The Michigan Wolverines travel to Iowa City this weekend to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeyes are still stinging from a 22-21 loss to Minnesota last week but somehow, some think Iowa can pull the upset.
ESPN analyst Mark Schlabach picked Iowa over Michigan in an upset this weekend, but I am going the other way.
This game won't be close.
Michigan's efforts on both sides of the ball this week will result in a double-digit victory.
There, cat is out of the bag. Now for my reasoning, here are the five reasons this week's contest won't be close.
The Michigan Wolverines found a running game last week against Purdue.
Usually when talking about rushing yard leaders on the Wolverines on a game-by-game basis, one looks to no further than Michigan dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson.
Not last week against Purdue.
Last week it was Fitzgerald Toussaint who stole the ground show behind the Michigan offensive line, as Toussaint broke out with 170 yards and two scores.
But don't let the numbers fool you, Toussaint only averages 2.0 yards per carry away from Michigan Stadium.
Until this week.
Iowa's defense gives up 163.6 rushing yards a game.
That's without playing three of their four remaining opponents in Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska.
Look for Michigan to roll up some big numbers on the ground this week.
The Hawkeyes have no chance on defense unless they can somehow find a way to stop Michigan's running game.
Iowa gives up just over 238 passing yards a game.
Michigan's passing game averages about 196 yards a game.
If Michigan gets the running game going early, it will open up the passing game.
While Denard Robinson has proven that he isn't the most accurate quarterback in the world, he still has a significant ability to throw the ball down field.
Robinson also has receivers like Junior Hemingway, Jeremy Gallon and Roy Roundtree who can go up and get the ball for him.
Each of the receivers listed here averages over 16 yards a catch, so Iowa better not be solely focused on stopping Michigan's running game.
Michigan's passing attack goes a long time during the game without being noticed, but as soon as the chance is there, a play of 20 yards or more emerges, giving Michigan big first downs.
Michigan's defensive front last week caused havoc for Purdue.
The defense even came up with a big two-point safety that gave Michigan the lead that they never relinquished.
They also came up with four sacks and allowed Michigan's secondary to pick off a pass that allowed the team to take a 22-7 lead into halftime last week.
In all honesty, Michigan's defensive line has looked excellent since switching back to the 4-3 defense from the old 3-3-5 scheme.
Michigan's defensive line, and front seven in general, have been where they needed to be to make stops and hold teams to punts or field goals.
There's no way this stops against Iowa this week.
Iowa's quarterback James Vandenberg is no slouch.
But he did get happy feet on the last drive of the game last week against Minnesota, and Michigan's defense is much less lenient than Minnesota's defense.
Vandenberg better settle into a rhythm early because if he doesn't it's going to be another lopsided victory for Michigan.
Speaking of happy feet, Iowa has given up 17 sacks this season in eight games. Look for more to be given out when Michigan comes to town.
Michigan's defense only surrendered 14 points last week.
A touchdown on their first and last drives on the field.
They got a safety, intercepted a pass, forced four sacks.
Pretty good day overall.
But they were missing their starting strong safety in Jordan Kovacs.
Kovacs is expected to play this week against Iowa, and it will be good to have him back on the field.
Kovacs had 42 tackles through seven games, but sat out last week due to a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Michigan also has Thomas Gordon, who has an impressive stat line himself of 32 tackles, one interception, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk has had injury problems this season, but has looked good when he can play, and freshman cornerback Blake Countess has done nothing but impress with his 27 tackles, four pass breakups and a forced fumble.
All in all, Michigan proved it could still play defense without Kovacs, who seemed to be the lynchpin in this secondary.
Now that he is back this week against Iowa, expect a long difficult game for Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg.
Iowa gave up 12 straight points and blew an 11-point lead to Minnesota.
Minnesota wasn't picked to win a single Big 10 game this season.
I don't think anybody called this one.
Need any more reasons than that?
Michigan is too good not to blow out Iowa in this game.
The game will be won and lost in the trenches and on the ground.
I think 250 yards rushing for Michigan is not out of the question, and they might put up more if Iowa cannot find some way to slow down the Wolverines.
Of course, Denard Robinson will be keyed on likely all game, but Iowa has given up rushing yards to other teams without Denard Robinson caliber players, so I fully believe Michigan can dominate Iowa on the ground even if "Shoelace" does not get involved in the running attack.
Prediction for the game.
Michigan 41, Iowa 17.
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