This has been pretty much a nightmare start to the year for Northwestern. With losses to Michigan State and Duke, and only defeating Indiana State by 18 points. It feels like they just aren't playing up the level they're capable of.
Well, they have another chance to show that they deserve to be a potential bowl team this year as they take on Ohio. A game that, even despite their poor start, Northwestern is favored to win big.
Oddsmakers are big on Northwestern this weekend. Northwestern is a 14.5 point favorite to win, and they're given -700 odds to win outright. That equates to an 87.5% chance of winning the game. Meanwhile, Ohio is given +550 odds, or an implied 15.4% chance to win.
This is a game that Northwestern is not just expected to win, but is expected to win big. Something that hasn't happened yet this year.
Ohio and Northwestern have met just 4 times in their history. Northwestern has won 3 of those games. In fact, they've won the last 3 matchups.
That's right, Ohio won the first matchup these two teams ever played way back in 1973. Since then it's been all Northwestern with wins coming in 1996, 2005, and 2008. Of those 3 wins, 2 of them were by at least 3 TDs. So, the precedent is there.
Northwestern needs a nice big win to gain some kind of momentum to bring into the Big 10 season. Without it, who knows how ugly this year could get.
Hopefully the boys can get out of their own heads and get back to playing at the level we know they're capable of.