The Iowa Hawkeyes are still technically in the hunt to make the first annual Big Ten Championship game. At 2-2 in the conference, they sit one game back in the Legends division behind Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska. After last week's loss to what has been up to that point an awful Minnesota Gophers squad, there isn't much reason for optimism right now in Iowa City. A notoriously outmoded coach has borne the brunt of the Hawkeyes' frustrations, leading to open pleas for something, anything, to change.
The Wolverines, meanwhile, are back to liking their new man at the helm. Brady Hoke's kids rebounded nicely from their loss to Michigan State two weeks ago. Against the Purdue Boilermakers last Saturday, Michigan found it could run the ball without relying solely on Denard Robinson. Fitzgerald Toussaint had 170 yards on 20 carries during the game, after receiving just two touches against the Spartans. The defense held Purdue to just seven points for most of the game, before the Boilermakers added another score against the Wolverines' reserves with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines are, unsurprisingly, favorites for this weekend's game in Iowa City, playing a wounded Iowa squad. SB Nation projects Michigan to wind up in the Capitol One bowl following the regular season, Iowa is currently headed towards Ticketcity glory. It's never smart to count out anyone in the helter skelter world of college football. Still, Kirk Ferentz has the incredibly tall task of rebuilding his team's confidence mid stride.
Game date, time: 12:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, Nov. 5
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TV channel: ESPN/ESPN3
Spread: Michigan favored by 3.5 points
Series history: Michigan leads, 56-12
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit our Michigan blog Maize n Brew and our Iowa blog Black Heart Gold Pants. Here's this week's college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation's college football news hub for more.