So...we didn’t do great last week. Of our ten pickers, only Caleb Friedman correctly forecasted a Duke victory. We were way too optimistic, but then again, no one saw a 24-point beatdown coming. Northwestern comes back home this week, and while the team has done very little to inspire confidence, Bowling Green simply isn’t very good. The 0-2 Falcons are coming off a loss to an FCS school (we’ve all been there) and are 22-point underdogs heading into Saturday’s game. The guest picker of the week is NU baseball reliever and local product Danny Katz. As always, make your predictions in the comments below.
Danny Katz - Northwestern 28, Bowling Green 10
Northwestern will bounce back and roll to a 28-10 victory over the Falcons by dominating the line of scrimmage thanks to the efforts of Jared Thomas, Tommy Doles and Brad North. The three-headed-monster will protect and allow Clayton Thorson to pass for 300+ yards with a TD of his own on the ground. On the defensive end, big Joe Gaziano will be pressuring James Morgan all day and the Sky Team will suppress the Falcons’ aerial assault. Expect the ‘Cats to jump out to an early lead after John Moten IV (2018 Heisman short-list candidate) takes the first kickoff to the house and for them to pull away in the second half with a huge third quarter.
Will Ragatz - Northwestern 34, Bowling Green 16
There are no sure things with the way this Northwestern team is playing right now. The Wildcats are just 2-3 in their last five non-conference games, and problems persist on both lines and in the secondary. But with that said, even the most pessimistic side of me can’t pick Bowling Green in this one. The Wildcats still, believe it or not, have a lot of talent, and with the added bonus of being at home, under the lights, in front of all the screaming freshmen, they’ll get it done. The Falcons lost 35-10 at Michigan State in Week 1, but they’ll cover the spread on Saturday. Random prediction: Northwestern will score a defensive touchdown in the first half.
Martin Oppegaard - Northwestern 27, Bowling Green 14
After abandoning the run and managing only 22 rushing yards against Duke, the Wildcats will look to establish their running game early and often. Justin Jackson’s seven carries from last week are the least he’s gotten in his career, and Mick McCall will feed the Big Ten’s active leading rusher until he can’t run anymore. John Moten IV and Jeremy Larkin will get their touches in this one as well. That said, the clock runs the entire game, the Wildcats rush for two touchdowns and Clayton Thorson throws for another in a two possession win. Bowling Green covers the lofty 22-point spread with relative ease.
Josh Burton - Bowling Green 31, Northwestern 30
I was tempted to pick Duke last week but went against my gut and chose the good guys. Not making that same mistake again. The ‘Cats are huge favorites but this team just hasn’t done enough in the first two weeks of the season to make me think that — either offensively or defensively — they can play well for a full 60 minutes. Bowling Green isn’t that good but if there’s any conference that seems to always have Northwestern’s number, it’s the MAC.
Tristan Jung - Northwestern 27, Bowling Green 20
Is Northwestern better than South Dakota? That question remains to be answered, but I still think so.
Talia Hendel - Northwestern 31, Bowling Green 17
Although last weekend was disappointing, I haven’t lost all faith. In terms of the run game, I would be very surprised if Justin Jackson isn’t able to return to his regular, impressive form. Even if that doesn’t happen, Bowling Green’s weak passing defense should allow Clayton Thorson and the receivers to rack up yardage. Finally, I’m hoping and expecting the defensive backs who’ve stepped into the starting lineup to further adjust to their new roles.
Noah Coffman - Northwestern 30, Bowling Green 28
Northwestern’s hobbled defense, which gave up 17 points in the first half to Nevada and allowed Duke to convert on third down a whopping 15 times, will have only marginally more success against a Bowling Green offense that is slightly better than they get credit for. But the Falcons’ defense, on the other hand, is just plain bad. Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson will have bounce-back games, Charlie Kuhbander will hit a couple of key field goals, and the Wildcats will pull out a way-too-close victory over a struggling Falcons squad.
Caleb Friedman - Northwestern 27, Bowling Green 14
Ian McCafferty - Northwestern 31, Bowling Green 23
IT’S MACTION TIME BABY! So...Northwestern should not lose this game. And if they lose this game, there’s suddenly doubt in even a 6-6 finish. Bowling Green is not good and Northwestern should win this game sort of how they won the Nevada game, by their talent slowly but surely wearing out Bowling Green. However, this game is going to be DUMB. This will be my fourth trip through the wonders that are Northwestern playing a MAC team at Ryan Field. Here are the three others:
September 6, 2014: Northern Illinois 23, Northwestern 15 (this game was 0-0 at halftime)
September 26, 2015: No. 17 Northwestern 24, Ball State 19 (Ball State led 10-7 at halftime)
September 3, 2016: Western Michigan 22, Northwestern 21 (Northwestern fumbled the game winning touchdown into the endzone)
So history isn’t exactly on the Wildcats side here. They’ll win, but it will be in as uncomfortable a fashion as possible.