2023 Big Ten Championship Game: Michigan opens as huge favorite over Iowa, eyes College Football Playoff berth

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Number 3 Michigan After finishing No. 2, it was locked into the Big Ten championship game Ohio State 30-24 for him Third straight win over the rival Buckeyes to win the Big Ten East. The Wolverines will face the No. 17 Big Ten West champion Iowa On December 2 at 8 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Indiana.

Wolaita Dachas enter the championship as 21.5 point favorites and are looking for their third crown. Michigan did not win any of the six consecutive Big Ten championships between Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller from 1988-92.

Iowa is back in the title game for the second time in three seasons Nebraska 10 regular season wins to reach 13-10. The Hawkeyes had one of the most incredible seasons in recent memory, somehow finishing last nationally in double-digit wins with 246 yards of total offense per game. The mark sits more than 40 yards from the next closest power conference opponent (Michigan State).

Since the current division alignment began in 2014, the Big Ten East is a perfect 9-0 against the Big Ten West. This also marks the sixth straight year that title game distribution has reached double digits. However, it is the final year of the divisional alignment before four new teams push the Big Ten to 18 teams in 2024. Here’s what you need to know about the 2023 Big Ten Championship Game.

A series of stories

Michigan has won three straight against Iowa, including a 42-3 victory in the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game. In 2016, the Hawkeyes defeated Michigan 14-13 to eliminate the Colts. College football A 10-2 regular season record and a controversial loss to Ohio State. However, Iowa hasn’t beaten Michigan since 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa.

The keys to the game

Michigan has played heavily in the tournament this season, but Iowa presents a unique challenge. The Hawkeyes rank 7th nationally in total defense and hold opponents to 4.04 yards per play. Michigan can create some offense, but it won’t be easy. The Wolverines benefited greatly from some chunk plays; Iowa isn’t built to play from behind.

For Iowa, just playing a straight offense won’t be enough. The Hawkeyes averaged only 18 points per game Penn StateThe only ranked opponent on their schedule. Star defensive back and punt returner Cooper Dejan It’s out, which means Iowa will have to look for different options to score points. Punter Tori Taylor As always, it plays an important role, but it may not be enough to stay competitive.

Michigan for stakes

Michigan is making its third straight trip to the College Football Playoff after going 12-0 in the regular season for the second straight year. The Wolverines failed to pick up wins in both College Football Playoff games, but the 2023 team is the best case of the Jim Harbaugh era. Speaking of Harbaugh, he will return to the sidelines in the Big Ten title game after serving a three-game suspension for violating the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy in a sign-stealing investigation.

For Iowa stocks

Iowa has produced a handful of graduates under coach Kirk Ferentz, but the Hawkeyes haven’t won an outright conference championship since Hayden Fry’s team in 1985. group. Beating Michigan would give Ferentz an elusive win and send Iowa to the New Year’s Six bowl for the first time since 2015.

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