When, Where: Kickoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. CT Saturday, Sept. 22, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
TV: The Big Ten Network will carry the game for a national audience with Tom Werme, Danan Hughes and Kevin Kugler calling the action. You can find the game in your area here.
Point Spread: As of Friday morning, Iowa is a 14-point favorite per at Covers.com.
Telling Trend: Chippewas are 0-7 against the spread in their last seven games as a road underdog.
Prediction: The film of Central Michigan impressed Kirk Ferentz. The Iowa coach called for a tough game against the Chippewas this weekend.
Ferentz pointed out that CMU was the last MAC team to beat defending-league champ Northern Illinois. He said the miserable outing Chippewas quarterback Ryan Radcliff (17-38, 173 yards, 2 INTs) suffered through against Michigan State two weeks ago was an aberration.
Perhaps he's right about Central. He also might be taking into consideration that his team hasn't looked championship caliber during a 2-1 start.
Either way, Iowa should, and will win this game. This isn't Western Michigan or the 2007 Hawkeyes that ended the season.
The Spartans destroyed CMU, 41-7, in Mount Pleasant. In State's other two games, they have scored a combined 20 points, granted it was against Boise State and Notre Dame.
And, yes, Ferentz was right. The Chippewas defeated NIU, 48-41, last Oct. 1. The Huskies have won their last eight MAC games since that setback on the road.
What the Iowa coach failed to mention is that Central has won just two of its last nine games, including just one of the previous eight in league. Its out-of-conference win was a 38-27 decision against FCS SE Missouri St. to open this season.
The Chippewas defense has allowed opponents more than 400 yards a game. That unit gave up 428.8 YPG a year ago.
Iowa hasn't lit up the scoreboard so far, to be sure. It ranked 103 nationally in offense after three games. The Hawkeyes haven't thrown a touchdown pass.
Still, Iowa's weakness isn't as great as CMU's handicap. The Hawkeyes also seem to be trending in the right direction with the ball in their hands.
Not sure we need to go much deeper than that. The Big Ten Network is airing it at 11 a.m. for a reason. South Dakota at Northwestern is on it at 2:30.
Score: Iowa 31, CMU 17