Can Iowa Football End Big Ten West’s Title Game Drought?

Can Iowa Football End Big Ten West’s Title Game Drought?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

It’s been a grind of a season for fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes, who have ascended to the top of the Big Ten’s West division with a 6-1 record (and 3-1 conference mark), despite ranking in the bottom tier of the FBS in points per game (20.9), passing (116.6) and rushing yards per game (130.9). It must be hard to overlook those numbers in Iowa sports betting.

Four games into conference play, though, the Kirk Ferentz-coached squad sits a half-game ahead of 2-1 Wisconsin in the division, with Iowa riding off a 15-6 win over the Badgers at Camp Randall last Saturday to bolster the lead.

With that big win over the Badgers last week, Iowa is in the driver’s seat to win the West Division of Big Ten football. Iowa has not won the Big Ten since this format started in 2011. In fact, after Wisconsin won the first two title games representing the Leaders Division,  the East has won the last 10 in a row.

IowaBets.com – your source for Iowa sports betting apps information - wanted to contextualize the West division’s lack of Big Ten title game success over the years, to see if the Hawkeyes could snap the West’s woes in 2023. It’s worth noting that from 2011-13, the conference was aligned as Legends Division and Leaders Division, and has been split into East and West since 2014.

Big Ten Title Game Results by Year

YearEast WinnerWest Winner
2011Michigan State 39WISCONSIN 42
2012Nebraska 31WISCONSIN 70
2013MICHIGAN STATE 34Ohio State 24
2014OHIO STATE 59Wisconsin 0
2015MICHIGAN STATE 16Iowa 13
2016PENN STATE 38Wisconsin 31
2017OHIO STATE 27Wisconsin 21
2018 OHIO STATE 45Northwestern 24
2019 OHIO STATE 34Wisconsin 21
2020 OHIO STATE 27Northwestern 10
2021MICHIGAN 42Iowa 3
2022MICHIGAN 43Purdue 22
Winner in ALL CAPS.

 

Can Hawkeyes Flip the Script In 2023?

While Iowa’s offense is far from perfect, the Hawkeyes’ main attraction this year (yet again) is the team’s stifling defense, which ranks 10th nationally in points per game allowed at 14.9.

With a remaining schedule that includes games in Iowa City against Minnesota (this Saturday), Rutgers (Nov. 11) and Illinois (Nov. 18), and with the team’s lone road trip coming against 3-3 Nebraska to close out the regular season on Nov. 24, there’s reason to believe that the Hawkeyes are in the driver’s seat to wind up in the Big Ten title game this year.

Oddsmakers from Caesars Sportsbook Iowa seem to think so, as they list Iowa as the No. 4 Big Ten title favorite at +1400, ahead of the next closest West division team (Wisconsin, at +2000).  Now, Ferentz and company will have to put that good juju to work at Kinnick Stadium this Saturday when they host the 3-3 Gophers in a game in which Caesars lists the home side as a 3.5-point favorite.

From there, it will be up to the football gods to determine whether Iowa stands a chance at knocking off powerhouse programs Michigan (who are the leaders to win the conference at +100 on Caesars’ board), Ohio State (+240) and Penn State (+310). Iowa’s lone loss was a 31-0 drubbing by Penn State on Sept. 23.

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Author

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at IowaBets.com specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.