by Chris Johnson (@ChrisDJohnsonn).
Chalk it up to poor scheduling, early-season rust, travel fatigue, or some combination therein -- the Big Ten was patently beat down in nonconference play last week, including an 0-3 mark against Pac-12 teams. Three promising title contenders -- Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois -- traveled westward and came home disappointed, a large heaping of national media scrutiny in tow. Lost amid the Big Ten mockery was Northwestern's victory over SEC upstart Vanderbilt, a rare win against the nation's putative conference king. And so through two weeks of this college football season, the Wildcats, with two wins against BCS league opponents, are outshining their much ballyhooed league competitors. We haven't entered conference play, so it's difficult to envision how this impressive nonleague performance will translate against Big Ten opponents, but it's nonetheless encouraging to see NU outclassing some of the conference's preseason frontrunners. The next test for the Wildcats, Boston College, is on paper their most manageable one yet, but it would be foolish to underestimate a team that just one year ago nearly toppled NU in the season-opener. A 2:30 pm (CT) kick and perfect conditions greets NU in this week three showdown. With a chance to move to 3-0 on the line, the Wildcats can extend their early momentum with another strong outing. Will NU claim its third straight nonconference victory, or will it fall in the same inter-league trap suffered by its Big Ten brethren last week?
We hope this post finds you in good temperament as you proceed through whatever gameday routine accompanies these precious fall Saturdays. Hopefully our preview material has you ready for the upcoming matchup, but in case you missed anything, below we’ve compiled a last-minute study guide for any opponent queries that may yet stand unresolved. It never hurts to get some last-minute cramming in before watching your beloved Wildcats in game action. That said, read up, and enjoy the game!
Numbers never tell the whole story, but they provide a nice baseline analysis for comparative and, you know, numerical, purposes. This link will bring you five important stats regarding Boston College to consider before Today's matchup.
Unless you're a BC diehard, the chance of you having detailed knowledge of the Eagles' roster seems immediately remote. Fortunately, we've singled out players to watch, plus our take on BC's biggest strength and weakness.
There was some trepidation from NU media members heading into last week's matchup with Vandy. This week, uniformity abounds on the weekend picks panel. A list of well-informed predictions and subsequent justifications.
The art of the win; it's a segmented process requiring a productive coalescence of the three key phases (offense, defense, special teams). Dominating two, if not all three, phases is a winning formula. Does NU have what it takes to outperform its opponent on both sides of the ball?