Fast facts: Big Ten Championship edition

Get to know the Iowa-Michigan matchup, including a look at the series history between the two Big Ten programs.


Jerod Ringwald

Lucas Oil Stadium is shown in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Thursday, July 22. The Big Ten switched locations from Chicago, Illinois, to Indianapolis this year.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The No. 13 Iowa football team (10-2 overall, 7-2 Big Ten) faces off against No. 2 Michigan (11-1, 8-1) in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on Saturday.

The matchup between the Big Ten West and East champions will kick off at 7:17 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday. The game will air on FOX. Both teams are seeking their first Big Ten Championships since 2004, when both programs tied for the conference title. Iowa is seeking its first outright Big Ten championship since 1985.

Before the championship game, check up on some fast facts on the Hawkeye-Wolverine matchup.

Iowa vs. Michigan series history

The Wolverines hold a 42-15-4 all-time advantage in their series over the Hawkeyes. The first game played in the series, a 28-5 Iowa win, took place in 1900.

Saturday is the fourth time the two teams will meet with Michigan ranked No. 2 in the country. On two of those occasions, Iowa won with walk-off field goals. In 1985, the top-ranked Hawkeyes defeated the second-ranked Wolverines, 12-10, at Kinnick Stadium. In the first meeting between Ferentz and Harbaugh as head coaches, Iowa knocked off No. 2 Michigan, 14-13, in Iowa City, thanks to former Hawkeye Keith Duncan’s last-second kick.

Iowa is 1-1 against Michigan during Harbaugh’s seven years there.

Iowa has won five of the last seven meetings against Michigan. The teams were scheduled to play last year during the Big Ten’s “Champions Week,” but positive COVID-19 cases within the Wolverine program led to the game’s cancellation.

How Iowa would compare to past champions

A Big Ten West team has never won the Big Ten Championship Game since the conference realigned ahead of the 2014 season. Ohio State has won the conference in five of the last seven seasons, including the last four. Michigan State (2015) and Penn State (2016) are one-time winners of the Big Ten Championship Game.

Iowa lost to Michigan State by three points in its only previous championship game appearance.

RELATED: Iowa football notebook | Special teams a strength for both Hawkeyes, Wolverines

Wisconsin (four times), Northwestern (twice), and Iowa (twice) have represented the West in the Big Ten Championship Game since the East-West formats were introduced. This is Michigan’s first time representing the East.

On four of seven occasions since 2014, the winner of the Big Ten Championship Game has gone on to make the College Football Playoff (Ohio State three times and Michigan State once). After beating Wisconsin in 2016, Penn State went to the Rose Bowl. Two regular season losses prevented the Nittany Lions from going to the playoff. A similar situation struck in 2017 and 2018, when the Buckeyes went to the Cotton and Rose Bowls after winning the conference title.

If Iowa were to upset 10.5-point favorite Michigan, it would be the lowest scoring team to win the Big Ten title since 2014. The Hawkeyes are averaging 25.7 points per game this season.

Of the past seven Big Ten Champions, Michigan State in 2015 is the lowest-scoring team at 29.8 points per game. Penn State averaged 37.6 points per game when it won the title. Every Ohio State championship team since 2014 has scored at least 40 points per game. On the other side, Iowa would have the second-best scoring defense of any Big Ten champ in that span. Iowa is allowing 17.2 points per game this season (ninth-best in the nation), which can only be topped by 2019 Ohio State (13.7 points per game allowed.

Information for a trip to Indianapolis

With kickoff set for 8:17 p.m. (ET) between Iowa and Michigan, fans are invited to join the National I-Club from 4:30-6:30 p.m. (ET) at the Indiana Convention Center, roughly one block from Lucas Oil Stadium. The Big Ten Championship Hawkeye Huddle will include live DJ, concessions and cash refreshments, door prizes, Herky, the Iowa Spirit Squads, and the Hawkeye Marching Band.

The Indiana Convention Center will also host the Big Ten Fan Fest.

Iowa is encouraging fans to check which section they are sitting in to coordinate if they should wear black or gold to the game.

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