Prediction Caturday – Nebraska

Our ‘Cats are 2-0 and face the Huskers this week. Funny enough, five years ago another McCaffrey brother in red and white came into Ryan Field and had his worst outing of the year. Can the ‘Cats replicate that success today with a strong defensive effort?

 

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
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TRENT (1-1 PICKS RECORD)

Our ‘Cats are 2-0, literally as good as we could have hoped at this point in the season. I was pretty impressed with the resilience of the squad to come back from a few terrible mistakes in the 1st quarter against Iowa and an early 17-0 deficit. It was a good feeling to still have belief that we were in a game even facing that kind of hole – that’s the benefit of having a competent QB, you feel like you’ve at least got a shot to come back. The identity here is what I believe we’ll see a lot of from the ‘Cats this year – run the ball, play great defense, and let Peyton Ramsey manage the game.  

This week we face the Huskers in a matchup that always seems to be close. Their mobile QB Adrian Martinez always gives us fits. Nebraska got a “bye” last week after their game against Wisconsin was canceled due to COVID. Will that help their team with the extra rest, or will they come out rusty?

Game Summary: I think the ‘Cats start faster this week (it would be hard not to) and expect a run-heavy game plan against the Huskers. I like the three man rotation we’ve got going at RB, with Bowser carrying the bulk of the load, Drake Anderson coming in as a scat back, and sure-handed senior Jesse Brown coming in at the goal line. Expect Peyton Ramsey to pick up some yards rushing himself, and reconnect with John Raine through the air (#0 had 0 catches last week).

We’ll put up some points this week, so it’s a matter of our D holding Nebraska down. Our defense has looked pretty spectacular so far this year, ranking #3 in the country in S&P. Mobile QBs always give us trouble, but I think we will stop the Huskers just enough to eke this one out.

Game Score: NU 33 – UNL 27

Play of the Game: Peyton Ramsey hits Raine for a play action TD.

Player to Watch: Paddy Fisher. Can he contain Nebraska’s mobile QB?

Warrior to Watch: Paul. Long week.

Other Game to Watch:  Michigan State @ Iowa. MSU beat Michigan in the Big House last week. Iowa blew a 17 point lead at home to the ‘Cats. And yet the Hawkeyes are favored by 9 in Kinnick. Seems like a strange line?

DOC ROCHE (0-0 PICKS RECORD)

No contest due to COVID.

ROGER (2-0)

Game Summary: This game should be significantly different than what we saw last week. Nebraska can and will move the ball. That said, our offense will likely open up a bit more against this team.
I think the game ultimately comes down to how successful our defense is inside the red zone. If we can keep Nebraska out of the end zone more often than not then I like our chances.

Game Score: NU 30 – Lil Red 23

Play of the Game: Peyton Ramsey with a 30 yard scamper on a crucial 3rd down.

Player to Watch: The O Line… they seem to be getting better.

Warrior to Watch: Everyone… what a week.

Other Game to Watch:  Meh…Purdue and Wisconsin won’t be played so I don’t care about much elsewhere.

ZVON (2-0)

Cats win by 2

PAUL (2-0)

House Divided Game for the Huettners
Well be seeing two Reds lose this week. 
Huskers 23 – Cats 31

HACK (2-0)

Game Summary: Traditionally, the Cats struggle against athletic QBs and Nebraska has two of them. We did well against Lil Tua in week 1, and he looked good in week 2, so maybe we’ve figured this out. I doubt it. The Cats secondary is pretty good, so I would bet on them taking advantage of some less accurate throws from the two-headed monster at QB. Luckily, Nebraska is not great at defense. Ohio State can make anyone look bad, but they were straight up not having a good time against the Buckeyes. I think we’re in for a shootout with some more touches for Drake “The Brakes” Anderson out of the backfield to get the people going. Also, Malik Washington might break out this game.

Game Score: NU 31- UNL 28

Play of the Game: Luke McCaffery is intercepted by Greg Newsome for 6.

Player to Watch: The defensive ends: They need to keep contain on the outside.

Warrior to Watch: Andy – His second favorite Wiener was a winner and what better way to celebrate than with a Cats victory.

Other Game to Watch: Clemson vs ND: Will Clemson be able to overcome the Golden Domers without Trevor Lawrence? Also, how weird is it that Trevor Lawrence lives by himself in college?

ANDY DAY (2-0)

Too lazy to write a summary. ‘Cats eek out a win.
NU 21 – Neb 16

Prediction Caturday – Iowa

The ‘Cats went 1-0 last week and shellacked the Terrapins back into their shells. This week brings up a big big matchup in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes. Can the ‘Cats pull it out on Halloween?

 

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
nulogo Tigerhawk-Multi-colored-vinyl-car-decal nulogo no contest nulogo nulogo nulogo

TRENT

editor’s note: this was written before the Maryland-Minnesota game last night. I was right about the game being one to watch, but will admit Tua’s brother impressed.

Of all the possible outcomes for game one, the ‘Cats winning by 40 was not one that I had on my radar. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for my prediction of an easy win for once, but I did not see a scenario where we’d look that dominant. Granted Maryland is probably horrible, and Taulia Tagovailua is obviously benefiting off his brother’s name, but still, for us to do that against any B1G team is lovely to see. 

Peyton Ramsey is just super solid, and reminds me of Dan Persa with the way he plays and his mannerisms. His accuracy and his wiggle in the running game were what stuck out the most to me. Mike Bajakian may seem like a genius after game one, but that may just be a reflection of how horrid Mick McCall truly was, and how truly horrid Maryland is. But damn, it was so refreshing to see WRs getting open and RBs getting room to run. And how about an actual TE on the field making an impact. John Raine is the truth, he may be my second favorite player on the team behind my boy Bowser. 

So recap over, now a quick hit on Wisconsin. They’ve got six players with COVID, including their current first and second string QBs. Paul Chryst and five other members of his staff also have it. Their game against Nebraska is canceled, and Wisco loses those six players for 21 days. This is going to completely scramble the B1G West and could take the Badgers out of contention for the B1G championship if they miss two additional games. Does this open things up for the ‘Cats?

Back to our game this week, at Iowa. The Hawkeyes had some serious internal issues this summer with calls of racism and internal turmoil within the team and coaching staff. Kirk Ferentz is the longest tenured coach in the conference, and makes way too much money for doing his typical 7-5 or 8-4 dance each year. The Hawkeyes lost game one to a shorthanded Purdue, and you can just imagine what the temperature will be in Iowa City if they open with losses to the Boilermakers AND the Purple Wildcats. Can those folks in Iowa take the internal BS ON TOP off losses to those two teams which they see (fairly or not) as lowly opponents in the scheme of the B1G? I think not. I think Ferentz will be on the serious hot seat if that scenario plays out, and honestly I think he’ll be coaching this game like his job depends on it. 

Game Summary: I don’t see our offense having the same success as we did in game one. Iowa’s defense is a far cry from the sieve that was the Terrapins D. I’m anticipating a slugfest in a cold Iowa City, with Bowser having some success but ultimately the ‘Cats going down in a close one.

Game Score: NU 23 – Iowa 28

Play of the Game: Bowser continues his success in Kinnick with another long TD scamper.

Player(s) to Watch: The O Line. After a solid performance last week, that unit is going to have a much tougher test this week. If they can open holes for the RBs and give Peyton some time, we’ve got a solid chance. If they can’t, it’ll be a long day.

Warrior to Watch: Rankin. This game is on Halloween. What will he wear?
Other Game to Watch: Minnesota – Maryland on Friday night. This will serve as a barometer to show us if NU’s blowout win against the Terps actually was impressive. Also curious to see how Minny bounces back after a L against Michigan.

Other Game to Watch: Minnesota – Maryland on Friday night. This will serve as a barometer to show us if NU’s blowout win against the Terps actually was impressive. Also curious to see how Minny bounces back after a L against Michigan.

DOC ROCHE

No contest due to COVID.

ROGER

Cats won last week…. so did COVID. Wisconsin and Nebraska will be a “no contest” this weekend. Again, I’ll be shocked if NU plays all 8 scheduled games.

Back to the football. Yes, Maryland is terrible. That said, last season’s version of NU would not have been able to march up and down the field and beat them by 40. So, we’ve got that going for us.

I think Ramsey is a legitimate Power 5 QB and that goes a long way in making an offense look functional. I also appreciate how Bajakian seems to have simplified the run blocking and protection schemes. No more of that Mickey Mouse McCall shit leaving our QB back there to get clobbered.
This week we have Iowa. I didn’t watch them last weekend, but they lost to what many considered a suspect Purdue team (without Rondale Moore no less). So, I’m assuming this is your typical Kirk Ferentz Iowa squad: a team that vastly underachieves given they probably have a few 10+ year NFL players at non-skill positions. 

Game Summary: See the underachieving part above…. I suspect our defense will do the bend but not break thing in this game because Iowa will shit the bed when they most need to move the ball. Ramsey will be solid again and we’ll establish a running game that gets more effective as the game goes on.

Game Score: NU 27 – Iowa 17

Play of the Game: Iowa’s QB gets blindsided on a JR Pace blitz and fumbles deep in his own territory.

Player(s) to Watch: Probably the offensive line again. They were good last week, but they played Maryland. Has the simplified scheme helped? Will Skoronski look the part again against a better front 7?

Warrior to Watch: Me. I have a majestic Halloween costume.

Other Game to Watch: I guess we start watching the B1G West… we have a short season and games are already getting canceled. NU could look the part and make it to Indy or they could back their way in with some help elsewhere (i.e. more Wisconsin games canceled). If NU gets off to a 2-0 start and you have an 0-2 Iowa, 1-1 Tonka and 1-? Wisconsin, then this could get interesting very quickly. 

ZVON

CATS 30 – IOWA 21

HACK

I would like to apologize to two groups for my prediction last week. I underestimated the Cat’s D and to the rest of the panelists of this illustrious group for exposing them as Pharisees of the highest order. I alone predicted that the Cats would treat the Terps like the Germans have treated the French Army since Napoleon. I kept the faith. I knew that no one rolls into Evanston on a cold October night for a season opener and leaves with their dignity still intact. 

Now, let us turn to this week wherein the Cats travel to Iowa to play the Hawkeyes. In this matchup of the two longest-tenured coaches in the Big Ten, we have two programs in very different places. One has been wounded by scandal and staggers into this game like a sickly water buffalo. The other is creeping silently in tall grasses waiting for its moment to separate the weak from the herd. Iowa is the one team Coach Fitz truly hates and he always has the boys ready to play against them. Time to deliver the hammer blow and end the Ferentz era.

Game Summary: Think of this Iowa team like an older Mike Tyson. They clearly aren’t in their prime, but the knockout punch is still within their grasp.

Iowa O vs NU D: This Iowa team’s strength appears to be their wide receivers, which is an odd thing to type. Northwestern appears to be loaded in the defensive backfield so strength on strength should be fun to watch. The Hawkeyes have a talented but inexperienced qb and a solid o line as always. If they were to open up the play calling a bit, they might fare better, but this is Iowa and they won’t. Expect many punts and run, run, pass sequences.

NU O vs Iowa D: This Iowa D is not your typical Hawkeyes D. Iowa might have the worst secondary that I’ve ever seen an Iowa team have. They got torched by a Purdue team playing with one albeit great wide receiver. The Cats don’t have a receiver of Bell’s quality, but they do have 6 or 7 good options for Peyton Ramsey to pick out. I expect for him and the receivers to have a field day. The front seven is solid but lacks the typical Iowa star power and depth. It will be interesting to see if the Cats and their young o-line can get a run game going against them. I think it’ll be a slow start on the ground with later chunk plays as the Cats salt away the game.

Special Teams: Iowa has a very good kicker and a punter from Australia, who we will be seeing plenty of on Saturday.

Game Score: Northwestern 31- Iowa 10 

Play of the Game: Paddy Fischer stuffs a qb sneak from the 1 for a turnover on downs.

Player(s) to Watch: Joe Spivak and Jake Saunders. These two hog mollies need to play well if the Cats are going to contain the world’s most boring offense.

Warrior to Watch: Roger, let’s just say he’s hauntingly beautiful.

Other Game to Watch: Ohio State – Penn State Should be fun, I guess.

PAUL

Game Summary: Cats spook the Hawkeyes

Game Score: Northwestern 26 – Iowa 19 

Play of the Game: Fake FG for 1st Down

Player(s) to Watch: Paddy Fisher

Warrior to Watch: HACK – will he turn into a vampire?

Other Game to Watch: The Battle For Michigan

ANDY DAY

Game Summary: I think ideally we will still be able to score. Clearly not as easily as last week, but should be able to get some momentum and put up some points. I feel like our defense is better than Purdont’s, so we should be able to keep them from putting up too many points. I think we get an early lead and never give it back. We get a scare at some point in the 4th, but a big stop shuts the door and we end up with a nice W.

Game Score: NU 27 – Iowa 20

Play of the Game: Ramsey Scampers for a huge 1st down which lets us run out the clock

Player(s) to Watch: Bowser – he had some moments against MD but only averaged 3 YPC (compared to 6.1 as a unit). How will he handle an undoubtedly better Iowa D?

Warrior to Watch: Roger – he sold dope to kids.

Other Game to Watch: B1G football, i guess?

Caturday is Here: Maryland Predictions

It’s finally here. Northwestern is actually playing football tonight. Our setup will look a little different today as the Warriors break a streak of nine straight years of tailgating in our namesake West Lot. Rose the Van is on life support, with her future very much in doubt as the sun rises this morning. We’re not sure she’ll survive the day.

But in life, as one chapter closes, another begins. It’s a new football year and there is reason to be optimistic about our ‘Cats on the field. Even if only for a few hours, we’ll relish each snap by the only Big Ten football team audacious enough to don purple. We’ll try to forget about the pandemic raging around us, and come together for a few hours to cheer on our ‘Cats.

Before we get into the picks, a quick statistical note. There are only TWO teams in the Big Ten against whom NU has a winning record historically. The first is Indiana – we lead the Hoosiers in the lifetime series 47-35. The second is Maryland, against whom we are 1-0 with a win in 2017. Let’s keep that record in the plus column today. On to the picks…

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
nulogo nulogo nulogo 5229  nulogo nulogo nulogo

HACK

Game Summary: Mick McCall is gone, I repeat Mick McCall is gone and the Cats are back!
I have no clue what to expect from this Northwestern team on offense, but I think Coach Jake will overcome his groin injury to lead the boys to a big performance in the opener. It doesn’t hurt that Maryland has more holes than swiss cheese on defense. The Cat’s D will be good. Maryland is frisky but I think they’re undisciplined and loose with the football no matter who they are starting. There are rumors that Greg Newsome may be out, which could be trouble given the talent Maryland has at WR. I don’t think it’s going to be close folks.

Game Score: NU 42 – MD -21

Play of the Game: Peyton Ramsey 75 yard touchdown pass to tight end John Raine.

Player to Watch: The young WRs – We have some good veterans at the top of the depth chart (expect Riley Lees to be on the Patriots practice squad next year) but, Malik Washington, Genson Hooper Price, and Wayne Dennis Jr could provide much-needed splash plays.

Warrior to Watch: Andy Day, he’s got a new patio and he’s going to use it

Other Game to Watch: Nebraska – Ohio State – There can be only one punishment for treason, death by Justin Fields’s hands.

ROGER

Northwestern football is back.

I’ll definitely watch. How could I not? But, I have mixed emotions about this. The B1G did the right thing initially by postponing the season only to later capitulate to the pressure of the almighty dollar. Sadly, this already appears to be a dumb move. The University of Michigan has placed their students under a shelter-in-place order, but naturally this doesn’t apply to the football team. Absurd.

With the B1G’s marginally more restrictive COVID rules, I suspect there will be more than 1 team that fails to play all 8 scheduled games and I’ll go out on a limb and say at least one team will fail to play more than 4 games (note: if any player tests positive, he must sit out for 21 days).
So, here’s to hypocrisy and sidelining all reason for some entertainment on Saturday…..

Game Summary: Maryland is sneaky athletic. They have a 5 star wide receiver and a very highly recruited dual threat QB (NU wanted him). If you recall, this team annually peaks in Week 1 or 2 (multiple wins against Texas in recent years). I doubt they will have much trouble moving the ball against NU for the aforementioned reasons. The question will be whether NU’s offense can show some life to make the game interesting.
I’m cautiously optimistic we will see more of an offense this year… and hopefully a well balanced one. Given that, I think Ramsey and Co. will actually be particularly effective at slowing the game down and making this a close one.

I like the ‘Cats late in this one if for nothing else than their experience in those games and Ramsey’s poise and presence as a 5th year QB.

Game Score: NU 27 – MD – 25

Play of the Game: Peyton Ramsey 25 yard read option scamper for a score.

Player to Watch: The Offensive Line. Without Slater, this could be ugly. They have to be exponentially better for this team to be worth a damn. 

Warrior to Watch: Rusty. Sources say he turns 48 today.

Other Game to Watch: Nah. Not much interest elsewhere this season.

ZVON

I like the Cats but haven’t paid attention much this off-season because I thought there would be a season-off.

Game summary: idk – cats QB looks somewhat decent. Which would be a nice change since last season.

Game Score: Cats 27 Maryland 14

Player to Watch: Peyton Manning Ramsey

Warrior to Watch: Hack Attack

Other game to watch: I haven’t watched one down of CFB this season so no idea

PAUL

Game Score: Cats 32 – Terps 27

TRENT

For some godforsaken reason I’ve got a lot of confidence in the ‘Cats on Saturday. This is based on three factors:

  1. Fitz is the second-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten.
  2. We have one of the most experienced teams in the conference.
  3. Maryland missed a lot of practice this fall.

In such a weird, disruptive year, having a coach who’s familiar with his team, and players who are familiar with each other, seems pretty important. Granted, our most important player is a transfer from another school, and we’ve got a completely new offensive coordinator. 

The ‘Cats are favored by 11 (!!!) against Maryland on Saturday. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the ‘Cats, it’s that you never take them as a double digit favorite at home, especially against a conference opponent. But it’s a good thing that you can’t bet the ‘Cats in IL because I would be very tempted this week…

Game Summary: I think the ‘Cats new offense starts strong and runs all over Maryland in the first half. Transfer QB Taulia Tagavoiola (not going to try and spell it right) has a rough start with a pick six and a fumble as the ‘Cats D hangs strong. Bowser goes wild and Peyton Ramsey works in enough play action to be dangerous. 

In the second half, the Terrapins storm back and wear down our defense with an intermediate passing game. They crawl back within a score, but a long run by Drake Anderson seals it late. 

Game Score: NU 31 – MD – 17

Play of the Game: Pick six by captain JR Pace. 

Player to Watch: Peyton Ramsey. Gotta be in his first start for the ‘Cats. 

Warrior to Watch: Hack. It’s his Bday!

Other Game to Watch: Michigan – Minnesota. We’re rooting for the B1G East in every crossover game (aside from our own).

ANDY

To be completely honest, when I first heard that the B1G season was cancelled, I thought it was a prudent move. When they decided to return, initially I wasn’t that excited. But lo and behold it’s the Friday before Gameday and I’m freakin’ AMPED. LET’S GO ‘CATS!

Game Summary: I honestly have no clue how things will go here. Lots of uncertainty. My thoughts are that the offense will not be the worst in the country as it was last season, but it will not be light years ahead either. Realistically somewhere right in the meaty part of the bell curve. I hope that is the case, because last season watching our team required eye-gouging. I think Maryland will have some successes, and we’ll have some miscues, but at the end of the day, we make a few more plays than they do and pull out the W.

Game Score: NU 24 – MD – 21

Play of the Game: Isaiah Bowser 42 yard scamper and score.

Player to Watch: Ramsey. Can he deliver like he did at IU? If so, giddy up.

Warrior to Watch: Tempted to call my own number here, but I’m gonna have to say Grayhack. Seems like a no brainer.

Other Game to Watch: B1G games I guess? I don’t really care what’s happening elsewhere, tbqh.

DOC ROCHE

No contest due to COVID.

Through Rose Colored Glasses – NU Season Outlook

The best part of 2020 is that it puts everything in perspective. The ‘Cats had a rough year in 2019. We won one game in the Big Ten, our last. Our three wins included Illinois, UNLV and UMass. But here in 2020, you look back and say, “eh”, maybe that year wasn’t so bad.

The  ‘Cats were picked to finish either 6th or 7th (Of 7) in The Big Ten West in every single CBS Sports Preseason poll. Every other team in the West was picked by at least one writer To finish in the top 3. Our highest ranking was 6th.

This is where I put on my optimism hat. If I know anything about the Cats, it’s that we zig when people expect us to zag. When we are expected to perform, we fall apart. When no one expects us to be any good, we are halfway decent.

Our offense finished last in the Big Ten last year. We played five different QBs. But why would this year be any different? When you get a solid QB and a solid new O coordinator, it’s a new variable factor. And again, perspective. When you’re comparing to Mick McCall, even a bunch of children piled on each others’ shoulders inside a trenchcoat, wielding a playcalling sheet, would look solid in comparison.

But seriously, Bajakian brings a new offense to the scheme. Up tempo. Runs a lot. Uses TE. No more Superbacks. And he’s got a QB to run the system. Again, we played 5 QBs last year. None of them were even mildly competent aside from Marty (and maybe TJ Green for 5 snaps). Now we pick up Peyton Ramsey “Bolton,” a starter at Indiana. PFF absolutely loved Ramsey last year…

That’s about all the time I have to write, so wrapping this up with a few quick hits.

Player to watch on offense: John “Purple” Raine, TE. This transfer from FAU had some decent success with the Owls last year and brings some experience to a position group that did absolutely nothing last year. We need some pass-catchers to get open this year, and I’ve got a good feeling that Raine will become a go-to target for Ramsey. Ramsey’s obviously the most important player on the team, but going with Raine here who’s a little more off the radar.

Player to watch on defense: Earnest Brown IV, DE. With Miller opting out on the D line and Gaziano now in the pros, a position of general strength for the ‘Cats gets weaker. Brown is now our best player on the line – can Earnest generate some pressure on opposing QBs this year?

Most important game: @Iowa week two. Most people are picking Minnesota or Wisconsin to top the Big Ten West, but I feel this Iowa game is more important because it sets the tone for the year. Kinnick is typically a brutal place to play, but no fans will take some of the sting out of it. Win this game, and it could propel us on a really nice path with a very manageable schedule this year.

We’re Back

I’M SO HAPPY WE ARE PLAYING B1G FOOTBALL ONCE AGAIN. THE YEAR WOULDN’T FEEL COMPLETE WITHOUT AN 11AM WILDCATS – TERRAPINS GAME AT RYAN FIELD IN 50 DEGREE WEATHER. INJECT IT INTO MY VEINS PLS. 

I AM OPTIMISTIC ABOUT NORTHWESTERN FOOTBALL IN 2020. HERE ARE 6 REASONS WHY I THINK WE COULD DO WELL THIS YEAR!!!

1.       We have more returning players than any team in the B1G – in fact, we have the most returning production in the nation. This was true at least until Rashawn Slater decided to opt for the NFL. Great decision btw. I’m assuming this stat is still true but I’m too lazy to double check. 

2.       We have a competent QB. I always liked Peyton Ramsey at Indiana. He can run, he can throw a decent ball, and he makes good decisions. Not flashy, not incredible, not insane. But solid. And solid is a huge upgrade over the heaping pile of dog shit that took snaps for us last year.

3.       We have one of the easiest schedules in the B1G. We avoid Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan – the three best teams in the East. There really isn’t a terrifying single game on our schedule, or a terrifying stretch of games. The schedule is well balanced to the point where the toughest two games we play back to back are @MSU and @Minnesota – not fun but manageable.

4. Who cares if there aren’t fans? NU has a home field disadvantage anytime we play a powerhouse school. So no fans may actually help us at home. And on the road, it’s definitely a help to us. Playing a game at Kinnick just won’t be as intimidating this year.

5.       We’re nerdier than other schools which equates to less chance of our players getting the rona. I’d say JK LOL but I think there is a bit of truth to that. Let’s be honest, the party situation at NU is lacking compared to pretty much every other B1G school. Less saliva swapping imo. Plus NU is again ranked as a top 10 school in the country. That means our players will make good decisions right? Though perhaps we should have followed LSU’s lead and just infected every kid earlier in the year to build up those antibodies.

6.       We have one less B1G game to play during the regular season. Smaller sample size favors the underdog. It inserts more randomness into the equation. Less games mean less chance for the ‘Cats to eff it up. Less is more in 2020. Let’s just be happy we have ‘Cats football at all!

Prediction Caturday – Indiana

Fitzy

The ‘Cats are sliding backwards, now sitting at 1-6 on the year after 5 straight losses. Can they turn things around in Bloomington in a night game against the 5-2 Hoosiers? Let’s see what the Warriors think.

 

TRENT

Game Summary: Well we had been trending closer and closer so it’s not a surprise that the ‘Cats got shut out on Saturday. In 5 of our 7 games this year, we’ve scored 10 points or less. That’s mind boggling.

I would say there’s good news and bad news, but surprisingly it’s really only good news. Firstly, this offensive ineptitude has whipped up what’s left of the fan base into a fury directed at Mick McCall. Fitz better get rid of McCall this offseason and use him as a scapegoat, because otherwise that fury will take aim at him. When your stadium is not even half full on Homecoming (and it wasn’t just because of the rain), the administration is going to take notice. Saturday was rock bottom for the Fitz era, no doubt about it.

The other good news is that we all know we’re bad, and thus there is no stress or pressure in watching a ‘Cats game. Our tailgate last Saturday was a blast, because you barely even needed to watch the game and could focus on the important things like drinking and more drinking.

My analysis of this Saturday’s game is that Indiana is actually pretty good, and Northwestern is not. Indiana is the only B1G team (aside from Maryland, against whom we are 1-0) who we have a winning record against. We are almost 13 point underdogs in Bloomington in a strange night game – my biggest guidance to you would be to take the under. Instead of further analysis, enjoy this drinking game for Saturday:

Sack – sip your beer

Offensive 3 and out – 1 drink

Change at QB – 2 drinks

Aidan Smith pick – 1 shot

Hunter Johnson pick – 2 shots

Safety – Malort shot

FG – Finish your beer

NU Touchdown – Vegas Bombs!

Game Score: NU 6 – Indiana 24

Play of the Game: We score points!

Player to Watch: Hunter Johnson

Warrior to Watch: Z Von

Other Game to Watch: Nebraska – Purdue. Nothing like some bad B1G football.

 

ANDY DAY

Game Summary: Indiana is not half bad. They are going bowling which is more than we can say for ourselves. I don’t think their defense is especially good, but their offense can score points in a hurry and we can not. I predict we will end our touchdown drought, but the game is never in doubt for Indiana.

Game Score: NU 13 – Indiana 27

Play of the Game: Drake Anderson TD scamper.

Player to Watch: Mick McCall – can he do anything against an average defense (#42 according to SP+)

Warrior to Watch: Trent – he came up with a drinking game for goodness sake.

Other Game to Watch: Gotta be the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, right?

 

ROGER

Have we reached the floor yet? Or do we still have further to fall? Note to Z Von (resident further/farther expert): while you could argue the use of either “further” or “farther” here (I’d listen and probably disagree), “further” makes more sense. Yes, we are referring to a distance which would ordinarily imply farther. However, in this case, the distance is metaphorical (though, for Marv in the video, it’s real). Thus, further. QED.

The offense can’t get any worse. I suppose we could score fewer than 13 points in November, but that’s about the only way it can get worse for them.

The defense can certainly get worse though. I fear it will in this one.

Game Summary: From an X’s and O’s perspective, Ohio State and Indiana are our two worst matchups this season. This Indiana team ran up and down the field with a backup qb against a very good Michigan State defense. They are VERY likely to do the same to us.

Unfortunately, our offense is appreciably worse than Michigan State’s.

This one will get ugly in a hurry as Indiana races to an impressive 7-2 start to the season.

Game Score: NU 7 – Indiana 45

Play of the Game: Andrew Marty throws a garbage TD pass in the 4th quarter. Hooray, points!

Player to Watch: Fitz – he’s being a real asshole and showing that he can’t handle adversity. Furthermore, I’m starting to wonder if Mick has become a convenient scapegoat for problems that stem from the head coach. The ‘Cats don’t need to win here (let’s not ask for too much), but Fitz damn sure better come to play.

Warrior to Watch: Z Von – he’s gonna have the Nest rockin.

Other Game to Watch: The Cocktail Party for sure. This is being overlooked here, but both UF and UGA still control their own destiny. Watch out for those Dawg fans in St. Simon’s Island this weekend.

 

DOC ROCHE

Game Summary: meh

Game Score: NU 10 – Indiana 21

Play of the Game: The van takes a well deserved week off.

Player to Watch: Hunter and/or Aidan

Warrior to Watch: Trent – please make sure he survives his drinking game.

Other Game to Watch: Florida – Georgia because of course

 

PAUL

Game Summary: It’s a night game so that’s fun, I guess.

Game Score: NU 12 – Hoosiers 18

Play of the Game: Mick runs a draw play on 3rd and 13

Player to Watch: Will Hunter play?

Warrior to Watch: Bag after the 3rd quarter.

Other Game to Watch: Super boring week. WLOCP it is.

Prediction Caturday – Iowa

The ‘Cats got trounced by Ohio State last Friday, but it’s Homecoming week so who cares? Iowa comes into town in what should be a low scoring defensive battle. Let’s see who the Warriors have in this one.

TRENT

Game Summary: The ‘Cats offense has scored 38 points in our four conference games this year, only putting up more than 10 points once. Iowa’s got a good defense and I see this trend continuing. 

 

Our defense is better than it looked against Ohio State last week – the Buckeyes just had way too many athletes and torched our secondary. Justin Fields is legit – OSU looks like the best team in the country right now. We should hold Iowa’s offense in check – this will be a very low scoring game as the 37 over/under indicates. Get ready for some boring ass B1G football.

 

In Fitz’s press conference Monday, when asked about the offense’s struggles he facetiously mimed looking under and around the podium for some kind of antidote that would fix everything. Well I don’t see any magic beans coming this week, Jack. 

 

Game Score: NU 5 – Iowa 13

 

Play of the Game: Gaziano sack for a safety

 

Player to Watch: Bowser. My boy ran pretty well last week against OSU.

 

Warrior to Watch: Hack. It’s his birthday week!

 

Other Game to Watch: ND – Mich

A DAY

Game Summary: What can I say. Hard to win football games if you can’t score. Obviously the offense is a dumpster fire, but we haven’t had any defensive scores this season either. Without a pick six Saturday, I don’t see any chance of us winning either. Let me be cleaya, Iowa is not good, but unless Jesus takes the wheel at OC this week, I don’t see how we can possibly beat them. Fire Mick.

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Game Score: Iowa 17 – NU 9 — Did we botch a two point conversion or kick 3 FGs? Only time will tell. Under bettors rejoice.

Play of the Game: Some sort of turnover forced by the defense? Please boys. We need ya.

Player to Watch: Riley Lees – hoping he trots out as the starting QB this week. Hell, he played in HS, how much worse could he be?

Warrior to Watch: Trent – He’s firing up the van bright and early. Will he be able to handle our brand new dish?

Other Game to Watch:Auburn @ LSU (Geaux Tigers)

ROGER

Last week went as expected.

This week is likely to do the same.
Game Summary: NU will have their fewest first downs of the year in this one. There’s a pro and a con to that. 
Let’s start with the obvious con…. minimal first downs means our offense isn’t doing anything. But, our offense is trash and we already knew that. So, that’s a con that’s like a neutral. We’ll take it.
The pro…. it’s going to be a close game. So, we won’t be picking up garbage late game first downs in this one.
Iowa isn’t exactly explosive. This game will resemble the Wisconsin one except I expect us to be even more conservative (if that’s possible) and avoid scoring 14 on ourselves.

Game Score: Iowa 13 – NU 7

Play of the Game: NU picks off a terrible Stanley toss and returns it inside the 10 setting up our only score of the game.

Player to Watch: the D Line. Kent and Brown are out for this one. The D is our only hope.

Warrior to Watch: Trent..he’s in charge.

Other Game to Watch: Auburn @ LSU… LSU is playing with fire each week with a very suspect defense.

PAUL

Game Summary: Cats Lose

Game Score: Iowa 15 – NU 8

Play of the Game: The Iowa kneel-down to end the 

Player to Watch: No one.

Warrior to Watch: Trent

Other Game to Watch: Wisco to get blown out by OSU in the Horseshoe.

HACK

Cats 69 – Iowa 42

The Trevor Bauer score

DOC ROCHE

Game Summary: oof

Game Score: Iowa 19 – NU 6

Play of the Game: THE VAN STARTS (again)

Player to Watch: Bowser back?

Warrior to Watch: Gotta be bag

Other Game to Watch: Wisco gets further exposed by the buckeyes. 

Prediction Friday – Ohio State

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The ‘Cats take on Ohio State in Evanston on a … FRIDAY NIGHT? Too bad the Keg of Evanston is closed, RIP. Luckily, it did not go gentle into that good night.

The Warriors’ contingent may be small for this game, but boy is it mighty. We’re going to need it as the Buckeyes come to town in what should be an overwhelming contingent of red. Let’s check out our predictions for the game.

Andy Trent Roger Roche Paul Hack ZVon
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TRENT

Game Summary: I got a feeling. Just got a feeling. The ‘Cats are 1-4, morale is quite bad, and the fan base is calling for McCall’s head. We are 25+ point underdogs on Friday at home against a top three Ohio State team, who you could argue has looked the best of any team in the country to-date. It’s the largest spread against us since Notre Dame in ’95. We all know what happened then.

No one thinks we will be remotely competitive in this game. Our defense is great, our offense is atrocious. How will we score any points against OSU? Even if we can hold their offense in check, we still need to outscore them (that’s typically how you win a football game). How in the world will that happen?

The past two years, OSU has had a weird conference loss on the road. Two years ago, they lost 55-24 at Iowa. Last year, they got blown out 49-20 at Purdue. The ‘Cats ain’t putting up 50 points in this one, I can tell you that. But, this has a similar feel in that it’s a weird conference game on the road.

It’s a Friday night game coming after a bye – I haven’t done any research but not sure we’ve ever played a game on a Friday before. It’s a weird situation. Ohio State will be looking ahead as they play a top 10 Wisconsin team next week.

Nothing against Ryan Day, who seems so far like he’s a great coach, but he simply isn’t Urban Meyer. He hasn’t been in a close game yet – neither has Justin Fields at OSU. It’s not the easiest thing for a team that’s been on cruise control the whole year to all of a sudden be thrown into a pressure packed situation in what should be a raucous Ryan Field atmosphere. Raucous for which team, I know not (if I had to guess it’ll be 60-70% OSU fans), but raucous nonetheless. If this game is somehow close after three quarters those Buckeyes’ butt cheeks will tighten. You bet that Fitz has had this game circled since last year – not just because it’s Ohio State, but also because they beat us in the B1G title game. He wants revenge (we’ve never beaten OSU with Fitz as head coach).

I subscribe to the George Costanza theory that if nothing is working for you, try doing the opposite. The best thing for those who care about the long term health of the ‘Cats this year is for us to get our doors blown off and then have a poor rest of the year, which should then lead to some coaching changes (cough McCall cough). If you look at it that way, it’s not necessarily a great thing for us to beat OSU, as that will give more reason for Fitz to not make any changes. As ‘Cats fans we can never have nice things, and it feels like we’ll be unsatisfied after this year – one way or another. We’re engrained as a fanbase to expect the ‘Cats to do something stupid and screw it up – the short term gain from beating OSU here would actually likely work against us in the long run.

Continuing down the opposite track – the ‘Cats are just a weird team and tend to do the opposite of what we expect. Every year it seems like we have a very bad loss – whether it’s Illinois State or Akron (I wonder if this is something in our DNA dating back to the loss against Miami of Ohio in ’95). Then we’ll typically beat a ranked team we shouldn’t. We zig when people think we’re going to zag.

Well this feels like a zig-zag game to me. There is no rational reason for this pick other than the fact that there’s no rational reason for this pick. Does that make any sense?

I got a feeling. Go ‘Cats.

Game Score: NU 24 – OSU 21

Play of the Game: ‘Cats get a defensive TD as Travis Whillock scoops and scores a fumble. Northwestern must score either on defense or special teams to be competitive in this game.

Player to Watch: I’ve got a feeling…that Hunter will start.

Warrior to Watch: Paul is in town for his first tailgate of the season.

Other Game to Watch: During the course of our tailgate on Friday, we’ll have a few appetizer games – Marshall @ FAU on CBSSN (5:30pm kick) and Pitt @ Cuse on ESPN (6:00pm kick). I’m not 100% sure we get CBSSN but we will find out. These will quite literally be the other games we’ll watch as we drink beer amongst a sea of red.

I’ll also go to the NFL, where it’ll be Pats @ Jets on Monday night. Fellow Patriots fans…beware…

 

ROGER

The Cats didn’t win last week, but they didn’t lose.

Unfortunately, the team actually has to play this week. Against Ohio State no less.

The Buckeyes have looked like one of the best teams in the country thus far. For whatever reason, they seem to have cleaned up the mental lapses that were all too common under Urban Meyer. So, I don’t expect them to not show up this week or any week down the stretch.

Game Summary: I think NU’s defense will put up a respectable fight. We’re going to get burned on the perimeter and we’re probably going to have issues setting the edge, but pretty much everyone does against Ohio State.

Sadly, a “respectable fight” for NU’s defense is going to look a lot worse in the box score. Why? Well, Ohio State is probably going to have an average starting field position somewhere around midfield. The Chicago Bears defense would struggle in that situation.

I don’t expect the offense to get 10 first downs in this game. We’ll score a garbage touchdown late to avoid getting shutout.

Move on to next week. Then, move on to next year.

Game Score: Ohio State 45 – NU 7

Play of the Game: Gaziano blindsides Smith and forces a fumble. This provides the Cats with their best field position of the game (Aidan throws a pick 2 plays later).

Player to Watch: Aidan… I assume Hunter won’t play because there’s no point in killing his confidence even more. If it’s Aidan, he should just go out there and sling it.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. Welcome back to Evanston, Paul. Too bad most of the crew is MIA this weekend.

Other Game to Watch: Not sure… is there anything good this weekend?

 

A DAY

Game Summary: It will look respectable in the first quarter. Maybe 7-0 OSU. But then things are gonna get out of hand. Fast. The defense will basically spend the entire game on the field, and eventually are going to get beat. Should be safe to turn off at half.

Game Score: OSU 45 – NU 3

Play of the Game: The lone field goal. Huzzah!

Player to Watch: Fire Mick McCall (dot) com

Warrior to Watch: Paul. Hands down. He’s from Ohio. He’s at the game. He’s gonna have a few cold ones. Let the boys play.

Other Game to Watch: Let’s say Michigan vs Penn State, because I love watching Michigan lose.

 

DOC ROCHE

Game Summary: Lolololololol

Game Score: OSU 40 – NU 6

Play of the Game: The Van starts!

Player to Watch: Aidan Smith. F*ck it, I’m going deep.

Warrior to Watch: Paul. I hear he’s gonna try to set the West Lot record for White Claw consumption.

Other Game to Watch: Let’s say Michigan vs Penn State, because I love watching Penn State lose.

 

PAUL

Game Summary: Hopefully some stellar D from the Cats. Hopefully improving to below average for the offense and Mick McCall. Cats keep it close, but can’t pull it off.

Game Score: OSU 23 – NU 13

Play of the Game: Strip sack in the first half in OSU territory by Paddy Fisher.

Player to Watch: Paddy Fisher

Warrior to Watch: Am I allowed to say me? Because I’m gonna say me. You can find me with the White Claw wizard staff.

Other Game to Watch: It’s Friday night, so I guess the Yankees Astros??

 

Z VON

Cats lose 42-8

 

HACK

Cats win 6-4

Prediction Caturday – Bye Week

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A close loss last Saturday against Nebraska sets up a tough game this week as the ‘Cats take on a Bye. While not known to put up points, Bye has a very stout defense, giving up zero touchdowns on the year. Let’s see how some of the Warriors see this one playing out.

 

ROGER

Last week was one of the ugliest displays of offensive football that you’ll ever see. Both teams were responsible for that. Nebraska is as far from “back” as NU is from the Rose Bowl.

Frankly, as dependent as Nebraska’s entire team is on Adrian Martinez, there was absolutely no excuse for the Cats to lose the game once Martinez got knocked with the score tied.

But….. Mick.

That brings us to this week’s matchup. Bye.

If history means anything, then the Cats should take care of business this week. Bye has never defeated the ‘Cats. It’s usually the week after Bye where Fitz’s boys struggle. One can only surmise that Bye’s physicality wears us down for the following week.

Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that Bye isn’t going down so easily this week. Defensively, we should be stout as always. It’s hard to see Bye scoring on us. But, I’m not sure where we’re going to find any points either. This game could go on for days…

Game Summary: RRPP. That’s run, run, pass, punt for those unfamiliar with the abbreviation. Mick loves the RRPP. Sources say that the ‘Cats offense has even mastered the RRPP against air. Knowing that, I don’t expect any movement on offense here because Bye’s defense is basically air.

Game Score: Bye 0 – NU 0

Play of the Game: After the ‘Cats complete their 27th series of RRPP against air, the officials decide to call this game the first tie since 1996. They can’t watch anymore. Neither can we.

Player to Watch: The QB… all 3 (including TJ) have been effective with the RRPP this year. Who is it going to be for this one?

Warrior to Watch: Z Von – put him in at QB. He tried it at halftime a few years ago.

Other Game to Watch: Florida at LSU…. Florida has looked absolutely terrible at times this year. Yet, they are undefeated with a recent win over Auburn. They still have a daunting stretch here with LSU and UGA, but I’m starting to worry about the Gators contending.

 

PAUL

Game Summary: Smoke meats. Drink beer. Be glad NU isn’t playing.

Game Score: N – 0 – 0 – N

Play of the Game: The brisket is perfect

Player to Watch: Pfeffer. The smokemaster.

Warrior to Watch: Day. He has some new art to enjoy this week.

Other Game to Watch: Penn State @ Iowa. Go Hawkeyes!!

 

TRENT

The ‘Cats are off this week – will be good to rest up before what should be a lovely home visit from Ohio State next week. I find a bye week as a nice time for reflection, soul searching and grumbling about McCall. It’s time to get nice and drunk and forget about our hapless offense. Enjoy the time off until the Buckeyes beat our brains in next Friday.

Game Summary: The ‘Cats get into some good clean American fun this weekend. So much fun, that the bye sneaks up on us and wins a close one. While our defense holds tough and holds Bye to just 1 point somehow, McCall McCall McCall and we score 0 points. It’s a cold and windy weekend, causing Kuhbander to miss a chip shot and do us in.

Game Score: NU 0 – Bye 1

Play of the Game: Bye finds a way to score 1 point.

Player to Watch: Bowser. He’s got the weekend off and will be gallivanting with Princess Peach to another castle.

Warrior to Watch: Hack. Big weekend in store.

Other Game to Watch: USC – Notre Dame. Fight on!