Prediction Friday – Nebraska

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Roger and Roche think Ameer Abdullah will have a big day tomorrow (USATSI)

 

Define “on time.” We got these up before closing time at least! Missing Andy’s .GIF prediction, so we’ll have to settle for the rest of our normal text predictions. The ‘Cats are looking to stay above .500 as they head into Lincoln. The enthusiasm surrounding this team hasn’t been this low since probably around the Army loss

ROCHE

Game Summary: The last time the ‘Cats went to Lincoln, their star player was hurt and they were clinging to the hope of even making a bowl game. Fast forward two years and – welp, not much has changed. We’re all hoping for a medical redshirt for Ricky Football and it looks like the ‘Cats’ bowl hopes have quickly dropped from Rose Bowl aspirations to a likely appearance in the Fireball Classic

The injury report includes three running backs. Which is great, because the offense usually does well when pitching the ball to a Mike Trumpy on the read option (DERP). Buckley looked great last week, so let’s hope we see more of him and little of Trumpy (but because of the injury status, we’ll prolly see some Trumpy).
Is TMartz playing for NEB? ESPN says he’s questionable, and I think NU would do better against Tommy Armstrong than TMartz.
I see this being a higher scoring game than last week’s debacle. (Note: Defense buckled down after that first drive pretty impressively.) Maybe Micky McCall grows a brain and starts calling a better game.
LOLZ jk
NU moves the ball decently but DERPS again in the redzone a few times. Six points are more helpful than three in that situation, obvi.
Ameer Abdullah gains 150 yards on the ground and NU can’t do much to stop him. Nebraska has a long drive at the end of the 4th Q to kill time and seal the deal.
Final Score: NEB 24 – NU 19
Play Of The Game: Bo Pellini steals some of his brother’s weed and calls a hot dog vendor down to the sideline mid-2nd Q
Player To Watch: Jeff Budzein (avenging his only miss last year)
Warrior To Watch: Michael Roche and His Homemade Nachos. They’re gonna have an incredible assortment of vegetables and salsas fit for a king!
ROGER

Game Summary: Wow…. what looked to be a game with division implications at the beginning of the year has turned into a game where each team looks to put the brakes on their impending train wreck (if that’s even possible at this point).

We know the ‘Cats don’t have brake pads, but unfortunately I think that means there is such a thing as last (sorry Lil’ Wayne), and we’re staring that in the face.
As Roche mentioned amidst his typos, this is essentially a do or die game for both teams. The ‘Cats have got to get a win to have any chance at a bowl game and Bo Pelini has to get a win to have a job next week. As a result, I’m predicting a horribly played, incredibly mismanaged games where it is evident that both teams are hanging on for dear life.
I’m expecting turnovers galore in this one and a fair amount of dumb penalties.
Ultimately, Nebraska will come out on top because Ameer Abdullah will run for 8+ yards per carry and we will stall on offense far too often.
Final Score: NEB 30 – NU 17
Play Of The Game: I’m not entirely sure who this is coming from or when in the course of the game it’s coming, but I’m predicting an ejection in this game (and not one of those ridiculous one’s for targeting). I have a hunch it will come from a Nebraska D Lineman, but who knows….
Player To Watch: Ricky Football. No, he’s not going to play, but if he has to watch this garbage much more from the sidelines I suspect he may go Dez Bryant on the rest of the team.
Warrior To Watch: Michael Roche. What’s going on with Michael Roche? He had several typos in his first draft of PredictionFriday. Michael, are you getting enough sleep? Eating your veggies? Getting all that fiber you like?
TRENT
Game Summary:
This game really reminds me of the situation a few years back when we traveled to Lincoln and Kain Superman’d all over the ‘Huskers. Our team was on the brink at that point, and our bowl game hopes looked very grim. We’re in that same spot now two years later, and I think our team is going to rally just like they did in 2011 and pull out a W.
There’s going to be a lot of offense in this one, and I think it’s going to be a shootout, but on the ground. A shootout seems to imply an aerial assault, so I need to find a better word for a high scoring ground and pound game. A “pound-around”?
I think Kain will come to play and pull out the W with a late drive at the end. This guy has been a warrior for us his whole career, and he’s not going to let our past four games define his senior season.
Final Score: NU: 30  ‘Huskers:27
Player to watch: Kain Colter
Warrior to Watch: Dr. Mike Roche
Play of the Game: Special Teams TD by the ‘Cats
GRAYHACK
Prediction

After receiving a pump up speech from big time Northwestern supporter and fan Warren Buffett (his wife went to NU), the Cats come out hot with two straight field goals. Meanwhile the Nebraska crowd roars at seeing their defense not give up touchdowns. Unfortunately things on the offensive side don’t go as well. The announcers are befuddled as to why the Cornshuskers can’t get anything going. However, the cold hard truth dawns on ace analyst Joey Galloway, and he informs his fawning audience “Taylor Martinez throws like a girl”. After this he and his partner Beth “Big Time” Mohans [sic] get into an argument about women in sports that lasts the rest of the game. With such a spirited debate occurring between these two broadcasting giants, the majority of the television audience loses interest in the game and returns to their homes to ponder the meaning of life. The game continues at its frenetic pace with some more field goals and the traditional Trumpy fumble. Yet, the biggest surprise is yet to come as the former Medil [sic] student producer makes the decision that Northwestern’s initials be NU. Also, due to the fact that most Nebraska fans can’t read three letters in a row [Ed. note: irony is Grayhack mocking the Nebraska fan base for spelling/literacy], Nebraska is also listed as NU.
Final score: NU 29 – NU 28
Player to watch – Trevor Simeon [sic] – Watch him watch the game.
Prop bet of the day: Total points scored versus total shots of fireball consumed by the warriors (Survey says fireball)
Ed. Note – Huettner promptly called Grayhack out on the Warren Buffett connection. He did in fact go to UNL and is a huge Husker supporter
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Prediction Friday – Maine

Welcome to Prediction Friday! A little different feel this week, as Roche is posting this via his mobile device (AND on that new-fangled iOS7). No picture, but a lot of confidence heading into tomorrow’s game.

Roche will not be present at the West Lot tomorrow; his cousin is getting married (Congrats, Laura!). But he will follow the festivities in spirit.

On to the picks!

Roche:
Game Summary: I just don’t want anyone to get hurt. Please. October 5 is coming up in two weeks and I want to see Ricky Football back to 110% and Kain Colter un-concussed. On a related note:

Plz not Columbus next weekend. That would kinda kill our chances for Gameday for October 5. On another related note:

PAWWWLLLL is the bearer of [potentially] GREAT news in Evanston.

Ah, yes. Maine. I see a similar game to last week. A little sloppy to start. The ‘Cats will get it together by the second quarter and roll. Ibrahim Campbell gets a pick in his 6th (!) straight game, and Trevor Siemian lights up the Black Bear secondary for 3 TD’s. I think we’ll see Ricky for 5-10 carries, but that’ll be it. Get him a little loose for a few weeks from now.

Final Score: NU 45- Maine 17

Game Highlight: NO ONE GETS HURT! I MEAN IT, YOU GUYS!

Player to Watch: Roger and his Fireball Whisky. No, really. Please someone watch him this week. I’m going to be in WI for a wedding, and I hope he survives day drinking Fireball starting at 10:30 AM.

GO ‘CATS!

Roger:
Game Summary: I don’t have a lot to offer here, sadly. I think this one will be relatively uneventful. As has typically been the case over the last several years when we play FCS teams, our second and third string will see significant playing time and this may unfold before halftime.

Ultimately, I see NU running a very vanilla gameplan and simply dominating both lines of scrimmage with superior athletes.

Score Prediction: NU 45 – Maine 17

Game Highlight: Mike “Donald” Trumpy with a 50+ yard touchdown.

Player to Watch: Venric Mark…. No, really. Watch him on the sideline. See if he’s chomping at the bit to get in. He certainly won’t be playing but his body language may tell us a thing or two about his status.

Andy:
Game Summary: Ok. For real this time. NU fans have no stress this week as the game looks a lot like NU vs. Towson in 2009. Zach Oliver will get more than just one drive and we see a decent amount of playing time from recently hyped true freshman Matt Harris. The ‘Cats score on their opening 3 drives and never look back. The defense scores another pick or two but also surrenders a pair of big plays that lead to Maine TDs.

Score Prediction: NU 47 – Maine 14 (A la the NU vs. Towson score)

Game Highlight: Ibraheim Campbell fields his 6th consecutive pick, this one coming off a Collin Ellis deflection

Player to Watch: Kyle Prater

Grayhack
Game Summary: An angry Wildcats team takes the field and storms to a 35 – 0 halftime lead on the back of three rushing touchdowns from Treyvon “Gimmie dat” Green and two red zone fades to Mr. Fumble himself Kyle Prater. Young Zach Oliver enters the game at the half and holds down the fort throwing for a touchdown and using his Evan Watkins esque speed to rush in for a touchdown. On defense, true freshman Matt Harris splits time with Dwight White at the corner spot and comes up with two pass deflections one of which lands in the arms of Ibrahiem “The Soup Man” Campbell.

Score: 52-10

Game Highlight – Stephen Buckley returns the opening kick to the Bear 2 yard line.

Player to Watch: Matt Harris

Tailgater to watch – Michael “Moops” Cooperberg – Fresh off having his two front teeth replaced this New Jersey native is ready to eat and fist pump his way to victory.

Trent:
Game Summary: I think Fitz will get in the ‘Cats ears after last week’s slow start, and the team will come out with some fire. I think the rout will be on in the first quarter, and we’ll see Zack Oliver after halftime.

Final Score: 42-10

Highlight: Tony Jones 65 yd touchdown reception

Player to Watch: Pierre Youngblood-Ary


Ytd: we’re all 3-0 in our picks. Let’s move to 4-0 this Saturday and prepare for the Homecoming Tailgate!

Pre-Christmas Bowl Picks!

Bowl

Comment/Prediction

Gildan New Mexico

Nevada vs. Arizona

RichRod making Arizona relevant? I won’t go that far, but he’ll grab a W in his first bowl as a Wildcat. Matt Scott lights up Nevada. Arizona 44-27
Famous Idaho Potato

Toledo vs. Utah State

The other Aggies take advantage of Toledo’s low ranked (107th) defense. I also like Utah State QB’s name. Chuckie Finster Keeton. USU 35-20
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia

BYU vs. San Diego State

Jimmer Fredette faces Coach Steve Fischer’s Aztecs. Ah. Right. Football. The Aztecs had an impressive win over Boise St this year, while the Cougs lost a 7-6 thriller to the Broncos. I realize this means nothing. But this might –  BYU’s QB Riley Nelson might be too hurt to play this game. SDSU 21-17
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg

Ball State vs. UCF

I’m 12, apparently, because every time I see “Ball State” I giggle. BALL! LOLZ! I think they win. Their three losses have come at the hands of Clemson, Kent St, and Northern Illinois. Three good teams. Ball St 35-27
R+L Carriers New Orleans

East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

I like East Carolina’s mascot logo, but I like the “Ragin’ Cajuns” as a name a lot better than the Pirates. RAGIN’ CAJUNS 28-18
MAACO Las Vegas

Washington vs. Boise State

Boise State doesn’t have Kellen Moore anymore, but their defense has been good this year. I’m thinking that Washington has some of that defense magic they had in the Stanford victory. Washington 20-10
Sheraton Hawaii

Fresno State vs. SMU

June Jones comes back to Hawaii as a 12.5 point dog. Woof. Fresno State takes this pretty eaily. SMU lost to Rice, you guys. RICE! Fresno State 41-21

Roger’s Take on All-B1G

We got the shaft:
http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/66389/2012-all-big-ten-teams-individual-awards

First off, Mark should have made 1st team in at least one (coaches or media). He’s the best RB in the B1G in my opinion. Sorry Montee Ball, plowing behind 330lb first round offensive linemen your whole career doesn’t impress me and it doesn’t impress anyone outside the B1G. You’d never see the field at NU with that style. Also, how the hell did Budzien only make 1st team in one? The dude missed one fg and no extra points. The fg he missed was from 53 yards and he missed it by a foot.

Mulroe got a 2nd team shoutout in media (well deserved) but didn’t even get an honorable mention in coaches. Campbell got an HM in Coaches and Chi Chi and HM in Media. (ED Note: I misread that… there are more HM’s than I noted. Hard to read the way they showed it. Nonetheless, we still got the shaft.)

‘Cats Re-Enter BCS and Other Thoughts

Northwestern romped Illinois yesterday, and Wildcat nation has been flying high since. For the second time this season, the ‘Cats are ranked in the BCS. The other time the ‘Cats cracked the BCS top 25 was week 11. They promptly dropped out after losing 38-31 at Michigan in overtime. 

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Richard Billingsley showing the ‘Cats no love. C’mon, Dick, we’re fun! I promise!

As I mentioned on twitter, the ‘Cats should crack the Top 20 of the BCS after Championship Week. Kent State and Northern Illinois play Friday night. Kansas State plays Texas. UCLA plays Stanford (again) this weekend. With a little help from our friends, not only will the ‘Cats stay ranked for two consecutive (!!!!!!!) weeks, but they’ll jump a few in the process. 

In terms of bowl projections, it looks like not much has changed since last week. However, some interesting comments from the Capital One Bowl twitter today has me thinking that Orlando isn’t as out of the picture as I originally thought. We’ll have to keep an eye on that as the week rolls on. If I had to guess at this point, though, I’d say Northwestern ends up in Tampa playing the Outback Bowl against South Carolina. 

Around CFB

-Congratulations to That School In South Bend, who guaranteed a spot in the BCS Title Game with a win at USC. They’ll play the winner of the SEC Title Game (Alabama or Georgia), with the loser going to the Capital One Bowl, probably. My brother graduated from TSISB in 2006, and he bought tickets last week to the game for $800, assuming they’d beat USC. The cheapest tickets on stubhub.com are now $1,600. Holy hell. I feel safe in assuming Gator/Outback/CapOne tickets will be less than 10% of that. At least I hope they’re under $160.

-Roger just pointed out that Syracuse is still in the running for the Big East title and an automatic BCS bowl bid. That Syracuse, of 42-41 Week One fame (I love me some hyperlinks today). Just sit back and imagine if that happens. 

-Vandy finished 8-4 (5-3 SEC). It’s pretty clear that the Week One 17-9 loss to South Carolina (healthy Lattimore) was not fluke. They’re a program on the up, and it’s too bad they canceled the series. 

Roche’s Reaction – NU 50 – ILL 14

Cue the Staples ‘That Was Easy’ button. 50-14. Northwestern finishes the season 9-3 and 10-1 ATS. It didn’t always look like it was going to be a walk in the park, as the ‘D’ sleepwalked through the first 20 minutes of the game, which resulted in 14 early Illinois points. On to the highlights and lowlights.

Highlights
Kain Colter’s Throwing – Kain Colter is an incredible athlete, and more often than not he makes plays with his legs. Today he showed he can get the job done with his arm. His final passing stats were: 9/11, 102 yards, three touchdowns. Raise your hand if you thought Colter would have a three TD game this year. /crickets/. Exactly. Great growth to see Kain having the confidence to let is fly.

Offensive Line – Well over 300 yards rushing. The ‘Cats were able to do pretty much whatever they wanted to do, except a Bo Cisek touchdown. They controlled the line of scrimmage and smacked around an Illinois team desperate for a conference victory.

Keeping Up With The Jones – Northwestern was thisclose to having all three Jones – Christian (who stepped out two yards short), Tony and Tyrus – score a touchdown today. Tyrus had a 15 yards screen pass TD to go along with 45 yards rushing and some impressive returns, while Tony hauled in a nine-yarder from Colter

The Last 40 Minutes Of Defense – I’m gonna go ahead and pay myself on the back by calling the three INT’s #shamelessplug. The defense was much improved after seemingly washing their hands in crisco before the game (see below in ‘lowlights’). Illinois simply couldn’t get going after the first 14 points. Good defenses can get beat, but they won’t get beat the same way over an over again. Great job adjusting and making That Team Downstate earn every yard they could. Also – Safeties are awesome. Thank you for that, Max Chapman.

Venric Mark – During the game, Lake The Posts tweeted a ‘thank you’ to Venric Mark for being him. For turning a weakness in recent years (rushing) to the strength of this offense. Every Northwestern fan echoes this sentiment (though I think NotSoutheastern’s sentiment might be more PG13). He consistently turns 2/3 yard gains into 6/7 yard gains. He shows patience and explosiveness that we haven’t seen in years. He finished with 18 rushes for 127 yards and 1 TD. Great to see him back on the field after getting hurt last week. The ‘Cats need him healthy.

Jeff Budzien – A Groza award semifinalist, Jeff Budzien knocked in 36 and 44 yard field goals today. His total this year is 17/18, with his only miss being the 53 yarder against NEB. That kick missed by a hair.

4th Down Attempts – Fitz went for it on 4th down. In the red zone. In the 4th. Up 34 points. I know Fitz wanted to play as many seniors as possible (Hello, Bo Cisek), but I also like to think this was a middle finger to Illinois. Probably not, considering that’s very un-Fitz-like. I love the killer instinct.

Not Punting – That’s all. Northwestern didn’t have to punt all game.

Lowlights
The First 20 Minutes Of Defense – They just sleepwalked through Illinois’s first few drives. Couldn’t tackle anything. All of a sudden the ‘Cats are down 7-0 in the middle of the first quarter.

Trevor Siemian – He wasn’t used much, but he seemed a little off he overthrew his receivers pretty terribly right before halftime. He may have been just throwing it away. I don’t know, guys. I’m reaching for negatives in this game.

Moving Foward
Wait and see. The ‘Cats finish 9-3 (5-3). Good for most since 2008, when Northwestern lost to Missouri in the Alamo Bowl. Possible destinations are Orlando for the Capital One Bowl (unlikely, given Michigan being available), Tampa for the Outback Bowl and Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl. My initial impressions have the latter two as equally likely, but we’ll do a post this week detailing the possible bowl destinations and odds.
The win also have Pat Fitzgerald 49 career wins at Northwestern. That ties him for most all-time in Evanston with Lynn ‘Pappy’ Waldorf. It’s a testament to how important Fitz is to this program. Great job, Coach.

LOLHat week Gameday (UPDATE: Trent is at home)

It’s already the last game of the regular season for the ‘Cats (!), and Illinois comes limping in to Ryan Field looking to hold on to the Land Of Lincoln Trophy for another year.

Andy and Roger are rolling in the West Lot right now. Stop by the tailgate with the earth flag (blue background) and say hi. I am in Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I’ll be posting up at the BWW in West Chester, PA to watch the game. I’ll be adding some commentary as the game gets going. Go ‘Cats!