No Biggie lyrics today, sadly, but, on the plus side, we have Cam'ron, from his song "Welcome to New York City", which nobody besides me enjoys. You're probably wondering what this lyrics means. As far as I can tell, it's about shooting somebody's gopher, bread loafer, and then their chauffeur, but, then again, it's Cam'ron, so, the only person who really knows is Cam'ron. Right Cam?
Cam'ron: DAMMMMMN RIGHT
Little known fact: if you ever need backup on something, just say, "Right Cam? and Cam'ron will show up and say "DAMMMMMN RIGHT". It's helpful.
Anyway, it's now time to write about a mighty crappy football game that's gonna go down.When we got the ball: Normally I like to write an insightful paragraph about ways Northwestern can specialize their gameplan to the opponent and their strengths and weaknesses, but this week, all I got is this: Minnesota's defense sucks. Minnesota's run defense especially sucks. If there's a week to find out who our running back is, this is it.
Semi-under-the-radar player to watch: Jacob Schmidt. All the hype this week is about MIke Trumpy, but I'm curious if it's Schmidt's time to shine: he had an uncharacteristic spate of fumbling earlier in the year, but apparently the coaching staff thinks he's capable of being a productive runner - he's listed as the starter and made some nice plays last week, scoring two touchdowns including the nice option play - which, yes, was a major improvement from Dan Persa on his pitch work against Vanderbilt, but also saw Schmidt make some guys miss on the way to the end zone. Maybe Schmidt got bumped up because Arby Fields is equally proficient at fumbling but less good at running, maybe he didn't. But either way, he's NU's starter now - kinda - let's see what he does pounding it up the gut against an absurdly weak rush defense.
When they got the ball: Northwestern's pass defense has sort of floundered thus far this year, so it's great to see some good news in the return of David Arnold to playing shape and possibly Jared Carpenter too. Adam Weber from the Gophers can actually pass, and if they'll beat us, it'll happen through the air. Weber is a good quarterback, but he's incredibly interception-prone. While NU has picked the ball off a lot this year, a lot of them were just horrific passes - I'd like to see some actual good coverage on the outside force Weber to make throws he thinks he's capable of but really isn't.
Semi-under the radar player to watch: Kevin Watt. Unnoticed thing that's happened this year: Vince Browne has been an absolute beast at defensive end. In four weeks, he has six tackles-for-loss and four sacks, which obviously leads the team. As the year goes on, you'll see more and more effort from opposing defensive lines go into stopping Browne, which is great news for Watt. This year, he has three QB hurries, but no sacks and only .5 TFL's. I'm calling him stepping up this game, I predict we see him step up and force some stupid throws and maybe pick up a sack. I say this because it's my job to say weird things about under-the-radar players.
Spread: NU -5. Really?
My pick vs. the spread: Northwestern. If NU wins by less than five, and it's not a Central Michigan thing like last week where they randomly ran off a bunch of points at the end of the game, I'd be concerned. (Also, Central Michigan is probably better than Minnesota.)
My pick in April and jokey five-word summary: Northwestern, "Victory, right?" You see, it was a "Victory Right" joke. Because it should be a victory... right?
Cam'ron: DAMMMMMMN RIGHT
And my pick today...
Northwestern, 34, Minnesota, 20. Minnesota can and will rack up points. It's just that their defense is so crappy that Northwestern shouldn't struggle to hang 4+ touchdowns on them. For the fifth straight week, Northwestern is the better team, and should earn the W. Also, let's remember what it's like to have a running game, aight?
I'm actually excited for the game thread tomorrow. Get pumped.