Today is gameday! The No. 17 Northwestern Wildcats are damn near 30 point favorites to advance to 3-0 on the season, and we here at Sippin' on Purple are officially okay with that. For some reason this game is under the lights, so we have to wait for our beatdown.
It's a long day of college football highlighted by some other game between this guy whose last name is actually football and a team that did really well last year, but for some reason, we are Northwestern fans and the game that interests us is against Western Michigan. Here's everything you need to know about that game!
No. 17 Northwestern Wildcats (2-0) vs. Western Michigan Broncos (0-2)
Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, Il.
Game time: 9 p.m. Eastern time, 8 p.m. Northwestern time
TV: Big Ten Network
Announcers: Chris Denari, Jon Jansen
Radio: WGN720 (Dave Eanet, Ted Albrecht)
Game forecast: 61 degrees, partly cloudy, zero percent chance of precipitation, 8 mph wind from south
Odds: Northwestern -28.5 (had opened as -34, the biggest line since 1995)
Rankings: Northwestern 17 in AP poll, 16 in coaches poll, WMU unranked
What this means to each team
Northwestern: Get in, get out, don't get injured. The Wildcats have already handled a pair of matchups against BCS opponents, hanging tight against Cal in a strange road environment and pulling away for a 14-point win despite injuries to starting QB Kain Colter and RB Venric Mark, and absolutely dominating Syracuse in a win that wasn't as close as the 48-27 scoreline indicates. They were supposed to have a third BCS matchup in Vandy, but the Commodores cancelled and NU filled in with Western Michigan. It should be a rollover due to the talent disparity between the two squads, but it's a prime opportunity for Northwestern's youngsters to get in the game and show what they can do. There are some streaks to uphold -- NU has won four games in a row by 14 points or more, the longest streak since 1930, and is gunning for a fifth, which is probably a record.
Mark is still injured, and although he's listed as questionable, I think most fans would probably rather see him sit and get into gear for the Big Ten schedule rather than risk re-tweaking in a meaningless affair.
Western Michigan: The Broncos are still looking for their first win under P.J. Fleck, a charismatic 32-year-old, who's trying to reinvigorate the program. It would be huge if they pulled it off -- a road matchup against a ranked opponent! -- but the odds of them doing that are incredibly long. This team lost to an FCS squad in Nicholls State last week while Northwestern was pounding on Syracuse, so there is a long way between what NU can do and what WMU can do. The Bronco defense looked alright in Game 1, but it seems like that was just Michigan State being absolutely horrendous at offense, and it doesn't really seem like the team can move the ball in any way, shape, or form.This team will likely struggle in the MAC, and Saturday should not be pretty.
WMU blog: Hustle Belt
Northwestern injury report: Venric Mark (questionable)
Why to hate WMU (mainly just a discussion of P.J. Fleck's dance moves)
More from Sippin' On Purple:
- Northwestern vs. Western Michigan Predictions/Preview thread!
- Northwestern injury report vs. Western Michigan: Venric Mark questionable
- Fun with Numbers: Week 2
- Northwestern vs. Western Michigan: Q-and-A with Hustle Belt
- Northwestern vs. Western Michigan: Three reasons to hate the Broncos
- Big Ten Sampler: Week 2