A third consecutive Big Ten title is just one game away for No. 2 Michigan, with only No. 16 Iowa the only obstacle standing in the way of what is also assuredly another College Football Playoff berth for the Wolverines. Amid a season defined by both wins and scandal, Michigan is a complex character with a real chance to make a national championship run. As such, this edition of the Big Ten Championship Game comes with heightened stakes.
There is a history in Indianapolis between these two: The Wolverines captured their first conference title in 17 years over the Hawkeyes in 2021.
Last season, Michigan defended its title by knocking off Purdue to reach the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive season. The Wolverines have a chance to make their third consecutive appearance in the CFP after beating Ohio State 30-24 in the regular-season finale.
Iowa's path to the title game couldn't be more different. The Hawkeyes offense has been under a microscope this season due to a revised contract given in the offseason to offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. The son of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is out at the end of the 2023 season after it became readily apparent that the team would fall short of the mandated 25 ppg goal at year's end to retain him.
How to watch Michigan vs. Iowa live
Date: Saturday, Dec. 2 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium -- Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: Fox | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
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Michigan vs. Iowa: Need to know
Jim Harbaugh's return: Michigan will get a boost to its sideline this weekend when Harbaugh returns. The Big Ten suspended the Michigan coach for the final three games of the 2023 regular season amid an ongoing NCAA investigation into an alleged sign-stealing operation orchestrated by former staffer Connor Stalions. In his absence, the Wolverines recorded their two biggest wins of the season against Penn State and Ohio State under acting coach Sherrone Moore.
Last Big Ten title game with divisions: The Big Ten championship race format will change with Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA joining next summer. Starting in 2024, the Big Ten will do away with divisions with future championship games featuring the top two teams from the standings. As this current matchup goes, Iowa would be tied for third with Penn State but owning a head-to-head shutout loss to the Nittany Lions.
Blake Corum vs. Iowa's defense: The key to victory for the Wolverines starts with Corum. The Michigan star running back elected to come back to school for another season, a gamble that has payed off in a big way. Corum set the school's single-season record for rushing touchdowns in the win over Ohio State. He now sits at 22 touchdowns on the season with 53 for his career. Iowa's run defense will have to limit Corum if it's to start thinking about pulling the biggest upset in the history of the Big Ten's title games.
Michigan vs. Iowa prediction, pick
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Michigan heads into this game as a heavy favorite and rightfully so. The Wolverines have arguably been the best team in the country and look well on their way to reaching the College Football Playoff again. Iowa's offense is what it is, but injuries have made it difficult. The Hawkeyes have been involved in some of the lowest totals in college football history, so it just feels right to take the under in this one. Michigan is going to look to control the clock and run the football, which will help keep the total score low. Pick: Under 35
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