We're Talkin' Schedules - Northwestern

Finally! We've finished the entire conference. I honestly thought I would do like three of these and just give up. But it turns out that I've really enjoyed previewing the conference this way. I hope you've enjoyed it too.

Woody Division: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Bo Division: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska

Now: Northwestern

2010 Overall Record: 7-6
2010 Big 12 Record: 3-5

Non-Conference Opponents
9/3: @ Boston College (7-6)
9/10: Eastern Illinois (2-9)
9/17: @ Army (7-6)
11/12: Rice (4-8)

Divisional Opponents
10/8: Michigan
10/15: @ Iowa
11/5: @ Nebraska
11/19: Minnesota
11/26: Michigan State

Crossover Opponents
10/1: @ Illinois
10/22: Penn State
10/29: @ Indiana

Do Not Play
Ohio State

If You Only Watch One Northwestern Game in 2011 (Other than against us): I think the Michigan State game on Nov 26 is pretty interesting. Although I do think the game against us could be NU biggest game though.

I like the MSU game here simply because it's a divisional game with two teams that could very easily be contending for the division. I know as a Michigan fan, we're going to be watching Sparty very closely down the stretch. Northwestern is just one of those teams that can sneak up on you.

Non-Conference Loss: Probably the opener against BC on the road. The Eagles aren't a bad team, and this will be a good test for Fitzgerald and his Wildcats right out of the gate. I'm also intrigued by the Army game...mostly because I just like it when B1G schedule one of the military academies.

It's a Trap!: Well, NU's schedule is kind of a mess. They have their divisional games split up nicely, a non-conf game in November, and never play more than 3 home games in a row. Every other B1G's trap game is against Minnesota, so I'll take Indiana just to be different. 

NU comes off of a three game stretch of Michigan, @ Iowa, and Penn State...all three of which will be very competitive for them. They travel to Bloomington and then Lincoln the week after. That game at Indiana fits the definition of a trap as far as I'm concerned.

The Game Destined for ESPN3.com: Eastern Illinois on 9/10 or Rice on 11/12. Both probably.

Final Analysis: Northwestern is one of the many reasons why the Big Ten is such a difficult conference to play in. They are a strong team in that they have a great coach in Pat Fitzgerald, and they truly believe they can win against any opponent...and they play like it too. But, as we all know, skill takes over at a certain point and that's where NU drops off more often than not.

This schedule set the Wildcats up for a possible run in 2011. They have the players to do it, they have the coach who can get them there, but they just need the breaks to go their way and all of the dominoes to fall for them. Not playing Wisconsin and OSU are two big breaks they already have under their belt.

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 3-1
Division Record: 2-3
Crossover Record: 2-1
Overall: 7-5

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