It's that time of the week, son, the time where we are optimistic for no reason and later it will make everything hurt.
Northwestern-Iowa has a recent history of being high level hilarity, and, well, although there's plenty of reasons to expect the outcome to be different, I think we can all assume that the way it will happen will be funny.
That aside, this game is huge. Northwestern is 0-2 in the Big Ten. With a loss to Iowa, we'll be 0-3. With a loss to the team that beat Iowa handily last week, we'll be 0-4. This game is the breaking point of crappiness. Luckily - or perhaps unluckily - Iowa is in the same boat we're in.
Jump for me and thems' predictions and then comment!
Iowa looks scary to a fan still recovering from two consecutive weeks of teams toasting the secondary with deep throws. Still, while Marvin McNutt will not be even remotely covered on most downs, Iowa also has shown no particular familiarity with defense. I'm expecting a shootout more reminiscent of Iowa's loss to Iowa State than their loss to Penn State. The difference is that Northwestern won't need overtime to put the Hawkeyes away. Northwestern wins, 42-31, and Hayden Fry's Moustache Ride pens a 10,000 word all-caps post at BHGP that consists entirely of expletives, names for Pat Fitzgerald, and the magic potato.
Northwestern 42, Iowa 31
I'm not just sippin' the purple drank this week, I'm chugging it. And in my purple haze, I'm going to pick NU to upset Iowa yet again. Fitz has my attention this week. Maybe it's because he let us step into his office. OK, technically, Mike Hall on BTN got invited to step into his office, but I'm charmed nonetheless. I'm believing Fitz when he says that changes are coming - in schemes, in personnel. Season's on the brink; we better be pulling out everything in the playbook we've got. The Fitz Intensity Meter should be off the charts this week. We've got an angry coach, a team with its back against the wall, an opponent we've pwned. This is a game the Wildcats better be up for. In Fitz I trust.
Northwestern, 31, Iowa, 20
We're quite lucky that Iowa isn't good, and by all outward appearances, the two teams we've lost to after holding early leads are quite good. But I look at Northwestern and I see a team without conviction. They're quite talented - talented enough to get leads on ranked teams - but defensively, this team can't put together a drive to save their lives. (Or a game, for that matter.) The coaches stressed that individual breakdowns, for a nth consecutive week, led to big plays that doomed Northwestern. The coaches also stressed that their play on third downs was pathetic, as evidenced by 13 out of 17 conversions. When you're bad at both a) giving up big plays and b) you're consistently being ground up on third downs by a better opponent, there is by definition nothing you're doing right on defense. I expect NU to go up big and lose again. I expect to post a GIF of Patrick Ward getting kneed in the balls Sunday. We will again marvel at Marvin McNutt is so open and note with great angst at what a poor passing quarterback is able to do against us. We will be Northwestern fans.
Iowa, 28, Northwestern, 21