Out of the Tunnel: Michigan vs. Penn State
This is the most important game in Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan coaching career. Unless, of course, the Wolverines win, then, on Nov. 27, the Ohio State game in Ann Arbor becomes the most important game of his Michigan career.
Welcome to Jim Harbaugh’s highly scrutinized and deeply unsettling world. Where every week is a debate on when Michigan will be Michigan again. It’s another big game this time at Penn State. Which is not in the Big 10 East Division race but still has enough to sidetrack Michigan’s hopes. Wolverines have only played one crucial game this season, and they lost an 18 point lead to Michigan State on the road.
This season will be judged — fairly or not — on Michigan reaching The Game against Ohio State. This gives them a chance to win the East and play in the Big Ten Championship Game for the first time.
Penn began the season with Big Ten title aspirations, but quickly became a prime example of what can happen when a quarterback is injured. QB Sean Clifford’s upper-body injury cost the Lions a win at Iowa and another a week later against Illinois. Clifford was injured against Illinois and did not play in the second half against Iowa.
Penn’s three-game losing streak, which included a 9-point loss at Ohio State, was broken last week with a victory over Maryland.
Within the Michigan offense, there is a philosophical battle raging, and it is centered on the most important position on the field.
Cade McNamara is a reliable starter. He’s a quarterback who can make plays in a run-oriented system while throwing off play-action. But if Michigan can’t run the ball and McNamara has to throw — and the defense knows he has to throw — his velocity and ability are limited.
There’s freshman McCarthy J.J. who is an elite dual-threat. His big-play ability is only limited by the fact that he’ll make mistakes and has been careless with ball security at times.
Penn State Preview
Clifford is the center of attention. When he has been out, the offense has struggled to reach its full potential. On times when Clifford is healthy — and he’s getting there — the offense runs smoothly and the passing game is threatening with intermediate and deep throws. When he’s not there, the running game, which has battled all season, becomes an anchor for the offense.
At times when Penn State is unable to run the ball, it is unable to throw it effectively. That’s how you lose a nine-overtime game against one of the Big Ten’s weakest teams (Illinois). When the offense did anything it wanted for a half against the Hawkeyes — then couldn’t piece together first downs with Clifford hurt and out — that’s how you lose a game against Iowa.
Prediction: Michigan vs. Penn State
Penn State’s offense has been plagued by inconsistency all season. Michigan can find enough offense to get out of Happy Valley and onto the next major game in Harbaugh’s coaching career.
This is as long as they safeguard the ball and deal with the chaotic environment (see: avoid drive-killing false start penalties).
- Michigan will win, 20-16.
- Michigan +1 @ -110
Michigan Wolverines vs. Georgia Bulldogs Orange Bowl Preview
The Georgia Bulldogs made their first participation in the College Football Playoff in 2017, defeating Oklahoma in double overtime 54-48. They also went beyond regulation in the title game, but fell short in overtime, losing 26-23 to Alabama. The third-ranked Bulldogs (12-1) want to escape overtime in their second CFP appearance, when they face the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (12-1) at the much-awaited 2021 Orange Bowl semifinals.
Michigan has won five consecutive games, including back-to-back wins against Ohio State and Iowa. Meanwhile, Georgia Bulldogs seemed to be the ones on the verge of becoming undefeated till the SEC Championship match.
Storylines from Michigan vs. Georgia
Michigan has been in excellent form recently in the NCAA season. They have won five games in a row in their past five games (WWWWW). Georgia, like its opponents, has been in excellent form recently, with four victories in a row and only one defeat in their past five games (WWWWL).
After 13 games in the 2021 season, the Wolverines were ranked first in the Big Ten table with a win percentage of 0.923. In the meanwhile, the Bulldogs ended first in the Southeast with a win percentage of 0.923 after 13 games.
These two teams are so similar that it’s difficult to envisage a situation in which one of them may break away from the other. Both strategies rely on rushing the ball behind a strong offensive line that may wear down and break down an opponent’s defense late in the game. Due to a pair of quarterbacks who aren’t great but are more classic “game-manager” sorts, both teams’ passing offenses are underappreciated. Then there are the counter-measures. Georgia has an outstanding front seven that has been impregnable to virtually everyone it has faced this season. Aidan Hutchinson, a Heisman nominee, and David Ojabo lead Michigan’s pass rush.
Alabama exposed Georgia’s secondary in the SEC Championship Game, even though it is still fairly excellent! Michigan’s secondary is improved, and Daxton Hill is an X-factor who can assist against the run while also covering receivers and the tight ends like Georgia’s Brock Bowers. That isn’t enough to lead Michigan to win, but it is just enough to prevent Georgia from pulling away. So, when we gaze at the Wolverines’ hook at the seven on the spread, we can’t help but choose them. We’d pick Georgia if the spread falls below seven points before kick-off. That looks to be the razor-thin margin. Michigan is the predicted winner. +7.5
We’re going to do something that looks paradoxical. Yes, both teams have excellent defenses, but they have been obscured by two excellent attacks. Georgia’s offense has the best success percentage in the country and is sixth in points per drive. Michigan is sixth in the country in terms of success percentage and ninth in terms of points per drive. While we don’t expect this game to become an 80-point shoot-out, a final score of 27-20 is certainly within the realm of possibility. Let’s take a step back and consider the broad agreement. Over 45.5 is our pick.
Michigan Win Big Ten to Make Playoffs
Number 2 placed Michigan on Saturday earned its first Big 10 title since the year 2004 and the 43rd in program history. This followed their win against Iowa, thus securing a position in the College Football Playoff field. In the Big Ten Championship Game, the Wolverines thrashed No. 13 Iowa 42-3, leaving no debate about who the top team in the conference is this season.
After the game Aidan Hutchinson was voted by the media to win the Grange-Griffin MVP award, adding to his collection of honors. The Wolverines defense smothered everything Iowa tried to accomplish, including shutting down the run game.
Following the celebrations, several of the players and Jim Harbaugh gathered with the media to discuss their historic victory.
The Michigan Vs Iowa game
Cade McNamara threw for 169 yards and a touchdown during the Iowa game. Blake Corum led the team in rushing with 74 yards, with the bulk coming on his 67-yard scoring run, but Hassan Haskins had 17 carries for 56 yards and two touchdowns. Haskins’ two scores gave him 20 on the season, a new single-season record for the Wolverines.
Defensively, the Wolverines held the Hawkeyes to only 279 yards of offense and 3.9 yards per play. Star rushers Hutchinson and Ojabo combined for six tackles as well as a sack to keep the Hawkeyes out of the end zone. Aidan became the first-ever defensive player to get the Big 10 Championship Game MVP.
Many media commentators predicted that the Wolverines had little chance of winning the Big Ten or even reaching 10 victories, let alone finishing with a 6-6 or slightly better record. That was good bulletin board material for Michigan, as it was for most teams. And Aidan Hutchinson said it did remain in the back of the team’s mind — to overcome the odds.
Michigan-Georgia to Put Defence in the Spotlight in the Orange Bowl
On selection Sunday, the skies in Georgia’s capital city were unusually dark. Perhaps echoing the attitude of Dawgs supporters who awoke with a similar hangover after losing to them in the SEC championship game in Atlanta on Saturday. While Georgia finds itself in a familiar situation for better or worse after a disheartening defeat (it is still in the dance, after all), Michigan is in rarefied air.
Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines have consistently passed the tests as the stakes have risen, and now the big one has arrived. Michigan, welcome to the College Football Playoff.
Despite their thrashing at the hands of Alabama in the SEC title game and how well Michigan has played recently, the Dawgs are a touchdown favorite. There will be a lot of talk about this game. So let us be one of the first to offer you a sneak peek.
Important Fact to keep an eye on
This season, the Wolverines’ defense has flourished so far. On the defensive side of the ball, new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has done a good job. He’s completed Don Brown’s partial job of retooling the Wolverines to be more multiple and less of a blunt instrument.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Game Preview
Last weekend, the Big Ten saw a major shake-up as the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines defeated the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes for the first time since 2011. The Buckeyes controlled the game for a long time, but couldn’t secure the win to top the Big Ten East.
The Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan Wolverines will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend. Jim Harbaugh has finally taken his team to the promised land, and the College Football Playoff is now only one win away. It would be their first conference title since 1997, and it would turn Harbaugh’s Michigan coaching career around in a single game.
The Wolverines will face a suffocating Hawkeye defense, which is sixth in yards per play and eighth in turnover margin (1.08 per game). It’ll be intriguing to watch how they do against Michigan’s tenth-ranked scoring offense, which averages 451.2 yards per game.
Betting Trends for Michigan vs. Iowa
- In their previous eight games, the Wolverines have gone 7-1 against the spread (ATS).
- For 12 games, the Wolverines have gone 11-1 straight up (SU).
- In their previous nine games against the Hawkeyes, the Wolverines are 6-3 ATS.
- In their previous five games versus the West Division, the Wolverines are 4-1 ATS.
- For their previous 18 games, the Hawkeyes are 12-6 against the spread.
- In the past five meetings between these two clubs, the UNDER is 4-1.
- In their previous five games versus the East Division, the Hawkeyes are 5-0 ATS.
Prediction and Pick for Michigan vs. Iowa
Michigan was consistently underestimated by the bookmakers throughout the season but finished up leading the country with a 10-2 ATS record.
The offense is one of the most effective in the league, scoring all of those points and gaining all of those yards while mostly rushing the ball. Hassan Haskins is the centerpiece of this rushing assault, but Blake Corum’s efforts cannot be overlooked. They’re the essence of a one-two punch, and teams have struggled to deal with them.
Even though the Hawkeyes made it to the show, they are the weaker team here. On offense, they struggle to move the ball and average fewer than 300 yards each game. In terms of yards per game, they are outside the Top-120, while their 25.7 points per game rank them 81st. Iowa’s defense is the name of the game, as they rank in the Top-10 in opponent points per game (17.3), yards per game (315.8), and points per play (17.3). (0.240).
So, while Michigan has a huge lead on offense, their defense is on par with, if not better than, Iowa’s. We believe Michigan and Harbaugh have waited much too long for this opportunity to squander it. We’re betting they’ll run all over the Hawkeyes, cover, and punch their ticket to the College Football Playoff.
- Michigan Wolverines are a -11.0 favorite (-110)
Spread and Over/Under for Michigan vs. Iowa
- Michigan has a -11.0 point spread (-110), +11.0 for Iowa (-110)
- Michigan is a -440 favourite, while Iowa is a +350 favourite.
- Total: 44.0 (Under -110) (Over -110)