigan met up with two years ago in Indy.

Maize n Brew staff members are back with another Roundtable, where they dive into last week’s glorious victory over the Buckeyes, scouting the Hawkeyes, and more.

What a time to be alive. Overcoming all odds and being without their head coach, the Wolverines took down Ohio State last Saturday, 30-24. Give us some of your top takeaways from The Game, whether it be about the game itself, Ryan Day being a fraud, whatever you want!

Von: Attending The Game was an amazing experience. The Big House has never been so loud — I left the stadium with my ears ringing and my voice raspy. People who claim the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium isn’t good have either A) Only attended a non-conference game, or B) Don’t know what they’re talking about. The Big House can get loud if it wants to, and in this game against Ohio State, it was the rowdiest environment for a Michigan game I have ever been to.

Oh, and Ryan Day was born on third.

Matt: Sherrone Moore outcoached Ryan Day. It’s as simple as that. Day should have gone for it on fourth-and-one from midfield early in the game. He should have gone for it again before the half when he opted to kill clock and miss a field goal. Moore, on the other hand, pulled all the right levers and even called a couple trick plays. It was a coaching masterpiece performed by an interim coach.

Andrew: This is the most important win in the history of Michigan football. This win validates all of the success from 2021-23 and further proves the limited competitive advantage created from the alleged sign-stealing.

Adam: The resiliency they showed at different times during the game. Ohio State had the momentum after tying the game. Michigan needed a big drive, and got just that, even after losing Zak Zinter. The game was nerve-wracking, but it was impressive to see how they finished. It bodes well as they head into the Big Ten Championship and playoffs.

Dan: This is no fluke, hasn’t been a fluke, and will continue to not be a fluke. The Wolverines currently have a far superior program to Ohio State. Scandal, fired coaches, less five-star talent, no head coach, and STILL led the game from start to finish. Michigan is already dipping stronger into Ohio, and I think the Wolverines will get some big time talent that could keep them ahead for a long time.

Jake: I was very impressed with how strong the Michigan offensive and defensive line looked against Ohio State. It never felt like Michigan was getting beat at the line of scrimmage, running the ball very effectively throughout the game and stopping Ohio State’s run game as well. Sherrone Moore made it clear he wanted to run the ball against Penn State, Maryland and Ohio State; the team did so effectively, which controlled the tempo of all three games.

Many people believe the regular season edition of Michigan/OSU may not be as meaningful with the Big Ten ditching divisions starting next season. What are your thoughts on that sentiment?

Von: Every rivalry game is meaningful, regardless if they have to play the very next week for the conference title or not. People claiming it won’t mean as much are overreacting. What college football fan wouldn’t want another edition of The Game in the same season? The answer: Scared fans, and no fan should be scared with the way this TEAM has banded together the last few years. With the way the Wolverines are playing against OSU, it would be incredible to have two wins against those Charmin-ass Buckeyes in one year.

Matt: I completely agree, although I put more blame on the playoff expansion than I do the lack of Big Ten divisions. The Game will always be a rivalry, but outside of a National Championship matchup, it will never mean as much as last Saturday did. Next year, the loser may not make the Big Ten Championship again, as the sheer amount of Big Ten teams mean it’s likely the top two will have one or fewer losses. However, an 11-1 Michigan/OSU loser would assuredly make the 12-team playoff. The Game will become more about bragging rights and seeding and less about ending your rival’s season for all intents and purposes. It’s sad to see.

Andrew: Michigan vs. Ohio State will always be meaningful. Sure, the stakes will feel lessened to those outside the rivalry, but inside, it doesn’t matter if this game is played in a Starbucks parking lot or on the moon — an athletic contest between these two schools will always mean that everything is on the line.

Adam: It might a little less meaningful because they could play two weeks in a row, but with the quality of teams joining the conference, that is no guarantee. Both these fan bases hate each other, so the game is always going to be fun/heated.

Dan: I hate it. Can you imagine having to play Ohio State again next week for a more meaningful game?!? Feels like a waste of time to have to play twice to determine who the better team is. And because of the 12-team playoff, they could hypothetically play a third time in one year. It’s loses the gusto behind each contest. Unless it’s for a national championship, these two teams should never play more than once a season.

Jake: I agree the game against Ohio State won’t be a first-round playoff game anymore, but with home field advantage in the playoffs next season, I think the winner of Michigan/OSU will still hold strong significance. Imagine Florida State, USC, or other teams used to being in warm climates playing in the snow in the middle of December. The Game will still matter.

Michigan — now with Jim Harbaugh back — turns its attention to Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes. This will be the second time in three years these two teams meet in Indy. What worries (this may be a strong word, but work with me) you the most about this Iowa squad?

Von: Iowa’s defense is one of the best in the country. The unit is ranked No. 9 against the pass and No. 16 against the run. SP+ has it as the No. 1 defense in the country, so this will be a big challenge for J.J. McCarthy and the Michigan offense. Overall, nothing really concerns me, but Iowa’s tough-nosed defense, led by one of the best coordinators in America in Phil Parker, will be ready to play.

Matt: The defense is still legitimate. It may not be a world-beater as it was in the past few years, but they are still formidable. Also, Iowa has the best punter in the country.

Andrew: Iowa’s defensive coordinator, Phil Parker, is the best defensive coordinator in the country. He will have a dynamic game plan for the Michigan offense.

Adam: Their defense is very good and they know how to win ugly games. Michigan may not score right away, but the Wolverines have to keep Iowa from flipping the field and putting their defense in good situations. They did a great job of that in 2021 and need to do it again.

Dan: Iowa has a great, opportunistic defense. If they can make this game really muddy, they could hypothetically keep it close. Kirk Ferentz is an incredibly experienced coach who has allowed nepotism to ruin his offense. If they hire the right guy, Iowa could really take a jump as a program for the future in an already crowded Big Ten (but they won’t win on Saturday).

Jake: The defense. It’s not that hard to look at. Iowa has played good offenses and still kept its games very low scoring. I see Iowa as comparable to Penn State with a worse quarterback. If Iowa can force turnovers and even score a defensive touchdown, this will not be a Michigan win by 21+ points. Nonetheless, I still think Michigan’s offensive line is going to be able to win at the line of scrimmage and run the ball. It won’t be high scoring.

Give us a bold prediction for the Big Ten title.

Von: This may not be super bold, but Tony Pettiti will NOT hand the trophy to Jim Harbaugh, proving to the entire college football world what a scared scumbag he is.

Matt: Iowa doesn’t score a single point. The Hawkeyes only cross midfield once and aren’t able to capitalize.

Andrew: Michigan’s defense outscores Iowa by 14+.

Adam: The game hits the over. Iowa has played in some of the lowest scoring games ever, but Michigan will score quite a bit and it will go over.

Dan: Michigan’s defense forces three turnovers and holds Iowa to less than 150 yards.

Jake: Michigan may have to run the ball 30+ times again to win this game, and I see Corum scoring three touchdowns and having 150 scrimmage yards.

What’s the final score and why?

Von: Michigan 34, Iowa 3. There’s no hangover from the OSU game and the Wolverines march to the CFP for a third straight season.

Matt: Michigan 27, Iowa 0. Michigan will have some trouble moving the ball on the Hawkeyes. However, I just don’t see Iowa moving the ball whatsoever on the Michigan defense. I expect time of possession to be hideously lopsided as Iowa struggles to gain any first downs. Michigan sustains enough drives to win comfortably in a shutout.

Andrew: Michigan bulldozes Iowa, 45-6. The Hawkeye defense will do everything in its power to win this game, but four quarters with zero offensive complement will be too much for one unit to endure against Michigan.

Adam: It’s close early thanks to Iowa’s defense, but the Hawkeyes won’t be able to move the ball much. They thrive off turnovers, but Michigan has been great protecting the ball. Michigan pulls away in the second half and wins, 38-3.

Dan: This Michigan team is better than the one that faced Iowa in this game in the 2021 Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines won that game, 42-3. I think Michigan wins this one by a similar score. Give me a fired up Jim Harbaugh-led crew to win this game, 49-7.

Jake: 31-10, Michigan. Iowa may get one or two scores, but its offense isn’t good by any means. Michigan won’t score 50+ points, but will win handily.