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Persa and his offense can march down the field at will, but the season opener may be the ultimate game changing moment. It is usually never stated this difficult right out of the gates.
However, if the ‘Cats want to be taken seriously they will need to find a way to win on the road at Boston College.
BC had an exceptional defense last year, but their offense was pretty bad for most of the season (Montel Harris is out).
That may be the case again and if NW can bottle up the run against Montel Harris’s backups, they should sneak out with a victory to help springboard their way to a successful season.
Northwestern will still be in some shootouts, so the defense will get lit on occasion and they will be in several tight games in 2011. Boston College in the opener on the road in Chestnut Hill will be tough and so will trips to Iowa and Nebraska.
Their home games will make or break their bowl chances and how good of a bowl game they get. Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan State all come to Ryan Field.
If they can split those four and then split their four road games (Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, & Nebraska), the ‘Cats will not only be bowling but will have a great chance at achieving a nine win season.
Predicted Finish: 8-5, 3-5
Predicted Bowl: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Predicted order of finish in Big Ten: Fifth in Leaders, Eight Overall