Week 12 – Iowa at Michigan

Posted Nov 15, 2012

Week 12 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Iowa at Michigan

Iowa (4-6) at Michigan (7-3) Nov. 17, 12:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal: Michigan is still alive. It took a miraculous catch in the final seconds by Roy Roundtree to get by Northwestern, and there was a field goal in the final moments to beat Michigan State, but outside of the loss to Nebraska, the Wolverines have been on a roll and are still alive for the Big Ten title. It's going to take a win over Iowa this week and Ohio State next week in the regular season finale – and a Nebraska loss to either Minnesota this week or Iowa next week – to face Wisconsin for a shot at the Rose Bowl, but at the very least, with two more wins they'll get a fantastic New Year's Day bowl.

Iowa is in desperation mode after going into the tank on a four-game losing streak. Just getting to six wins and a bowl would be a success at this point, but to do that would shake up the Big Ten race. The Hawkeye offense has gone from mediocre to worse, and the defense can't seem to come up with a key stop in tight games against Indiana or Purdue. However, despite all the problems and all the issues over the last month, the team is a key factor over the last two weeks with the potential to screw up the Wolverines and Huskers.

Iowa has won the last three matchups between the two with Michigan's last win coming in 2006.

Why Iowa Might Win: The Michigan offense has been able to run a little bit over the last few weeks, and did a decent job moving up and down the field against Northwestern, but 53 yards came on the big play to Roundtree and the ground game struggled outside of a 50-yard dash from Fitzgerald Toussaint. The O moved the chains against the Wildcats and was good on third downs, but it wasn't necessarily effective until it absolutely had to be. Michigan isn't giving away the ball, but neither is Iowa with just two turnovers in the last three weeks, and both coming against Indiana. The Hawkeyes have turned the ball over just nine times.

Why Michigan Might Win: The Iowa passing game hasn't done much of anything, ranking last in the Big Ten and 113th in the nation in passing efficiency, but that seems to be the only way the offense can move the ball with Mark Weisman banged up. James Vandenberg threw for 249 yards in the loss to Indiana, and he threw for 214 yards against Northwestern, but those were relatively ineffective. Good luck moving the ball through the air against a Michigan defense that's No. 1 in the nation against the pass despite allowing three touchdown passes to Northwestern last week and isn't giving up anything deep. Yeah, Iowa might be able to throw for 200 yards, but it's not going to be enough. This might not be a shootout, but the Hawkeyes haven't shown anything this year to suggest they can keep up if Michigan gets up early.

What To Watch Out For: Devin Gardner has been more than fine in place of Denard Robinson, who's still banged up a bit with an elbow injury. The passing game has improved with Gardner throwing for 520 yards and four scores with two picks over the last two games, and while he'll never be Robinson in open space, he's been able to take off for 68 yards and three scores. If nothing else, he's showing he's going to be more than fine as the main man for the offense next year, and he might even do more for the offense than Robinson has been able to.

What Will Happen: Michigan will keep the pressure on the Huskers. The defense will keep Iowa from moving the ball consistently, and Gardner will be efficient and effective getting up early and staying there without a problem. Iowa will come up with around 300 yards of total offense, but points will be tough to come by.

CFN Prediction: Michigan 30 … Iowa 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Michigan -20 O/U: 46
Must Watch Rating (5 – Killing Them Softly, 1 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2): 2.5