Noah Coffman: Northwestern 30, Minnesota 17
I just can’t pick against Northwestern anymore. If they lose this week, you can all feel free to blame me. But this Minnesota team has serious issues, and despite last week’s beatdown of Nebraska (probably more of an aberration than anything in a Big Ten season full of them), it will be very difficult for it to pull off the upset this week. The Gophers should be able to keep it close against a Northwestern team that hasn’t shown an ability to pull away from anyone outside of Bowling Green, and Tyler Johnson should have a big game, but the Wildcats won’t have much trouble coming away with this one in the end.
Davis Rich: Northwestern 24, Minnesota 14
Following a ten-point win over Purdue, I’m predicting a similar result against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers dropped 54 on a Nebraska team that looks like it just gave up on Mike Riley, but Minnesota has failed to score more than 27 points in conference play. Northwestern’s defense has fluctuated between stingy and opportunistic over the course of its five-game winning streak, and there’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue, even without safety Jared McGee. The Wildcats make it six in a row.
Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 27, Minnesota 20
Yards won’t come as easily against the Wildcats as they did for Minnesota against Nebraska. Fitzgerald’s rush defense is ranked seventh in the country and that doesn’t bode well for quarterback Demry Croft's tendency to tuck and run. The Golden Gophers have met expectations in P.J. Fleck's first tour around the Big Ten and they'll meet them again on Saturday with a loss, although a late score pushes the line.
Tristan Jung: Northwestern 34, Minnesota 17
Northwestern’s good! Minnesota is not!
Henrique DaMour: Northwestern 20, Minnesota 17
Northwestern will have to get it done through the air again. Minnesota’s front seven will come ready to play, and unfortunately I just don’t see Justin Jackson having the kind of Nebraska-esque performance he might want to have. That’ll wait until next week against Illinois. Thankfully, the Wildcat offense has shown adaptability over the course of the season and is running the speed option on fewer and fewer fourth-and-shorts. Not sure who out of the Skowronek-Wilson-Nagel trio will have a big game, but Thorson will find one of them for a TD and each will rack up 50+ yards en route to a close sixth straight win.
Will Ragatz: Minnesota 21, Northwestern 20
Unlike Noah, I’m not backing down now. I’ve picked Northwestern to lose in all five games of this win streak. I don’t actually think NU will lose, but since these predictions don’t really mean anything and I’d like to see the Cats keep winning, here we are.
Talia Hendel: Northwestern 24, Minnesota 17
Northwestern’s passing game has been solidly consistent lately. It will have to be once again, as the odds of Minnesota not keying in on Justin Jackson are extremely low. That said, he and Jeremy Larkin will still need to play well to keep the offense moving, but I agree with Henrique: it’ll be up to Clayton Thorson and the receivers to find the end zone. Northwestern should outplay Minnesota, but the weather may prove to be an issue for an NU offense which will largely take place in the air. Even so, I expect Northwestern to come out with a win after a close game.