One last time for this pandemic football season, we’re giving predictions. In what may be the final game for many notable Wildcats, No. 14 NU (6-2 B1G) takes on Auburn (6-4) in Orlando, with the New Year’s Day kickoff set for noon CT on ABC.
Eli Karp: Northwestern 26, Auburn 16
Big scary SEC, right? I’m not so sure in this matchup. Northwestern seemingly has more to play for, and a win would mean a lot to the program and cap a very positive year. RCB has another notable performance, and look for Tommy Adebawore to stand out with no Eku Leota.
Lia Assimakopoulos: Northwestern 30, Auburn 24
Hank gets his 400th win, and that’s all that matters.
Daniel Olinger: Northwestern 18, Auburn 11
Trying to rationalize Northwestern football is already a fool’s errand, but trying to give accurate analysis of Auburn at any point time is like trying to find a needle in a haystack of angry commenters. They get beat by less talented teams, then beat Alabama at home for some reason. They finish undefeated in 1993 and 2004 with no title to show for it, but in 2013 win their final two home games in movie-like fashion to reach the BCS Championship. They truly are college football’s chaotic nightmare child, turning every rational sporting contest into a lucid dream.
Colin Kruse: Northwestern 25, Auburn 22
If and only if NU’s defense can contain SEC Freshman of the Year Tank Bigsby on the ground, then Peyton Ramsey and company should have enough to get across the finish line to end this chaotic season on a high note. Roll Tide.
Mac Stone: Auburn 24, Northwestern 20
I’m seeing a lot of people (AKA pretty much the whole staff) pick Northwestern here, so I’m going to do the opposite. Both teams come into this matchup facing some tumult within their own programs, with Auburn firing Gus Malzahn and the ‘Cats seeing multiple transfers of impact players. Bo Nix is one of the more mobile quarterbacks Northwestern has faced this season, and I’m very concerned about what SEC Freshman of the Year Tank Bigsby (great player, even better name) might do to NU’s defense. I would love to be wrong though.
Jacob Brown: Northwestern 17 Auburn 14
Hank gets #400 after getting robbed of the Broyles award. The NU defense suffocates Bo Nix, and Ramsey does just enough to squeak out a win without Kyric, Bowser and Drake.
Didi Jin: Northwestern 27, Auburn 16
Ramsey bounces back from the Big Ten Championship with his best game yet in a Northwestern jersey as Bryce Kirtz breaks out with 80 yards receiving and a touchdown to start off the new year with a bang.
Ben Chasen: Northwestern 27, Auburn 20
Without Eku Leota, the task of pressuring Bo Nix falls chiefly in the hands of Earnest Brown IV and Tomi Adebawore, who struggle in the first quarter but eventually get it together, recording at least a sack each. On the offensive end, John Raine hauls in a touchdown pass and Evan Hull scores on a 30+ yard rush en route to a ‘Cats win. Hank gets #400 and the receives the traditional Gatorade bath instead of Fitz.
Josh Miller: Northwestern 31, Auburn 16
NU’s vaunted defense shows why it deserve national recognition while Cam Porter rushes for 90 yards and two touchdowns, assuring Wildcat nation the future is bright even with the departure of Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson.
Meredith Revsine: Northwestern 28, Auburn 14
Peyton Ramsey and the ‘Cats start off 2021 strong, earning Hank win #400. Cam Porter dominates the Tigers’ D, rushing for two TDs, while the NU defense shuts down Bo Nix and Tank Bigsby.
Michael Barthelemy: Northwestern 20, Auburn 16
The ‘Cats are going to play their hearts out in this game to try and send Hank off with his 400th career win and end what has been a memorable run. The same can’t be said for Auburn, who is in between coaches and has had an overall disappointing season. Effort takes this one, and the ‘Cats have the edge.
Liam Warin: Northwestern 20, Auburn 14
Hank was robbed. Six players are in the transfer portal. Peyton Ramsey might not come back. Fitz might not come back. This team will play the game of its life and continue making Bo Nix look like Bo Pix en route to a huge victory that represents the changing of the guard in college football.
William Karmin: Northwestern 28, Auburn 17
In his last game ever with Northwestern, I expect Hank to dial up quite the game plan on Auburn’s inconsistent, yet dangerous QB Bo NIx. Expect exotic blitz packages that result in a few interceptions for Northwestern’s new-look sky team. The offense should do just enough to stay afloat. ‘Cats steam past Auburn and Northwestern enters a critical offseason with momentum.
Among those who’ve picked all games
7-1: Eli Karp, Liam Warin
6-2: Dan Olinger, Mac Stone, Didi Jin
5-3: Lia Assimakopoulos, Colin Kruse
Among those who’ve picked seven games
7-0: Sarah Effress
6-1: Ben Chasen, William Karmin
5-2: Josh Miller
2-5: Jacob Brown
Among those who’ve picked four games or fewer
2-0: Andrew Katz, Meredith Revsine
1-0: Noah Jones
2-1: Jack Izzo
1-1: Matthew Albert
1-2: Noah Coffman, Michael Barthelemy