Here is my honest opinion on the Iowa/Michigan game, and yes, I'm expecting Michigan-fan Hell to break loose (although it shouldn't). I don't see any possible way the Hawkeyes could lose this game. Yes, Michigan has Heisman Trophy winner Denard Robinson, but they proved against Michigan State that he is ALL they have considering their defense is arguably the worst defense in college football. The things that will decide this game are pretty simple:
- Iowa's run defense is 2nd in the nation. Michigan State's is 25th. Iowa should have no trouble holding Denard under 100 yds. like MSU did. Adding to that, the Hawkeyes haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in 135 rushing attempts yet this season . They have historically been very very very good at keeping opponents out of the endzone via the run, with the current streak of 135 attempts without a touchdown being only the third longest Hawkeye streak since 2007.
- Michigan's secondary is 6 yds/game away from being the worst passing defense in the nation. Going against Ricky Stanzi, the 3rd most efficient quarterback in college football, will definitely be a challenge for the young and injured Wolverine secondary. (On a side note, although Stanzi comes nowhere near Denard in the running game, their passing numbers are disturbingly similar, with Stanzi not-surprisingly having the upper hand in the passing game, but not by much. Stanzi is just .4% more accurate than Denard on 4 less pass attempts. Stanzi has just 3 yards more passing than Denard and has 2 more TDs.)
- Iowa's scoring defense in 1st in the nation. Although Michigan averages over 37 points a game, the defenses they have faced are not impressive whatsoever. Not including Michigan State, the defenses Michigan has faced allow 27.9 points a game. If the defenses Michigan had faced were one team, they would be good enough to be 82nd in the country for points allowed, sandwiched between two defensive dynasties in Western Michigan and Ball State. No wonder Michigan can score. And to make matters worse, Michigan State held them to 17 points; they average giving up 18.3 a game. Michigan wasn't even the toughest offensive team they had seen.
- Along with Iowa's run defense being better than Michigan State's run defense, I found that Iowa's pass defense is 28th in the nation, allowing just less than 180 yds/game; significantly better than Michigan State's 77th position with over 225 yds/game. Just thought it was interesting that Iowa's defense is statistically much more well-rounded than Michigan State's.
Alright, I'm done putting random facts out there that technically have no indicator of how the game will turn out. But it gives me comfort that the Hawks really don't have much to worry about (statistically), and that's the only reason I can sleep at night.