Free Press sports writers share their predictions for the Michigan Wolverines' game against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday in Iowa City (noon, Fox):
There’s a good chance Iowa’s defense can frustrate the Wolverines for portions of Saturday’s game as J.J. McCarthy makes his first start away from Michigan Stadium. But it’s hard to see the Hawkeyes’ anemic offense scoring enough to spring another upset against a top-five team. U-M should grind out a win. The pick: Michigan 23, Iowa 10.
MICHIGAN VS. IOWA:Scouting report, prediction for Saturday's game
Jim Harbaugh can play up the “where top-five teams go to die” atmosphere of Kinnick Stadium, but these two teams are on different planets, if not in different universes. Beating Rutgers, 27-10, was a good step for the Hawkeyes, but winning a 7-3 squeaker at home against South Dakota State — South Dakota State? — and then losing, 10-7, at home against Iowa State does nothing to convince me of Iowa’s upset potential. Sorry, Hawks. When does wrestling season start? The pick: Michigan 42, Iowa 3.
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Harbaugh said Kinnick Stadium is “where top-five teams go to die.” But his won’t this Saturday. McCarthy survives his first road start, and the Wolverines suppress Iowa’s feckless offense as they prevail for the 17th time in their last 19 games. The pick: Michigan 24, Iowa 10.
I know I’m going out on a limb here, considering Michigan is nearly a double-digit favorite, but Iowa has a knack for beating top-five teams at home. See: Iowa’s 23-20 victory over No. 4 Penn State in 2021. This is a dangerous game for Michigan — the one where a soft preseason schedule could come back to haunt them. Iowa has a great run defense and won’t be intimidated. If Michigan turns the ball over, Iowa will win. Which is what I see happening. The pick: Iowa 23, Michigan 20.
McCarthy gets his first start on the road, against the best defense the Wolverines have seen, in a stadium that's never easy to play in no matter how much the Hawkeyes lack in offense. Here's betting that the young quarterback will be a little more secure with the ball and be a little more decisive about when to throw and when to run. U-M holds on late. The pick: Michigan 23, Iowa 16.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football game picks vs. Iowa: Wolverines first road test