As the 2022 college football season was approaching, not many experts and pundits predicted the Big Ten Championship Game matchup we're going to see on Saturday. Nonetheless, it'll be No. 2 Michigan searching for its second consecutive conference crown as the Wolverines take on a Purdue team out of the Big Ten West that has traditionally been known to be a thorn in the side of top five-ranked teams.
Of the two teams, Michigan's appearance is the least surprising. After all, the Wolverines won the Big Ten last season, beating Iowa 42-3 in this game, and reached the College Football Playoff. However, that did not stop most pundits from picking Ohio State to win the Big Ten East this season, included. Heck, two of them called the Wolverines the most overrated team in the league. Was that pinned on a bulletin board as motivation for the season? We'll never know, but the Wolverines are back anyway.
Then there's Purdue, the biggest surprise of them all. This will be Purdue's first appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game, becoming the ninth Big Ten school to reach it since its beginning in 2011. However, I go back to the brilliant predictions from the dolts here at CBSSports.com from the preseason. Barrett Sallee and Jerry Palm had the Boilermakers finishing third in the Big Ten West, but that's as high as anyone was willing to go. I had them finishing sixth! They've defied expectations and look to do so again in a game few are giving them a chance of winning.
Follow along with all the action between Michigan and Purdue with our Big Ten Championship Game live blog.
How to watch Michigan vs. Purdue live
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium -- Indianapolis
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Michigan vs. Purdue: Need to know
The West has never won the Big Ten championship: The Big Ten went to a divisional format for the 2011 season, but the first three years the divisions weren't based on geography. Who could forget the mighty Legends and Leaders? Well, the Big Ten tried to, quickly. The league split geographically ahead of the 2014 season in time for the College Football Playoff, and this game has been dominated by the East ever since. It is 8-0 in the game and has had four different teams win it at least once (Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State). The average margin of victory for the East in the first eight meetings has been 20 points per game, with the biggest margin being Ohio State's 59-0 win over Wisconsin in 2014. The closest game was Michigan State's 16-13 win over Iowa in 2015. Only three of the eight games have been decided by one score, and all came in the three season span from 2015 to 2017.
Michigan could become the third team to repeat as title game champs: While the West has never won the game, Wisconsin did win the first two Big Ten Championships as members of the Leaders Division (seriously what were we doing?). From 2013 to 2016 there was a different winner each season, though Michigan State won in 2013 and 2015. Ohio State then reeled off four straight wins from 2017 to 2020 before Michigan interrupted its dominance last year. Now Michigan hopes to win it's second consecutive title and kick off a dominant run of its own.
Purdue's last Big Ten title was in 2000: To put that into perspective, Purdue's starting quarterback in the 2000 season was a young man named Drew Brees. Since playing for the Boilermakers, Brees went on to have a 20-year NFL career in which he won a Super Bowl and then retired two years ago. So, yeah, it's been a long time. What's been even longer is the amount of time since Purdue's last outright Big Ten title. The 2000 title was split with Northwestern and Michigan (there was no championship game then). The Boilermakers last outright title came in the 1929 season when Drew Brees was a freshman (kidding), though it has won split titles in 1931, 1932, 1943, 1952, and 1967. Still, split or outright, winning the Big Ten isn't something Purdue has made a habit of.
Michigan vs. Purdue prediction, picks
I don't give Purdue much of a chance of winning this game, but I don't think the Boilermakers are pushovers. This is a team that could give the Wolverines some problems offensively, but the concern is how many stops will the Purdue defense get? It's a solid unit, but not one that matches up well with the Wolverines. Considering that, as well as the fact this game will be played indoors and on turf, I can see more points being scored than anticipated. Because of this, I like the over more than anything. Prediction: Over 52
Which college football picks can you make with confidence during Championship Week, and which big favorites will get a scare? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past six-plus seasons -- and find out.