Iowa is all that stands in the way of a playoff bid for Michigan football

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

There is one hurdle left for Michigan football‘s head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Big Ten Championship game this Saturday evening in Indianapolis.

We’ve been ragging on Harbaugh year after year for not getting Michigan to Indianapolis, and now that he’s finally there, all that’s left to do is win.  If Michigan football can beat Iowa this Saturday, they will punch their ticket to the College Football Playoff.

Even though I remain unsure and not wholly confident in starting quarterback Cade McNamara, the rest of this squad may very well be the best unit collectively that Harbaugh has had during his tenure as Michigan’s head coach.

It also doesn’t hurt that Jim finally opted to part ways with long-time defensive coordinator Don Brown this past off-season in favor of Mike Macdonald.  Macdonald is a breath of fresh air compared to the stubborn methods of Brown and came highly recommended through John Harbaugh.  Macdonald served as a defensive assistant in Baltimore for seven years before accepting the play-calling duties in Ann Arbor.

Macdonald has two elite pass-rushers at his disposal, which certainly helps each level of the defense.  Senior Aidan Hutchinson appears to be a top-three talent, plus junior classman David Ojabo has played himself into a first-round pick in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft class.

Hutchinson leads the Wolverines with 13 sacks, Ojabo is right behind with 12; it’s the best one-two punch in all of college football.

The Wolverines deploy a veteran defense at each level, which helps a first-year defensive play-caller.  Josh Ross, who leads the club with 86 tackles, is a senior linebacker, plus Daxton Hill, Vincent Gray, DJ Turner, and Brad Hawkins in the secondary are all draft-eligible.

Michigan football’s offense is led by their lethal rushing attack behind senior Hassan Haskins and sophomore Blake Corum.  As injuries limited Corum in recent weeks, opponents have gotten a heavy dose of Haskins, and he’s yet to be slowed.  Haskins leads the Wolverines with 1,232 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, and Corum has changed the pace with 865 yards and ten scores on 136 carries.

A week ago in Michigan’s 42-27 victory over Ohio State, Haskins scored five rushing touchdowns and averaged a whopping six yards per carry, totaling 169 yards on the ground.

Jim Harbaugh takes his best Michigan football team to Indianapolis in hopes of winning a Big Ten Title and clinching a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Michigan has averaged 37.3 points per game in 2021, which ranks 13th in the country, and their defense is yielding just 17.2 points, suitable for 8th best.

The 10-2 Hawkeyes will be a tough test for Michigan, who is riding high after beating Ohio State for the first time in what feels like a lifetime and can ill-afford a letdown.

Iowa is a sound team under Kirk Ferentz and will be ready for Michigan’s stout rushing attack.  The Hawkeyes, like the Wolverines, allow just 17.2 points per game but are a bit more challenged on offense, scoring just 25.7 points per game on the season.

Michigan football vs. Iowa betting odds, spread, and prediction.

The Wolverines are currently favored by 11 points, according to WynnBET.  The Moneyline is set at -440 to Michigan and +350 to the Hawkeyes, with the Under/Over set at 43.5 total points with odds of -110.

Each team’s individual Under/Over is set at 27 to Michigan and 16 to Iowa.

The Wolverines will focus on stopping Iowa’s talented tailback Tyler Goodson who has totaled 1,101 yards and six touchdowns on 238 totes. Michigan will force Iowa’s below-average quarterbacks to try and beat them, and I don’t expect that to bode well for the Hawkeyes.

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I’ve got the Wolverines covering the 11 points, and I am taking the Over 43.5 total points.  Michigan is so close to the College Football Playoff they can taste it, and just a week removed from defeating Ohio State, I don’t expect a letdown from this experienced roster.