Odds and Schedule
After 10 wins in 2012, Northwestern fell apart in 2013 losing its first seven Big Ten Games. The Wildcats were incredibly unlucky losing a couple overtime Games and also at Nebraska off a Hail Mary. Now with a mostly healthy lineup, they’ll be looking to get back to a bowl Game, as long as the union issues don’t take time away from the field.
5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the over/under total wins for Northwestern at 6.5 Games.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian is back for his senior season and is set to be the QB on every play, unlike when Kain Colter was there. Siemian battled heel issues for a good part of last season, but showed flashes of his arm, most notably in the season-ending 414-yard, 4 TD Game. In addition, Venric Mark also returns from an injury-riddled season that only saw him carry the ball 31 times after totaling 1,366 yards and 12 TDs the year prior. Mark is a huge part of this offense, as well as on special teams. He’ll be spelled by Treyvon Green, who saw quality minutes last season.
The offensive line returns all five starters, which will help Mark out even more. And in the receiving Game, last year’s leaders Christian Jones and Tony Jones both return for Siemian and could be slated for huge seasons. This team has the quality to be great, they just need to stay healthy.
The defense is another story for the Wildcats, although they aren’t all that bad. They had a number of solid Games last year, but also struggled against the top teams in the conference. Nine starters return to the unit, so improvement is likely. The linebackers are filled with experience led by Chi Chi Ariguzo and the line has several pass-rushers that can be factors. The secondary also returns all Four starters, a blend of experience and speed.
Northwestern’s Schedule isn’t all that bad, and it should leave them with a good chance to reach bowl status. Like last year, they should be locked in for a nice start with three wins. However, the Big Ten Schedule starts rough and a road Game at Notre Dame is thrown in for November.
The Wildcats get Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan all at home and will have to win one of those to reach their six-win goal. If they have Four wins going into their final two Games at Purdue and vs. Illinois, that should be enough, but they’ll be looking for more. Don’t be surprised if Northwestern upset one of the bigger name teams in the Conference like Nebraska or Michigan or even on the road at Minnesota or Iowa.
If this defense can show some consistency, the offense has the ability to Scoreon most teams and could even see this team battling for third or Fourth in the West division.
2014 Northwestern Football Schedule
Aug. 30 vs. California
Sep. 6 vs. Northern Illinois
Sep. 20 vs. Western Illinois
Sep. 27 at Penn State
Oct. 4 vs. Wisconsin
Oct. 11 at Minnesota
Oct. 18 vs. Nebraska
Nov. 1 at Iowa
Nov. 8 vs. Michigan
Nov. 15 at Notre Dame
Nov. 22 at Purdue
Nov. 29 vs. Illinois