2016-17 Football Previews – (Big 10) – Wildcats
Looking for 2016 Northwestern Wildcats predictions? The Wildcats are coming off another one of their surprise seasons. The fact that you can use another and surprise in the same sentence kind of tells you everything you need to know about this program. Yes there is some talent on campus but nowhere near what other programs haul in on a regular basis in the Big Ten.
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2016-17 College Football Preview – Northwestern Wildcats
2015/16 Record: 10-4
Head Coach: Pat Fitzgerald
Odds to win Big Ten: +3300
Odds to win National Championship: 500/1
Win Total: 6.5
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2016 Northwestern Wildcats Handicapping
As cliche as it sounds this teams wins by superior execution and taking advantage of every opportunity.
B10 teams always take them too lightly and they get punished for it. You would think they would learn by now.
In the recent past the Wildcats tend to yo-yo, following seasons with strong results with those that are more middling.
Likely that is because those things that give them advantages in one year are difficult to sustain, especially when you beat a team the last time.
If they are going to have a comparable season to 2015 they are going to have to have another strong year by the defense coupled with an offense that is much more productive.
It might be too much to ask.
2016 Northwestern Wildcats Predictions: Team Strengths:
Last year Northwestern was 12th in the country allowing just 18ppg.
This year they can be among the best in the nation again thanks to their strength up the middle beginning with DTs Tyler Lancaster and C.J. Robbin up front, LB Anthony Walker in the middle and S Godwin Igwebuika in the secondary.
Walker is as good as they come at linebacker, with a great shot to win the Butkus award at the end of the season.
The offense will be led by RB Justin Jackson, the leading returning rusher in the Big Ten.
He put up more than 1400 yards last season but does not get the notoriety he deserves thanks to all the current great backs across the nation and the profile of the program.
He will run behind a line with three starters returning. QB Clayton Thorson should be able to build off the fact that he was a starter as a freshman.
2016 Northwestern Wildcats Predictions: Team Weaknesses:
Thorson may have experience but he did not have a good debut season last year, they kind of won in spite of him.
He needs to be better in every facet of the game but at least he showed he has the guts to hang in there, he is a big guy too.
Part of the problem of the passing game can also be laid at the feet of the receivers.
None of them are all that impressive but it was a young group last year and hopefully someone can emerge as a go to threat.
The passing game doesn’t have to be elite just provide some balance for an old school defense and running game team.
The defense is more stout than dynamic and is losing their top sack artist from a year ago in Deonte Gibson (9 sacks). They are banking on two new defensive ends and believe strongly that reserve Ifeadi Odenigbo can bring the heat.
2016 Northwestern Wildcats Predictions:
The Wildcats should have one of the better defenses in the B10 and the nation but matching last year’s 10 wins (including one over Stanford) is going to be very tough.
The B10 schedule is very challenging this season with trips to East Lansing, Columbus and Iowa City.
It is possible they could be undefeated before taking on the Hawkeyes in Week 5 but even their opener against Western Michigan, who is the favourite in the MAC, is no gimme.
Even if the defense is elite this still may be no better than a 7-5 team and with Northwestern you never know if they will take full advantage of the lightweights in the B10 because they still have to execute. Their margin is always pretty thin.
If HC Pat Fitzgerald gets another double digit victory season he should be coach of the year. No future plays are really standing out with this group.
2016 Northwestern Wildcats Football Schedule
- 9/3/16 12:00 PM ET WMU
- 9/10/16 3:30 PM ET ILST
- 9/17/16 8:00 PM ET DUKE
- 9/24/16 7:30 PM ET NEB
- 10/1/16 12:00 PM ET @IOWA
- 10/15/16 3:30 PM ET @MSU
- 10/22/16 12:00 PM ET IND
- 10/29/16 5:30 PM ET @OSU
- 11/5/16 TBD WIS
- 11/12/16 TBD @PUR
- 11/19/16 TBD @MINN
- 11/26/16 TBD ILL
What do you think about our 2016 Northwestern Wildcats predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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