Prediction Saturday – Purdue

 

cakes

The ‘Cats take on Purdue tonight in a cold one. Here are the Warriors’ picks for the game!

 

TRENT

The ‘Cats have won three straight in OT. We’re ranked in the top 25. It’s crazy to believe we’re here now after a 2-3 start to the season.

Purdue is not bad at all. They’re a reinvigorated team under new head coach Jeff Brohm, who has injected creativity and breathed life into the Boilermakers’ offense. This will not be a cakewalk by any means – I’m expecting a tight and low scoring game tonight.

Game Score:

‘Cats 17 – Purdue 14

Player to Watch:

Charlie Kuhbander. It’s going to be around 30 degrees with a slight potential for some rain or snow. Will he have to make a big kick in the elements?

Warrior to Watch:

Grayhack – winter is coming.

Other Game to Watch:

Notre Dame @ Miami. Both of these teams are still in the playoff hunt, but a loss would likely eliminate ND. It’s all about the U.

 

ROCHE

I ran into a grizzly in the forest today.

I tried to play dead, but instead I played dad and now the bear can ride a bike.

‘Cats win (by 14)

 

ZVON

‘Cats by 21

 

HACK

Cats by 21

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Prediction Saturday – Iowa

Kain Colter, Micah Hyde

Let’s beat Io_a. Go ‘Cats!

 

ROCHE

Game Overview:

Hey. Hey baby. Hey what? Go Wildcats!

Game Score:

#B1GCats 17 – Hawkeyes 14

Player to Watch:

The O-Line needs to give Bigsby time and need to give JJTBC some room.

Warrior to Watch:

Bag – sources tell us he’s brining a large entourage to the West Lot.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Michigan – Penn State. Can both teams lose???

 

ZVON

Game Overview:

NU and Iowa go together like Lamb and Tuna Fish. They’re always a classic game.  Flashback to 2009 when I attended the game at Iowa and NU stunned a then ranked #4 Iowa. This game seems to be the utter opposite. I think we will be competitive but lose.

Game Score:

Iowa 24, Cats 13

Player to Watch:

JJTBC – how much space will the guy get? This will determine if we win or not.

Warrior to Watch:

Grayhack – how much “paia” will he eat?

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Notre Dame – USC. Because it’s a big game.

 

PAUL

Game Overview:

Cats get a breakout game this week as Mick McCall likely saves his job for another year with his mediocre performance. I think this will be a pretty balanced game on the ground and through the air. JJ will bump up the all time rushing record by another 150 yards while Thorson will see some success through the air with the Iowa secondary breaking down.

Looking for a 1 score lead heading into half time while the defense does a decent job of limiting Iowa’s run game. Also feeling a defensive TD for NU in this game.

Game Score:

‘Cats 35-23

Player to Watch:

Thorson – Going to the air this week. Needs to hit his receivers.

Warrior to Watch:

Hack – I have a feeling this is the tailgate where he reaches peak performance.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Upset in South Bend. USC beats ND by a TD.

 

HACK

Game Overview:

NU Defense vs Iowa Offense: 

I don’t think Iowa is good up front on offense or at QB. The Cats front seven has been pretty good against the run. Advantage Cats 

NU Offense vs Iowa Defense:

Clayton needs to be good Clayton and the Cats should roll. Advantage Cats

Special Teams:

Cats outside of the kicker have sucked. Hunter the Punter prove me wrong. Advantage Iowa

Coaching:

Iowa has an offensive identity and Northwestern doesn’t that starts with the man at the top. Advantage Iowa

Game Score:

‘Cats 27 – Iowa 14

Player to Watch:

Riley Lees – I saw flashes against Maryland. Hope he can build on that.

Opponent to Watch:

Josey Jewell – Overrated or Extremely Overated?

Warrior to Watch:

Honorary Warrior – Mike Parrott – Making paia at a tailgate, that’s some next level shit.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Michigan @ Penn State – Who ya got?

 

TRENT

The ‘Cats beat Maryland last week – the first time that the two teams had ever met. This means that we now own the lifetime series against the Terps at 1-0. May not seem like a big deal, but then you look at the ‘Cats series records against all Big Ten teams over the course of history. The only other Big Ten team we have a winning record against is Indiana at 47-34-1. Beyond that, the only team we’re remotely close to is Illinois, against whom we’re 50-55-1, meaning we’d need to win the next five games to even it up. Just goes to show how futile the ‘Cats were for the majority of their football existence.

Game Overview:

Iowa versus Penn State was my favorite college football game of the year so far – it had some great moments, went back and forth, and the best players rose to the occasion when it mattered most. That includes Saquon Barkley, but also Iowa’s RB Wadley, who has haunted the ‘Cats over the past few years. Iowa went toe-to-toe against PSU in that game – their defense is legit and they play their usual brand of ground and pound offense to shorten games. Think a similar prototype to Wisconsin but just worse. I see Iowa running all over us in this one, and then burning us with some play action passing. The key will be stopping the run and getting some pressure on the QB – the ‘Cats D line did a great job last week getting pressure on Maryland when they dropped back to pass.

I see this as a low scoring game – the over/under is 47 so would throw some sheckles on the under for sure. The ‘Cats kick a FG in the 3rd to take the lead, but Iowa puts together a long drive in the 4th to pull out a W at Ryan Field.

Game Score:

‘Cats 10 – Iowa 14. We’re a basketball school anyhow.

Player to Watch:

Justin Jackson had a great game last week – tearing the Terps apart and becoming the all-time leading rusher at NU. How will he fare against a tough Iowa front?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger Rankin has family in town. Will they bring us some luck?

Other Game(s) to Watch:

My sister goes to USC and will be attending the Notre Dame game. Huge one for both teams to keep their Playoff hopes alive. Fight on.

Michigan @ Penn State should also be interesting. In the NFL, I’m curious to see how Bears-Panthers plays out.

 

ROGER

The ‘Cats are back at it. After a win at Maryland last week, we’re still staring mediocrity in the face.

I’m not sure when we last played a meaningful game deep into October. This year is no different. If you care about the Pinstripe, Popeye’s, Poinsettia or Penis Bowls, then sure…. this game is meaningful But, I don’t (no offense to the Pinstripe Bowl as that provided fantastic entertainment last year).

There’s really no difference in my mind between the ‘Cats going 5-1 or 6-0 down the stretch and going 3-3. We got beat soundly by the two quality teams on our schedule and we don’t play any top tier teams for the rest of the year. So, we’re battling to be Kings of the Mediocre…. as we’ve done for 10 years now.

On to the game….

Game Overview:

Iowa is trying to avoid free fall here. Coming off 2 straight losses and a bye week (the B1G loves pitting NU against opponents coming off bye weeks), will they be able to rebound? I think Iowa’s last second loss to Penn State was demoralizing and I also think they aren’t that good. So, this could make for an interesting game.

Iowa likes to run the ball. Ferentz is Fitz 2.0. He’s boring as hell and his teams are usually tremendously average. Thankfully, our run defense is actually pretty stout. We held the ground games of Wisconsin and Penn State in check, so I’m not sure why we can’t do that here. Look for Iowa to be forced into more of an aerial attack than they’d like (also read: look for some stupid turnovers).

While I think we can have some success defensively, don’t for a second think that our offense will be half as productive as it was last week. Iowa’s defense is not Maryland’s…. don’t you worry about that. I fully expect our O line to be back to their usual ways. 15-20 QB hurries, 6-8 sacks of Thorson and 7+ negative running plays by JJTBC.

If you’re sensing a trend here, well….. so am I. This game could be an ugly affair resembling the infamous MOON game from several years ago.

All in all, I actually think the ‘Cats will be able to pull this one out thanks to some clutch kicking from Chuck-E Kuhbander. After his woeful short miss to start off his career, he has been really solid. He appears to have quite a leg too, so it would be nice if Fitz and Mick used that on 45 – 50 yard field goals rather than running “speed” options to the right for 4 yard losses on 4th and 2.

I don’t know why I think they will do that, but for some reason I’m feeling optimistic.

Game Score:

NU 20 Iowa 17

Player/Unit to Watch:

The O Line… They looked better against Maryland. But, so has every O line Maryland has played this year.

Warrior to Watch:

Rus. Why not? We’ll have a smaller crew than usual this week, but Rus will be there! Also, the Rankin clan will be in attendance. Fun times to be had by all.

Other Game to Watch:

USC @ Notre Dame – USC is a fringe contender at best at this point (though so is ND). They have been thoroughly underwhelming up to this point as has become standard for the past decade. That said, they have a chance to notch an impressive road win against a top caliber team and put themselves right back into the conversation. Sadly (and I only say “sadly” because they are playing Notre Dame) I expect them to lose… convincingly. Sam Darnold may be best served riding pine for the rest of the year if they do lose because his draft stock will continue to take a hit if he keeps throwing the ball to the wrong team. He has been great at that thus far. He’s tied with our boy Clayton Thorson for 4th most picks thrown in the country (9 a piece).

Prediction Friday – Homecoming Edition

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Penn State

The ‘Cats take on #4 Penn State for Homecoming on Saturday, and the West Lot will be hopping. Northwestern’s got an uphill battle in the game, but at least we’ll enjoy each other’s company. Here are the Warriors’ picks for Homecoming.

 

ADAY

It’s time for the return of the gif predictions – Blair Waldorf edition.

Tailgate + Game Summary:

When its 8AM and its still only the Warriors at the tailgate:

When you start getting texts from people you haven’t talked to in 4 years asking where the tailgate is at:

After an awkward conversation with someone I had a class with once freshman year:

When its time to go into the stadium, mostly to get Buffalo Joes:

Watching our offense go 3 and out on our first possession:

After PSU scores, again:

Me looking up at the booth reacting to Mick’s play calling:

Me returning to the Buff Joes window for the 3rd time:

Checking twitter to see if anyone is roasting Mick:

After the game is over, and I get home and realize the season is over:

Game Score:

Penn State 38 – NU 10

Player to Watch:

This will be the O-Line until further notice.

Warrior to Watch:

I’m gonna go Trent. I think he might get hype for this one.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Cubs – Lester is bound to explode in the 1st.

 

TRENT

Pat Fitzgerald is 4-0 head-to-head against James Franklin, going back to Franklin’s Vanderbilt days. Let’s see if Fitz and the ‘Cats can keep the streak alive as Franklin and the #4 ranked Nittany Lions crash Northwestern’s Homecoming in Evanston this weekend.

Penn State has looked impressive to-date, with a high octane offense, a stifling defense, and NFL talent all over the field. They absolutely have the feel of a title contender this year. Each team that is vying for the Playoff (excluding Alabama) has one game each year where they need some luck to play in their favor in order to win a close game on the road. Penn State already survived their scare at Iowa, coming back in an epic game to win with a walk off TD pass. That’s the kind of play that a championship caliber team needs to make in order to stay in the mix – their season already has a very special feel to it, although it’s still early and they haven’t yet played Michigan or OSU.

Saquon Barkley may be the best running back I’ve ever seen. He excels at everything – with his mix of speed, power and vision, he certainly has more tools than any running back I’ve watched. The ‘Cats have issues tackling as it is, and I see Barkley breaking a ton of tackles on Saturday.

At 2-2, the ‘Cats are in a tough spot just four games into the season. We essentially would need Wisconsin to lose three games to have a realistic chance at the B1G West title. It’s probably not in the cards at this point, so really what we’re playing for is to score a big upset and ruin someone’s season. We’ve got a great opportunity to do that this weekend. While on paper Penn State should roll us, I keep coming back to Fitz’s 4-0 record and tend to think there’s something intangible there which will play in our favor.

Game Summary:

Given that Franklin’s never lost to Fitz, he’s going to come out guns blazing. He’s had this game circled on his calendar, and being the huge douche that he is, will try and run up the score here if he can. James Franklin literally iced a kicker in the fourth quarter of a game his team was winning 56-0 earlier this year. That extreme level of hubris is going to backfire at some point, and I’m betting it happens this weekend.

I think Fitz and Hankwitz will be keying in on the run for this game – working to shut down Barkley and making McSorley move the ball through the air. McSorley has some moxie, and one of the best celebrations in college football, but he’s not an extremely accurate passer and likes to take chances. I see the ‘Cats picking McSorley off twice, with one of those turnovers going the other way for a TD. It will be critical for the ‘Cats to finish drives in this game – last week against Wisconsin they squandered too many opportunities, getting only 10 points in the first half off of four turnovers.

I like Fitz to have the team fired up for this one and ready to play. The ‘Cats pull out a squeaker with a game winning FG in OT, ruin Penn State’s season, and the Warriors host the celebration after-party in the West Lot.

Game Score:

‘Cats 24 – Penn State 21

Player to Watch:

Justin Jackson and Jeremy Larkin. Last week JJ did not look like the best RB on the team, as freshman Jeremy Larkin looked like a young LeVeon Bell with great patience running the ball. Who will get the bulk of the load this week? Will they split time?

Warrior to Watch:

Doc Roche. Deep in the heart of Penn State country, we know he’ll still be showing off his Purple Pride on Saturday.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Wisconsin @ Nebraska. Can Wisco keep to their winning ways in Lincoln?

Cubs @ Nationals. A few hours after the ‘Cats finish up, the Cubs take on the Nationals in Washington. TBD if the Warriors will make it back to Wrigleyville in time to catch the game and take some cuts at Sluggers.

 

ROGER

Fitz has never lost to Franklin.

This is arguably the worst team Fitz has ever had in a matchup with Franklin.

This is definitely the best team Franklin has had in a matchup with Fitz.

Game Summary:

If Mick doesn’t roll the pocket and/or really increase the volume of quick throws, this will be the most embarrassing offensive line performance you’ve ever seen. Franklin is a dick, but he’s also not a complete idiot and he’s cutthroat. He knows our line has problems. He’ll bring some exotic blitzes and we better not expect to have any time.

I don’t think Mick will actually do what I mentioned, so I genuinely believed that Thorson will be sacked 15 times in this game. We were sacked 10 times last week. Franklin surely saw the tape.

On defense, we looked better last week, but there’s absolutely zero chance we’ll shut down Barkley. He’s the front runner for the Heisman at the moment and he’s the real deal. Look for 200 yards out of him and an absolute field day for PSU with the vertical attack.

Game Score:

PSU: 45 NU: 10

Player to Watch:

RB du jour, Jeremy Larkin. JJ has been awesome for the ‘Cats throughout his entire career. He has dealt with lousy lines and still churned out almost record numbers. Unfortunately, I think the punishing has taken its toll on him. I think Larkin is the better back at this point and I expect that we’ll continue to see more and more of him as the season progresses and less and less of JJ.

Warrior to Watch:

Paul. He invited the entire class of 2012 to the tailgate. Nice move, Paul!.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

Meh… the slate of college football games sucks yet again. This seems to be a trend this season. Though, that’s to be expected when it doesn’t look like anyone has a chance of beating Alabama or Clemson.

We’ll go with the afternoon affair (Game 2) of the Cubs @ Nationals. Jon Lester, MLB’s worst pitcher in the 2nd half of the season, will be taking the mound for the Cubs. Why? Because he still has 3 years left on his contract and nobody has the balls to call a spade a spade and piss him off. Let’s hope the Cubs win Game 1 because Jon will be looking to give up 9 or more runs in the first inning for the 4th time in 4 months. I’m not even sure if anyone gives up 9 runs in the first inning in Williamsport.

 

ZVON

Game Summary:

Joe knew. But PSU will also know how to dominate us.

Game Score:

PSU: 41 NU: 13

Player to Watch:

Clayton Thorson the Ball Passer.  Will he just get brutally dominated all game and worry about trading his banana for a snack pack aka will he be a big part of a lot of sack lunches? Signs point to yes.

Warrior to Watch:

Paul – dude invited the entire Northwestern population. Sad!

Other Game(s) to Watch:

I’m going to go with Bags’ 2nd game of Bags.  He will be nice and warmed up and I think he will pull out the W with whomever his partner is, 21-15.

 

PAUL

Why NU scheduled this game for homecoming is unknown to me. Super early in the season, 11am game, #4 team in the nation that will travel well. Iowa would’ve been better. It’s just annoying. BUT its homecoming so it’s gonna be a grand old time. Maybe even Hack will rush the field painted purple and completely skip his cousin’s wedding?

Game Summary:

NU puts up a decent offensive effort, but can’t stop Saquon who puts up 300 yards on the ground.

Game Score:

‘Cats 14 – Penn State 31

Player to Watch:

Saquon Barkley – if we don’t put up a response to this beast we are done.

Warrior to Watch:

Me. Not sure I’m ready to deal with 70 people from the 5th year reunion. Need to keep the positive vibes going and not freak out.

Other Game(s) to Watch:

MSU @ Michigan. Battle for the mitt.

 

DOC ROCHE

I bought shoes from a drug dealer earlier.

I’m not sure what he laced them with, but I’ve been tripping all day.

Game Summary:

High scoring affair dazzles in Evanston. Can the #B1GCats pull off the upset and upset everybody where I live and work?

Game Score:

‘Cats 41 – Penn State 31

Player to Watch:

Can our front seven make Saquon Barkley look human?

Warrior to Watch:

It’s me, you guys. I’ll be watching with Penn State fans. How drunk will I be by halftime? Sources say delightfully drunk

Other Game(s) to Watch:

WVU @ TCU in a battle of two teams who are apparently are in the Big 12?

Prediction Friday – Wisconsin

northwestern-wisconsin

The ‘Cats are back in action after a bye week, with a huge game against the Badgers up in Madison. A trio of West Lot Warriors are making the trek up to Madtown and trying to bring back that W.

Will they be successful? Only one Warrior thinks so. On to the picks!

 

HACK

Game Summary:

6:30: Wake Up

6:45 Shower

7 Fireball

7:15 Fireball round 2 and Eggs

7:25 Shotgun beers

7:27 Paul pukes, but rallies

7:30 Power hour

8:30 Someone yells “Let the boys play!”, but little do they know the boys have been playing for two damn hours

8:37 White and Purple by Chet Haze is played

8:40 McGuire makes Pancakes

8:45 Meet Mcguire’s girlfriend

8:54 Mo is in the back singing the anthem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3xfSSrUaXk

9:00 Head to the Frat tailgate

9:07 McGuire’s girlfriend decides that she likes us

9:30 Z Von embarrasses a college kid in a shotgun off

9:32 Kyle rolls her eyes at Z Von

9:37 Hack attempts to open a beer with his forehead and fails. Gets laughed at by 19 year old girls

9:43 Someone asks Sample why he’s wearing a Washington jersey

9:45 Yocom arrives with Fire

9:47 Parrott arrives gives Purple drink to all

9:50 Anna becomes an American with her first beer bong

9:53 Packer’s fan talks shit to Mcguire assuming he is Mike Glennon

9:55 Sample superman keg stand

9:56 Sample ends his superman keg stand -86 seconds later

9:57 Yocom loudly screams in his Yocom voice, most likely is blacked out

10:03 Paul pukes again, rallies then pukes a third time

10:09 Z wins a fraticide second for Hack Yocom fails to finish

10:13 See Amery Stafford, Lament Trent not being there

10:15 Leave the fraternity, find Paul in some bushes. He rallies

10:20 Arrive at bars by the stadium

10:23 Fire buys a round of Fireball

10:25 Wisconsin fan attempts to talk shit, is distracted by cheese

10:27 The Bears still suck is played in the bar. Bears fans join in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avRHH9uAL4Q

10:31 Milwaukee Brewers spotted in attendance. They might have a game that day, but it doesn’t matter because their season is OVA

10:36 Blacked out Sample steals a small child’s balloon

10:38 Mcguire’s girlfriend decides she was wrong about liking us

10:43 A blacked out Pfeffer facetimes the group, what is said only God knows…

10:50 Get to the Seats

10:54 Hack takes off shirt to rally the boys

10:55 Usher tells hack to calm down

10:56 Paul is asleep in the stands and may have wet himself

11 Kickoff- Hello Darkness My old Friend

Game Score:

Badgers 42 – Cats 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

Justin Jackson – Is he healthy?

Warrior to Watch:

Paul: Is this real life or is this fantasy? Caught in a landslide. No escape from reality.

Other Game to Watch:

Colts vs Seahawks: Jk why is this the Sunday night game? Clemson vs Va Tech – Is VT for real?

 

TRENT

When I was a young whippersnapper playing tennis and cruising the USTA U-14 Midwest circuit, I would enter a tournament, maybe win a couple rounds and then inevitably run into a higher seeded opponent who I knew was going to kick my ass. At that point, I would savor all the time I could between my last match and the next where I knew I would go down. I’d go out for long lunch runs, let other opponents take precedence ahead of me to play their matches, basically anything it took to delay the next match. I was able to hold onto that winning feeling for only so long before my name finally got called and I had to go out, shake my opponent’s hand, and then get shit on two ways from Sunday.

I savored that time between matches, after a win, and that’s exactly how I’ve felt with the ‘Cats the past two weeks. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the bye week, and being able to hold onto that winning feeling that carried over from Bowling Green for an extra seven days. It was pretty nice waking up last Saturday not having to be stressed about the day of college football, knowing the ‘Cats had nothing at stake and being able to just sit back and enjoy the other games. Well, that all comes to an end this week as we’re back in action up in Madison. I’m not guaranteeing we’ll lose but let’s just say this feels like when I ran into that top seeded player in a tournament and dreaded the moment I had to take the court.

Game Summary:

I thought Wisconsin would have a down year in 2017, but they are proving me wrong. They look every bit as good as last year, and maybe even better with their improved play at QB. Granted, they haven’t played much of anyone yet. The ‘Cats always seem to have something over Wisconsin – we used to alternate winning at home every year, a streak that got broken when the Badgers shellacked us at Ryan Field in 2016.

As you may be able to tell from the intro, I’m not optimistic about our chances this week. Wisconsin just seems better than us at every phase of the game. I do think our D is better against the run than the pass, but Wisconsin, typically a run-heavy team, is doing both well. QB Alex Hornibrook has been beyond efficient this year, completing 70% of his passes and currently ranked among the top 15 in the nation in QBR.

My fear in this game is that we’ll try and give the ball to JJ early, have him get stuffed a couple times, and then totally abandon the running game. I think that’s a mistake that Mick McCall made against Duke, and I bet it happens again here. Jackson is our best player, and you have to keep trying to give him the ball to have some balance on offense. Watching Penn State play Iowa last week, I was impressed at how the Nittany Lions made a concerted effort to get Saquon Barkley the ball at all times. They almost used short little pass plays as pseudo-runs, with McSorley dumping it off to Barkley, giving him a chance to operate in space and giving the defense different looks. Would love to see the ‘Cats employ this tactic.

Alas I see the ‘Cats getting down early, abandoning the run for the pass, and then Wisco forcing a few turnovers to make this a laugher by the end. Hope I’m wrong.

Game Score:

Wisco 33 – Cats 13

Player/Unit to Watch:

Can I say our whole defense? I’m concerned about Wisco running all over us, and then play action pass-ing all over us.

Warrior to Watch:

Paul, Hack and Zvon are all making the trek up to Madison to enjoy some cheese curds at Chasers, followed by some Spotted Cow at the KK.

Let’s hope it goes better than the last time the Warriors visited the area.

Other Game to Watch:

Clemson at VT. I love the Hokies this year and wouldn’t be shocked if they pulled the upset here at home.

 

ROGER

I have very little confidence that we will make the game remotely competitive this week. We’ve had a good amount of success against Wisconsin for the better part of two decades now, but that has largely been driven by their conservative style and our ability to compete at the point of attack on both lines.

Could this game be close? Sure. Any given Saturday. But you can’t offer up a legitimate reason as to why it should be other than “any given Saturday“.

We are very, very, very bad on both lines. Wisconsin’s offensive line is one of the best in the country. They’ll average at least 6 yards per carry in this game. Our offensive line is one of the worst in Power 5 football. We’ll average less than 3 yards per carry. Clayton will have to play like John Elway to keep this remotely competitive.

Enough said. On to the summary.

Game Summary:

We’ll win the toss and defer to the second half. Because, why the hell not? Fitz has done that 87 times as a head coach (I just made that number up, but it sounds about right). Wisconsin will return the kick to about the 25. They’ll run 6 straight running plays for a total of 50 yards taking it down to our 25. Then, finally, a play action pass for a TD to exploit the fact that we have to stack the box to have any prayer of stopping them on the ground. It’s a good thing we don’t have 17 injured corners, right? Yea… this will be a catastrophic problem all day. Run to set up the pass against a depleted secondary.

7-0 Badgers.

We’ll run a jet sweep on our first offensive play of the game. We’ve done that 3 straight games on our first offensive snap. It has worked, for the most part, and it certainly won’t occur to Mickey that I know that, you know that and the Wisconsin Badgers know that. 5 yard loss. 3 and out.

Punt. 6 runs. TD.

14-0 Badgers.

So on and so on…..

Game Score:

Badgers 41 – Cats 10

Player/Unit to Watch:

Both lines. Can they win at the point of the attack 25% of the time?

Warrior to Watch:

Gotta be the group making the trip: Paul, Hack and Zvon. The Dane County public officials are not nice to visiting fans. How will the group fare? We didn’t fare well (on the field or the streets) in 2013.

Other Game to Watch:

Maryland @ Minnesota. Sadly, Maryland is on to their third string QB due to some unfortunate season ending injuries. What looked like a promising campaign after a Texas ass kicking is now looking not so promising. Can they right the ship and score some points this week? They looked like hell against UCF last week.

NFL Game to Watch:

Jags @ Jets. The Jags are a road favorite this week. Why is that significant? They haven’t been a road favorite in 6 years. 6 years!!! That’s insane. The defense is legit. The offense is fine minus the QB. That’s generally a problem in the NFL. Will Bortles stay out of his own way and allow the team to fulfill Vegas’s expectations? I think so.

 

PAUL

Game Summary:

This one ain’t gonna be pretty. Plane and simple Wisco has a much better team than we xpected. Our D-line isn’t going to stand a chance tomorrow and it’s going to come down to the defense making some HUGE game changing plays and force some turnovers if they want to here the cheers of the NU crowd at Camp Randall. NU will get a couple FGs in the 1H and a garbage time TD, but this game is gonna be a brutal one to sit thru.

Game Score:

Badgers 41 – Cats 13

Player/Unit to Watch:

Hunter Niswander. Enough said.

Warrior to Watch:

The entire crew of 18 going up, but specifically Zvon. His gf is a badger and will be in attendance. How will he react if things get out of hand? Will the house divided come out united?!

Other Game to Watch:

Nebraska @ Illinois. Key Friday matchup. Storied program like Nebraska playing on a Friday is absurd. Will the B1G finally get the picture that Friday games are stoopid?! Any readers looking to catch the game can get in the door for <$10.

 

ZVON

Game Summary:

Could get ugly.  Will get ugly.  ‘Cats muster a first half TD to somehow stay “close” but we still are down 20-7 at the break. Wisco scores a couple more in half two.  They have run up the score on us in the past but I think it will be somewhat reasonable (they won’t go for 50…).

Game Score:

Badgers 37 – Cats 10

Player/Unit to Watch:

Offensive Line.  Can we move the ball at all?

Warrior to Watch:

It’s Hack…will his red hair make Wisco fans confuse him for one of their own?  We’ll see.  Let’s just hope he keeps his shirt on as we’ve seen him disrobe in colder temps.

Other Game to Watch:

Northwestern vs. Wisconsin.  There is no other game besides this one in the eyes of Coach Fitz.  One game at a time.

 

DOC ROCHE

These two guys got really mad at me yesterday after I referred to them as “hipsters.”

I guess the term they prefer is “conjoined twins.”

Game Summary:

I dunno you guys. I’m daring to be different here. #B1GCats pull one out of nowhere after somehow staying close all game

Game Score:

#B1GCats 24 – Badgers 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

D-Line. Pressure in the backfield plz

Warrior to Watch:

Paul, Hack, and Z. Looking forward to the snapchats, you guys.

Other Game to Watch:

Penn State – Indiana. Will there be a let down game after pulling one out in Iowa City?

Thanks, and have a great day

 

 

ADAY

numberFire has BGSU ranked 126 out of 129… we still suck guys: https://www.numberfire.com/ncaaf/teams/power-rankings

’nuff said

Prediction Saturday – Duke

Justin+Jackson+Northwestern+v+Duke+nX0qWqIm3bGl

The ‘Cats are 1-0, with a trip down to Durham on the docket for week two. Most of the Warriors think this will be a close one, and all but one agree on the final outcome. Here are the Warriors’ picks for NU-Duke.

 

ROGER

Last week was interesting, though not altogether unexpected for a week 1 game.

Positive thinking would have me believe that the 2nd half performance is more true to form for the ‘Cats. Thorson looked like the real deal, our receiving corps made plays and our defense stiffened up when necessary. That said, there were still major issues on both lines. We never did open up any lanes for JJ against a team that had one of the worst rushing defenses in FBS last year. We also rarely (if ever) pressured the Nevada QB. That has to change this week if we want to win. Duke may not be Alabama, but I have to imagine they are going to be better than Nevada this year.

Game Prediction:

Let’s start on the offensive side of the ball. Is Fitz going to be aggressive? Is McCall going to call plays rationally? If yes to both of those, then I would expect a HEAVY aerial assault early in this game with the occasional wide running play to neutralize the inside blocking issues we’re still sorting out. Duke’s defense is young. They don’t have the same caliber of player on the perimeter that they have had in prior years (think 2015) and we have a QB who can clearly sling it.

Sadly, Fitz and McCall rarely do what we want them to do early in games. So, I expect plenty of inside running plays on first and second down to put us in precarious third down spots. If that plays out, we’re going to need to be on our game defensively to not put ourselves in the same hole we did last week.

On defense, the ‘Cats need to be better than they were last week. Plain and simple. Duke’s offense may be a bit more predictable than Nevada, but they have better players. Duke’s QB, Daniel Jones, is certainly respectable. He’s poised for a bit of a breakout year. He’ll throw the ball downfield, but he’s also mobile and more than willing to run away from trouble. It’s absolutely imperative that we establish some pressure on the ends and keep him contained in the pocket. If we can do that, our linebackers will need to look like they are actually on the field this week so Danny Boy doesn’t go scampering for first downs left and right.

How is the game going to play out? Well, I think you’re going to see the conservative ‘Cats for the first quarter and a half. We’ll struggle to sustain drives due to poor play calling on first and second down. I fully expect that to put is in a hole. I’m thinking we’ll be down something like 10-0 or 14-3 in the middle of the second quarter when Fitz realizes once and for all what he’s working with: an NFL caliber QB and one of the best backs in space the program has ever had. The bullshit will end. The offense will light it up. The ‘Cats will take the lead just before the half and it will be off to the races in the 2nd half.

Game Score:

‘Cats 38 – Duke 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

The D ends. Can we put some pressure on Daniel Jones? Can we at least contain him to the pocket? I’m not so sure. I wasn’t pleased with what I saw last week, but who knows. This unit is going to be key here.

Warrior to Watch:

Gotta be Andy Day again, right? With an early kickoff, how is Andy going to fare now that he’s back on the west coast? 9am football is certainly not ideal, but I bet the Jager will be flowing.

Other Game to Watch:

Lots of good football this weekend. OU @ OSU would be the obvious choice here, but I think both of those teams are pretenders. So, I’m going to go with Auburn @ Clemson. I think both of those teams are contenders (even with Clemson’s loss of Watson). Should be a dandy.

 

HACK

After missing last weeks predictions due to a Bachelor party, I’m back. With only one regrettable tweet at the NU football account, (apologies to Ben Skowronek, who actually played well) I’d say I had a similar beginning to the season as the Cats.

Game Prediction:

They can’t stop us, the question is can we stop them. I’d say a strong maybe because we have the best player on the field in our secondary, Moe Asamani(lol jk but what a story). Justin Jackson and clayton combine for 600 yards of O in this one as the Cats roll baby.

Game Score:

‘Cats 45 – Duke 35

Player/Unit To Watch:

O Line, are they men or merely large boys?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger, will he be the drunkest person in the bar? Signs point to yes…

Other Game to Watch:

OU @ OSU

 

ZVON

This will be a big game, going to need to win.  That’s all.  If you wanna be the best, you don’t lose to the worst.

Game Prediction:

Defense suspect, offense solid.  Thorson runs for one, throws one, hands off for one.  I’m not convinced we’ll score much more.  It will be a close one.

Game Score:

‘Cats 27 – Duke 21

Player/Unit to Watch:

Justin Jackson the ball carrier.  Guy will get some yards.  One TD on a long one – 50+ yards.

Warrior to Watch:

Roger – he’s Roger.  Missed game one in person so he’ll need to make up for the beers lost.

Other Game to Watch:

OU @ OSU – why not?

Warrior of the Week:

Andy Day.  He made the trip out for the last game and did a lot of the setup so you all could enjoy Rose.  Big round o’ applause!

 

DOC ROCHE

I had a nightmare last night that I was abducted by a gang of mimes.

They did unspeakable things to me.

Game Prediction:

While I think the #B1GCats are much better than Duke, I think this game will be close. I think Bigsby will have another statistically great game, but It’ll come down to the fourth quarter.

Game Score:

#B1GCats 28 – Duke 24

Player/Unit to Watch:

JFC can the D-line get any pressure?

Warrior to Watch:

Roger is angry at how poorly the USMNT have played in the CONCACAF qualifying. Will he try to drown his anger in alcohol. Yes. Yes he will

Other Game to Watch:

Penn State – Pitt. Ain’t no way PSU is gonna let Pitt embarrass them this year. Especially not in State College. Got a bunch of friends going to this game. Last thing I want is for PSU to have a humbling loss before they play the #B1GCats.

 

ADAY

Well guys, I turns out the pessimist in me was pretty spot on last week. Looks like the pessimistic predictions shall continue.

Game Prediction:

Dook has success downfield against our depleted secondary as we continue to fail to pressure the QB. Our O-Line prevents our run game from living up to the hype yet again, and while we do score, we don’t score enough. Also our lack of ability to make (or even attempt at this point) 30-40 yard field goals is the deciding factor. It will be a little higher scoring, but all in all it will feel a lot like this game.

Game Score:

Dook 24 – NU 20 (Missed XP)

 Player/Unit to Watch:

Marcus McShepard or whoever plays in his place. He got toasted on a few plays by Nevadas wideouts. Will this be a trend?

Warrior to Watch:

I’m gonna say Roger here. If things start spiraling for the ‘Cats this week, his consumption rates are soon to follow.

Other Game to Watch:

OSU vs Oklahoma – I’m curious to see if OSU is actually for real.

 

PAUL

We looked pretty mediocre last week.
As I’m still in Spain going to keep this short and sweet.
Game Overview:
Need the run game to come thru.
Game Score:
NU squeaks one out 23-21.
Warrior to Watch:
Trent is the warrior to watch this week. What will he come up with after bringing the Dons last week??
TRENT

Another year, another game against Duke. Can we find a more interesting non-con opponent? At least we’ve got Notre Dame next year, and Stanford the year after that. But please, no more Duke.

Game Prediction:

I went into the game for the first half last week and we didn’t look great, to put it mildly. We needed to leave at halftime to switch up the juju and watch the second half with our van Rose. Sure enough, the ‘Cats came back from 10 down to win by a not-nearly-as-comfortable-as-it-looks 11 points. My thoughts from the first game were that our lines didn’t look any good – we only hurried Nevada’s QB one time and didn’t get any sacks. Clayton “Bigsby” Thorson looked damn good though – and his WRs looked better than I expected. Skowronek was a huge cog in the offense, and Thorson’s safety net as I mentioned he may be back in this post.

All things considered, I was pretty happy with the end result. Sure we didn’t look good and we struggled – but we ended up winning the game by 11 points. Last year we lost two of those close games in a row to start off the year – getting the W in a similar type early sleepwalk game was huge. And, at the end of the year when the CFP Committee is taking a look at our resume, all they’ll see is that 11 point victory. I kid, I kid (kinda).

I know nothing about Duke except I read they’ve got a mobile QB, which I’m sure will give us fits. I see a close game, where Thorson starts the game strong and JJ finishes as we pass early to set up the run late. Our D will get an opportunistic turnover late in the game to seal a tight win in hot conditions.

Game Score:

‘Cats 24 – Duke 21

 Player/Unit to Watch:

Last week I put our freshman kicker in this slot, and he sure enough was a player to watch as he missed a chip shot FG for a strong start to his career. I’ll give the aptly nicknamed Charlie “Ice” Kuhbander a break this week and slot Flynn Nagel in here. I think Flynn steps up with a big TD this week.

Warrior to Watch:

I’m going to take this opportunity to say we tried the Buffalo Joe’s in the stadium last week, and what a huge plus. Watching live ‘Cats football with Buff Joe’s in hand was phenomenal.

This week my Warrior to Watch is Pat Grayhack. Hack is going hard on Saturday, I can feel it. Given his VCU ties I know he’s a Duke hater.

Other Game to Watch:

I’m going with USC-Stanford. My sis goes to USC so gotta pull for the Trojans. Great slate of football this week btw.

Prediction Saturday – Nevada

It’s Roger Rankin’s birthday, and Northwestern football is back in a few hours! What a day, indeed. Here are our picks for the opening game against Nevada.

TRENT: 

It’s opening day and the ‘Cats are ready to roll, as are the West Lot Warriors. After a long summer Northwestern football is finally back and we are jacked up. The ‘Cats open at home against the Nevada Wolfpack, a pretty random team who we paid a hefty chunk of change ($1M +) for the honor to visit Ryan Field. I remember my freshman year in ’07 when the ‘Cats visited Nevada and needed a last minute CJ Bacher drive to claim victory. Let’s hope Fitz and the squad can avoid that kind of drama this time around.

I do hear Colin Kaepernick, former Nevada QB, may show up to the game (jk lol)…I mean he is unemployed right? Can’t imagine he’s got anything better going on this weekend.

Game Prediction:

I’m not going to pretend to know anything about the Wolfpack. From the Google I’ve learned that they’ve got a new coach and are implementing a new Air Raid offense this year – a far cry from the more run-heavy pistol offense they’d run in years past. Avid ‘Cats pessimists will remember a few years back when the Cal Bears and Jared Goff ran an Air Raid offense that gave us fits as Cal threw it all over the Northwestern D. Funny enough, only one of the two QBs from that game is a current starter in the NFL (what up Trev?).

I think the ‘Cats secondary holds up this time around and limits Nevada through the air. I have a hard time thinking that Nevada has gotten this whole Air Raid scheme down pat given they’ve never run it in an actual game and have a brand new coach. They do have a transfer QB from Alabama, but we don’t even know if he’ll be starting – the Wolfpack still have not named a starting QB which strikes me as odd. Sure, there is potential the Wolfpack will be able to use the element of surprise and jump on us early, but I feel pretty good about our offense putting up points on this D.

I see Clayton Thorson starting slowly without his security blanket Austin Carr, but then picking up steam as the game goes on and he gets into a rhythm. JJ will run for 150+ yards – expect a huge day from him on the ground, and hopefully we’ll see Johnny Moten in the second half if we’ve got a big lead. Our D will bend but not break – very curious to see how our linebacker corps hold up without Anthony Walker in the mix.

Game Score:

‘Cats pull it out, 33-14

Player to Watch:

Most people would say Thorson, but I’m going with our new kicker, Charlie “Ice” Kuhbander! Jack Mitchell had his turn in the sun, and while he wasn’t great it doesn’t matter given he made two clutch kicks to beat Notre Dame. But I’m actually excited to have a new kicker to root for – Kuhbander was a highly rated kicker out of OH and I’m expecting some big things. Hoping Kuhbander gets a few attempts on Saturday.

Warrior to Watch:

Andy Day is in town and two for one O Bombs will be flowing in the West Lot. Also, Northwestern has done a nice little local media push this week about their new in-stadium food offerings – a great idea given the amenities in Ryan Field and Welsh Ryan have been pretty poor ever since I’ve been attending games. This year, they’ve got the mecca of food options – Buffalo Joe’s – available in the stadium and close to our seats. A Day, a Buffalo Joe’s connoisseur, is jacked up and ready to grub. My only question is will they have RC Cola?

Other Game to Watch:

The obvious answer is Alabama-FSU, the earliest regular season matchup between top five teams as far as I can remember. But I’m going with Wyoming v. Iowa. Wyoming has a stud QB who is projected to be a first round NFL pick – I watched their bowl game last year and he was legit. Should be a good early season test for the Hawkeyes.

 

ROGER

…… aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back.

We’ve been on a hiatus since the Warriors (and extended family) somehow managed to avoid getting kicked out of Yankee Stadium while playing the team from “the shit city” of Pittsburgh. Hack was even half naked for the better part of the game (before disappearing) in sub zero temperatures.

That was a lot of fun. Let’s hope this season provides as much fun.

We’re working with some knowns here (JJ will be great, the O line will be suspect, the secondary should be good…. are you ok, Watkins?), but we’re working with just as many unknowns. Will the receivers fill the Carr void? Will Clayton continue to develop? Will we be able to generate a pass rush?

These questions are not atypical for a college football team in late August. That’s why this is #fun every year.

Game Prediction:

Hell if I know. This is the first game (see questions above).

I also don’t know the first thing about Nevada… though I have been to a casino in Reno. Nice bathroom there. My sources tell me the Wolfpack will be implementing an Air Raid offense. In years past, that has been thoroughly annoying (see Cal 2013 and 14). That said, the ‘Cats secondary should be one of the strengths of the team. I’m also, like Bag, not sold that you’ll see much success in Game 1 with a new coach implementing a new system. Nevada doesn’t have the talent of Alabama. When given options, few would choose to play football for a school in Reno.

I expect the game to be sloppy early. A lot of penalties and punts. The ‘Cats will start to move the ball with some dink and dunk action involving a lot of Macan Wilson. This will help open the run game. ‘Cats lead 13-3 at the half (blocked extra point… don’t blame the kicker though. If he’s lucky, we’ll name our WiFi after him in 4 years time).

Nevada may score some bullshit special teams TD early in the 2nd half to close the gap to 3, but I expect the ‘Cats to turn it on from there and pull away thanks in part to some forced turnovers (a pick from Godwin and a devastating QB hit forcing a fumble by Lancaster).

Game Score:

Cats 27

Nevada 10

Player/Unit to Watch:

Everyone… it’s week 1. I’ll go with 2 units though: the O line and the D ends. The success of our season is predicated, in large part, on these 2 groups doing their jobs.

Warrior to Watch:

Me (I’m turning 30 on Saturday); however, I won’t be in attendance. So, the honor goes to Andy Day. He’s in town (#loyal) for the opener and he’s beyond elated that Ryan Field has upped their concession game and will be offering Buff Joe’s. Will he come through and get the dish working in Week 1?

Other Game to Watch:

Florida vs. Michigan. This game is intriguing to me because a) half of UF’s team is suspended for illegally selling shit and b) neither team has a viable quarterback. This could be a truly ugly game, but it will set the tone for the rest of the season for whoever wins.

 

PAUL

Tis the season. Welcome back everyone. Nothing better than coming back from a sabbatical and going straight into football season.

Sadly I won’t be attending this week’s game, but will be watching from Valencia, Spain, while two Warrior faithful get married. Congrats to Mike & Ana Parrott!!

Game Prediction:

I have no clue. Haven’t been paying any attention to any preseason stuff. NU will look good offensively through the air, but will have a bit of a tough time in the trenches with JJ busting out a few big runs. Defense won’t look too hot and allow a couple of TDs in the 1st and 3rd quarter.

Game Score:

Cats 33

Nevada 17

Player/Unit to Watch:

Mick McCall: Will his play calling look any different than years past?

Warrior to Watch:

Hack. He’s done a lot of the setup work this summer and also failed to paint the van purple so he has a lot to prove. Odds are the grill and speakers will work, but not confident about anything else. This will lead him to drink heavily to compensate.

Other Game to Watch:

Akron @ PSU. Zips are a 30.5 point dog so I’m not expecting a win, but will give us a look into the team we’re playing at homecoming

 

ROCHE

Why does’t Oedipus curse?

Because he kisses his mother with that mouth.

Game Prediction:

I don’t know Nevada. I don’t know much about this Northwestern team, now that I think about it.

Game Score:

#B1GCats 38

Reno 20

Player/Unit to Watch:

The WR Core. Carr is gone, and Bigsby needs sure hands and good routes.

Warrior to Watch:

It’s Bag. He knew about the Szechuan Sauce coming back before everyone else. WHAT OTHER SECRETS IS HE HIDING.

Other Game to Watch:

Akron @ PSU. Agree with Paul. Every PSU game is the game to watch for me. Still deep in Nittany Lion territory

Thanks, and have a great day

 

A DAY

So today I just realized this is going to be my 11th consecutive home opener. Holy shit I’m getting #old. Speaking of 11 years ago, we played Nevada that same season (after beating archrival Northeastern in the opener). We barely squeezed out a win after trailing with less than 2 minutes in the game. Will tomorrow look similar? I hope not… but hey… time for the game prediction.
Game Prediction: Justin Jackson is poised to have a field day. The question is, will the rest of the offense be able to keep (albeit a terrible rush defense) from stacking the box? I think they will stall at times, and will allow for Nevada to hang around. Also, our secondary has the potential to be the best in the nation. But after losing some studs in the front seven, namely Anthony “Cakes” Walker and Ifeadi Odenigbo, one has to wonder if the defense will take a step back this season as a unit. Oh an finally… will we be able to kick a field goal? Survey says…unclear. I think this game looks eerily similar to 2007.
Game Score: NU 36 – Nevada 31
Player to Watch: Offensive Line – can this rag tag bunch give Clayton time to go through his progressions?
Warrior to Watch: Z-Von – his first tailgate as a Kellogg student. Will he try to impress his fellow classmates by shotgunning one too many Miller Lites?
Other Game to Watch: I’m going to say Florida-Michigan. Should get a sense of how strong the Wolverines are going to be.
ZVON
The ‘Cats are back in black…in purple.  Let’s go.  We have been waiting for this day since that beautifully cold day in the Bronx when the ‘Cats took down Pitt.  As others noted for this game, hopefully the excitement is just as high and the Grayhack is more shirted.  What a game that was.  If Ryan Field sold beer, we’d be in for another treat.  NU comes in with a lotta excitement surrounding the team and that can go only two ways.  Let’s hope it goes positively and is warranted.  With a few returning leaders, there isn’t really an excuse to start the season slowly.
Game Prediction: I think the ‘Cats start slow (because they do every season and even though favored, probably keep it closer than desired early).  There is no excuse to start poorly but it will happen.  The team will rely on a heavy and early dose of Justin Jackson The Ball Carrier.  Clayton throws for about 200 yards but really isn’t needed.  The running game is solid and brings us to the W but doesn’t blow Nevada out of the water early. so it’s a close first half.
Game Score: NU 31, Nevada 14
Player to Watch: Secondary….with injuries, can they play well?
Warrior to Watch: Without Roger, who will stand on the van and yell to the mountain tops?  Who will curse the offense and belittle the defense?  I’m going to say ADay – he’s in from SF, he’s ready to rage, and you know he is going to have a breakout performance.  He’ll be the early season favorite for Warrior of the Year (not even a real thing).
Other Game to Watch: FLorida State and Alabama.  Big match up name-wise.

A Few Fun Facts to Kick of the 2017 Season

Northwestern has the longest winning streak (2) in the B1G

You heard that right. Given the B1G’s abysmal showing during bowl season (3-7) and the other two bowl game winners (Wisconsin and Minnesota) each losing their previous game (Minny to Wisco and Wisco to PSU in the B1G Championship) the ‘Cats hold the outright win streak lead with a whopping 2 wins. Let’s see if we can hold on to that for a few more weeks, eh?

ESPN favors NU in 10 of 12 games

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 5.04.05 PM

Does this mean NU is projected to win 10 games? Absolutely not. But still, pretty exciting to be favored in the majority of our contests. Also take this with a grain of salt, as this is certainly bound to change as the season goes on. By my math, this predicts NU to win 8.35 games… not bad.

Pat Fitzgerald’s unbeaten streak against James Franklin is at risk

Despite Penn State’s preseason ranking (6), the Nittany Lions ought to be a little weary of their trip to Evanston this season. Why? Because James Franklin has never beaten Pat Fitzgerald (in 4 attempts). He’s lost both contests as PSU’s head coach as well as two while at the helm at Vanderbilt. Vandy also dropped NU from the schedule in 2013-2014 due to “scheduling conflicts,” however, some speculated James was simply afraid of the ‘Cats.