2016-17 Football Previews – (MAC) – NIU Huskies
Looking for 2016 Northern Illinois Huskies predictions? After Boise State, I think it is safe to say that Northern Illinois has been the most successful mid major CFB program, at least in terms of some longevity. Last year they took a little bit of a dip finishing just 8-6 but that was preceded by 5 straight season of at least 11 wins.
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2016-17 College Football Preview – Northern Illinois Huskies
2015/16 Record: 8-6
Head Coach: Rod Carey
Odds to win MAC: +650
Odds to win National Championship: Bet The Field
Win Total: 8.5
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2016 NIU Huskies Handicapping
They have established themselves as a very tough out and with all due respect to Boise they do so with power not trickery. They are once again going to be one of the top contenders in the MAC.
Normally the Huskies are the favourite to win their division in the MAC but this season all that love is being heaped on Western Michigan. Of course these teams will play and the winner of that will probably play in the title game.
Northern Illinois is hoping that better health this season (the loss of QB Drew Hare really hurt them last year) will make for a smoother ride and return to double-digit victories.
That is going to be a challenge with the MAC West being deep and their non-conference schedule featuring potential conference winners South Florida and San Diego State.
Northern Illinois Huskies Predictions: Team Strengths
The Huskies should have one of the best offenses in the MAC this season. They have a nice set of triplets in QB Drew Hare, RB Joel Bouagnon and WR Kenny Golladay.
They are going to be able to pound away with Bouagnon, one of the most physical runners in the nation when they need just a yard or two and that helps establish their philosophy.
The Huskies have had some super productive pivots in the past and Hare has a similar skill set to those of past heroes Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch. Those guys are tough measuring sticks but if he stays healthy Hare can lead this team to a lot of points.
They also have three linemen returning up front to give Hare the time he needs conduct the offense.
A couple of starters return at all three levels of a defense that has to improve. Among them is cornerback Shawun Lurry.
You might not know the name but he was all MAC last year when he led the nation with nine interceptions.
Northern Illinois Huskies Predictions: Team Weaknesses
The Huskies defense has been giving up steadily more points over the last few seasons. Last year they gave up almost 28ppg and that is a figure they will have to drop if they want to return to past levels of success.
Lurry is the only elite performer in the group but interceptions don’t always translate from year to year, that’s just the way things are.
There is a lot of concern about the front 7. Only two starters return there and they were not the most stout group last season. Lacking size they might get pushed around a bit.
When Hare went down last season it proved how critical he is to the offense being what it wants to be.
They got some reps for backup QB Tommy Fiedler but it is clear he is just a guy, not the next guy.
Northern Illinois Huskies Prediction:
One of the things I usually love about Northern Illinois is that they love to challenge the big guys. Last year they went into Columbus and lost by only 7 points to a Buckeyes team that was ranked #1 at the time.
They also lost by just 3 at Boston College. This season the names are not as big but they have a couple of challenging tilts, at South Florida and home to San Diego State.
Both of those programs will be in contention for their respective league titles, especially SDSU who is the favourite in the MWC.
To find themselves back in the MAC title game they likely have to win at Western Michigan.
They beat them last year at home, and get to host Central Michigan and Toledo this season (a pretty favourable schedule overall) – I believe all those teams tied for the division lead a year ago.
The makings are there for another strong season. If I were betting them now I would focus on those MAC title odds.
If they lose to USF and SDSU, they might be underdogs in both games, they could still come back strong and make a play for the league title.
It is kind of what happens every season.
2016 Northern Illinois Huskies Football Schedule
- 9/3/16 10:30 PM ET @WYO
- 9/10/16 TBD @USF
- 9/17/16 TBD SDSU
- 9/24/16 TBD WIU
- 10/1/16 TBD @BALL
- 10/8/16 6:30 PM ET @WMU
- 10/15/16 TBD CMU
- 10/22/16 TBD BUFF
- 11/1/16 8:00 PM ET BGSU
- 11/9/16 9:00 PM ET TOL
- 11/16/16 TBD @EMU
- 11/25/16 TBD @KENT
What do you think about our 2016 Northern Illinois Huskies predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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