Saturday, August 30, 2008

Northwestern Football Mini-Preview 2008

I didn't get excited about going to home college football games until after I had arrived at school last year. I got the field over an hour before the game and sat in the front two rows of the student section with new friends, and had one of the most important experiences of my year, even in losing to Michigan 28-16. I became a die-hard Wildcat fan that afternoon, and it carried through the entire season as I watched every game in the front rows or on television, even road tripping to Champagne, Illinois to watch our season-ending rivalry game with the Illini.

Yesterday, the Northwestern University Wildcats' 2008 football campaign opened with a win over Syracuse University. Senior running back Tyrell Sutton got his season off to a great start, hopefully erasing memory of an injury-ridden 2007 season, and the defense started well, even getting a safety to open our scoring. The first quarter didn't go so well, but we went into the half in the lead and never looked back. We depend on a senior offensive trio of Quarterback CJ Bacher, wideout Ross Lane, and Sutton to light up the scoreboard. Our defense last year was incredibly leaky, bleeding yards and big plays all over the place, and hopefully will hold better this year with a new defensive coordinator.

Here's our schedule for the rest of the season (home games in bold):

at Duke University
Southern Illinois
at Iowa
Michigan St.
Purdue (Homecoming)
at Indiana
at Minnesota
Ohio State
at Michigan

Looking at that schedule, the Wildcats need to win their first four games. We've gotten ourselves a lucky schedule once again, avoiding Penn State and Wisconsin. If results are the same as last year, we take wins at home against Michigan St., and away at Indiana and Minnesota. If that hold true, we end at 7-5 and are bowl eligible, but that's not what could happen in the best case scenario. We should have beaten Iowa at home last year, and they haven't shown too many signs of being better this year, and we definitely should have beaten Purdue away as well. It isn't likely, but we could head into Columbus, OH with a 9-0 record. In the absolute best case, we'd steal a game from the Wolverines, take our rivalry game with Illinois, and have an 11-1 record through the Big Ten season. Will that happen? Probably not. We'll probably lose at Iowa and either Indiana or Minnesota, and home against Ohio State. Besides that, I think we've got a pretty good chance in every home game, and could steal a win from Iowa or Michigan. All in all, I'd say we go 8-4 and run off to a bowl game. I know I'd be making the road trip wherever we'd be headed, and so would a ton of my friends.

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