Davis Rich: Michigan 31, Northwestern 10
NU punches its visitors in the mouth with an early touchdown, but it’s all Wolverines after that. Michigan’s front seven makes life hell for Clayton Thorson and John Moten IV. The NU defense looks okay, but Michigan has tons of opportunities to score because NU’s offense can’t get off the field fast enough.
Noah Coffman: Michigan 37, Northwestern 6
I was close to picking Akron two weeks ago, but this week I’ll finally get out of the starting blocks. Michigan’s front, especially their interior, is one of the best of the country. The interior of Northwestern’s offensive line is not. I anticipate a completely stymied running game and a constantly harried Thorson, creating little to no ball movement. On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats will put up a good fight, but solid field position thanks to turnovers and three-and-outs should swing this game towards Shea Patterson, his cannon arm, and the Michigan offense. Northwestern has struggled recently early in Big Ten play, especially against highly-ranked foes. Expect that to continue.
Lia Assimakopoulos: Michigan 34, Northwestern 13
Caleb Friedman: Michigan 34, Northwestern 17
I see Michigan’s defensive front dominating this game. Northwestern will put up a fight, and coming off of a bye should help, but there’s just too big of a talent gap here. The Wolverines win comfortably.
Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 24, Michigan 23
As Caleb mentioned, Northwestern’s bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Of course the off-week wasn’t without its casualties; the loss of Jeremy Larkin takes away a scuffling offense’s biggest playmaker, but I think the team rallies around the retirement of the redshirt sophomore. John Moten IV and Isaiah Bowser are fully capable of sharing backfield duties and I fully expect Clayton Thorson to be a full-go on Saturday. Crazier things have happened. The Wildcats get back on track.
Avery Zimmerman: Northwestern 21, Michigan 17
Alright, hear me out. I know there’s a massive discrepancy in athleticism between these two teams, but Northwestern just has a tendency of playing up and down to their opponents’ caliber. Lark’s retirement is obviously a huge blow for NU, but with Hance and Doles returning to the fore, the O-line will be more capable of handling a tenacious Michigan front 7. On the back of a packed student section and a bye week, NU pulls off the wild upset.
Lukas Stachtiaris: Michigan 38, Northwestern 10
I see Northwestern’s tough start to the season continuing this week against Michigan. Northwestern’s offense has not been able to produce past halftime all season, and with the absence of Jeremy Larkin, I expect a similar story as the Wildcats take on their best opponent yet.
Brett Haensel: Michigan 42, Northwestern 13
I see this game looking a lot like Michigan’s 56-10 blowout of Nebraska last Saturday. A marginally-more-talented Wolverines team will overwhelm a Northwestern defense that has struggled so far to say the least. Playing against a superior defensive front, the Wildcats will have trouble keeping pace on offense, especially with the loss of one of their only truly consistent sources of offense in Jeremy Larkin.
Matthew Albert: Michigan 42, Northwestern 17
I see the bye week helping the Wildcats but I’m far from optimistic about this game. The loss of Jeremy Larkin will turn out to be a big one, as Isiah Bowser ends up outshining Moten IV. The Michigan front seven will overpower the Northwestern offensive line and while Clayton Thorson already has had limited time, this will only be exacerbated. The Wildcat offense struggles to find its footing as Patterson intricately picks apart the Northwestern secondary.
Joe Weinberg: Northwestern 24, Michigan 34
After back-to-back disappointing weeks and the heartbreaking loss of one of the team’s only bright spots thus far, I expect the Cats to come out strong in front of a sold out Ryan Field crowd and jump out to an early lead in their Big Ten home opener. The game will be close heading into the fourth quarter, but Northwestern’s offensive line will only be able to contain the Michigan front seven for so long and the Wolverines, the much more talented and athletic team, will prevail.
Davis Rich and Caleb Friedman: 2-1
Noah Coffman: 0-3
Everyone else: 1-2