This site is obvi caught up in basketball fever, because I'm obssessed with basketball, but, well, football! Yesterday I made my case for why the Northwestern-Minnesota game is so damn important, and then I went ahead and wrote a poopload about guys shooting things at hoops. But it's time to refocus: Northwestern has a chance to become bowl-eligible tomorrow, and they're playing a pretty crappy team.
The SoP staff has its say after the jump, what of you fools and ingrates?
Minnesota is the last of the three weak opponents on NU's roll towards bowl eligibility. After dispatching Indiana and Rice with ease, I am over having irrational fear of bad opponents; the team has been focused and ready to play each of the last three weeks. If both the offense and defense show up, NU can come close to the 58-0 beating Michigan put on Minnesota. I don't expect the Cats to challenge that margin, but NU will roll.
Northwestern, 42, Minnesota, 20
What is it about huge point spreads in our favor that always have NU fans nervous? I'm as shocked as anyone that a 5-5 Northwestern team that lost to Army can possibly be a 16.5-point favorite over a Big Ten squad. I'm still not 100% sold that our defensive turnaround is real, but I do think we'll handle Minnesota just fine. Maybe not by 16.5 points, though. We need this win to be bowl-eligible, and so I don't think there's any danger of our players looking past Minnesota. We just need to get lots of shots on net, screen the goalkeeper and stay out of the penalty box.
NU 31, Minnesota 17
I've been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to come up with something witty.
I have failed.
Northwestern 28, Minnesota 21
I'm a sucka for love, and right now the Northwestern football team is giving me reasons: Northwestern went through a rough patch, and right now, everything is clicking. Besides two silly picks last week - his first two on the season that weren't in some way deflected besides the Iowa duck - Dan Persa
is absolutely clicking right now. Jeremy Ebert
is receiving like a man possessed. NU is actually running the ball. The defense, after looking like they couldn't stop anything against anyone - we didn't give up less than 34 points in our first five Big Ten games - is apparently turned around after handling Nebraska and not giving anything to Rice. Everything's clicking, and on the other sideline is a miserable Minnesota team. MarQueis Gray scares me a tad, but really? They're 2-8 and don't deserve to be 3-7. NU should win. And with five wins, this is the win Northwestern needs. It's a one-game playoff to make a bowl. Leggo.
Northwestern, 38, Minnesota, 20