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Northwestern vs. Western Michigan: gameday study guide

Between now and October 5, it is unlikely Northwestern will be tested or challenged, and far more unlikely it will be beaten. The Wildcats face two easy opponents in consecutive weeks – Western Michigan and Maine – then get a week off before welcoming Ohio State to Evanston for perhaps the biggest game of coach Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure. If Northwestern stays unbeaten the next two weeks, and looks just as dominant along the way as it has to date, there’s a great chance it will enter the OSU game as a top-15 team.

Its opponent looming in the distance, the Buckeyes, registered at No. 4 and No. 3 in the latest AP and Coaches’ polls, respectively, and should retain their top-five foothold if they can win games at Cal and against Florida A&M and Wisconsin. No one should be looking ahead to Ohio State quite yet; if this college football season has proved anything, it’s that the competitive gap between the power conferences and smaller programs, FCS included, is not as vast as we might think. Northwestern does have a huge showdown with Ohio State lurking, but it’s not unfathomable that it could get tripped up before then.

The first small school hurdle comes today: say hello to Western Michigan.


Everyone picked Northwestern. Duh. The real intrigue here is whether our picks panel was confident enough to lay the 30.5 points (on a side note: I really hope you’re not gambling on this game. If you are, please check in to the nearest mental health care facility as soon as possible) the Wildcats were spotted for today’s matchup.

It was something of an uneventful week of practice and press availabilities; here are the highlights: Monday press conference notes, Tuesday practice notes, Wednesday practice notes. The release of the depth chart and injury report elicited similarly lukewarm reactions.

Bet you haven’t read one of these in a while (if ever): a feature on Northwestern’s long-snappers!

It’s not going to be easy to sit down, ignore other more intriguing college football games going on around the country, and watch Northwestern (likely) beat up on the Broncos. I propose three reasons you should throw conventional TV viewing logic to the wind, stay true to your purple pride in the face of non-competitive football and keep your eyes glued to NU-WMU for 3-plus hours.

A satirical guide on how not to put together a non-conference football schedule.

You won’t see Western Michigan’s new “gameday traditions” at Ryan Field, which is probably a good thing. Two games into the season, Broncos fans are already growing sick of new head coach P.J. Fleck’s *bright* ideas.

The calm before the hysteria starts this week. Let the countdown to Ohio State commence. Fans are already excited for the Oct. 5 visit from the Buckeyes, and will get more excited as OSU faces two tough opponents (Cal on the road; Wisconsin) in the coming weeks. The wait – or what’s left of it – will strain the depths of your patience. Jon Davis explains how to stave off the anxiety.

Comments early this week from coach Pat Fitzgerald implied some of the redshirt freshmen aren’t playing as well as they should be. Who is Fitz referring to? I think I might know.

So maybe you’re not quite as interested in reading about Western Michigan as you were Northwestern’s first two opponents, but I heartily recommend this week’s opponent links; they don’t call it MACTION for nothing, after all.