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Are you ready for four reasons that Northwestern will beat Michigan today in the Big Ten College Football Game of the Week (CFGotW)?
Ready or not, here they are:
Reason No. 1: Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa is back! He was my preseason selection for the No. 1 quarterback in the Big Ten. He tweaked his Achilles tendon in last week's last-minute loss to Illinois, but he's been cleared to play against Michigan.
He is far and away better than any quarterback the Wolverines have faced this season. He's also the type of leader who will lead the Wildcats to their first Big Ten win of 2011.
Reason No. 2: It's Michigan's first road game! Part of the reason that Michigan is 5-0 is they've played five consecutive home games. Though Ryan Stadium may not be the noisiest stadium in the Big Ten, Wildcat fans will be on their feet cheering for their team. It will be the Wolverines' first test away from the friendly confines of Ann Arbor, and I believe they will fail.
Reason No. 3: Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is one of the Big Ten's better coaches! He is great motivator and he'll have his team ready after the disappointing loss to Illinois in the Big Ten opener.
This game will be the first road test for Michigan's first-year coach, Brady Hoke. He and his team will need to corral Northwestern's offense and generate a balanced offensive attack to win this game.
Reason No. 4: The strength of Northwestern's defense is stopping the running game, and that is the heart of Michigan's offensive attack. Wildcat senior Vince Browne was selected the top Big Ten defensive end in my preseason review of conference defenses.
Senior Jack DiNardo was an honorable mention on the Top 10 defensive tackles list. Northwestern will force Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson to throw the football, which is his greatest weakness.
With Nebraska suffering an embarrassing loss to Wisconsin last weekend, Northwestern could be a "sleeper" candidate for the Legends Division title with Dan Persa as their quarterback.
Northwestern 31, Michigan 28