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Northwestern Wildcats Schedule, Record Predictions // B1G 2019, Potluck #4

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Lakeshore magic for the ‘Cats?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Holiday Bowl - Northwestern v Utah Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

And with that, somehow, the “Not Hate” content of Northwestern Wildcats Week has come to a close.

Today, in the last Potluck, we’ve got Northwestern record predictions, schedule analysis, and the best places to eat when you want to be waterfront.

Food: Waterfront dining options

A favorite media talking point regarding Northwestern has been discussion about the new practice facilities that are lakeside. In part, this is due to the novelty of the situation, wherein a school that has not historically spent big on facilities has finally upgraded in this area. It’s also due in part to it being, well, lakeside, and people like that sort of thing.

Do you have a favorite lakeside or waterfront location to eat or get drinks?

Boilerman: I live in Indiana where the creeks are mosquito infested and the rivers run brown from the farm runoff of Northwest Ohio and Northeast Indiana. I’m sure there’s some picturesque restaurant around here with a beautiful waterfront location, but I’ve not found it and I’m not going to actively pursue it.

LPW: there’s several restaurants and bars along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan to choose from: I like getting drinks at Rivers and at City winery along the riverfront.

Beez: Can’t believe Northwestern is ponying up the money to build a lake next to their practice facilities. Seems expense.

It is difficult in North Carolina, and a lot of the South, in my experience, to have a waterfront experience with any regularity if you don’t live on the actual ocean coastline. The biggest thing I miss about being in Wisconsin is the abundance of lakes and rivers and ponds and such. Bodies of water are quite rare around here.

MC ClapYoHandz: Chicago has a better bar/restaurant scene along the river than on Lake Michigan itself, but there are some places on the lakefront. Waterfront Cafe is fantastic for ambience. Great views, 10/10 good dogs, live music sometimes, though the service/food sometimes fluctuates. My favorite might be Lakefront Restaurant, which has some more green space between itself and the lake but inside has the best aesthetic and the food is good. If you’re a true city person and want to keep that vibe while near water, just go to the rooftop bar at LondonHouse, or most any other rooftop bar along the river.

Townie: I’m not a lake guy, myself. But I have a few favorite waterfront dives. In Mayport, Florida, you have to go to Safe Harbor Seafood (next door to Singleton’s which appeared on Diners Drive Ins and Dives). It’s the best fried shrimp basket in the area. I also love the fish sandwich. And while I’m there, I usually take home 5 pounds of the huge white Mayport shrimp.

Another favorite is further south. If you find yourself driving south of Key Largo on U.S. 1, drop in to the Lorelei on the bay side. I used to go see Big Dick and the Extenders play there on sundays. Have a big rum punch and watch the tarpon roll in Florida Bay.

BrianB2: Maryland has a coast! LOLOL all you mid-western idiots and your “lakes”. Shut up Rutgers, the Jersey Shore is a vapid wasteland only the most vile of human beings dare visit (okay, Cape May is aight). I have had way more coffee than I generally do this morning, so excuse my rudeness, or don’t, screw you.

That being said, Maryland’s most known coastal destination is assuredly Ocean City, and I wouldn’t really recommend any OTE reader go out of their way to get there. If you should find yourself stuck there, however, like I sometimes do, there are a few places to check out. Most of the restaurants are bay-side, and are over-blown tacky beach themed hell-scapes designed to impress tourists who may not frequent the beach often, you know, like people from the midwest. Avoid these places, and by all means possible, DO NOT go to “Seacrets, USA”, you will regret it, you will regret it immensely. If you must sit in the sand while you imbibe, I would suggest Macky’s instead. BUT, the place I always try to go when I am down there is Backshore Brewing, it is right on the boardwalk, it is small, the beer is average, but you can literally stare at the ocean from their patio.

WSR: Growing up we used to go to a dumpy little dive called The Millside on the edge of the Crow River in Central MN. I’d get the same thing nearly every time (A steak sandwich that was a little dried out, some of the greatest fries you’d ever taste, a pop, and then an ice cream cone in whichever flavor sounded great at the time.), lose to my Dad at a game or pool or two, and follow it up by seeing how far we could throw rocks across the river. It’s actually still there, but the food has gotten good and that just doesn’t really appeal to me very much.

Creighton: Almost every summer I spend a week on Gull Lake in Minnesota, and on that lake there’s a dumpy little bar (complete with a dock for your fishing boat) called Zorbaz (I think it might actually be a chain). Zorbaz has a mediocre beer selection, drinking games like hammerschlagen, great fish tacos and above average pizza. It’s probably not even the best lakeside bar on that lake, but I’ve been going there for years and I’m not about to change now.

MNW: I’ve never been to Zorbaz, but people really do swear by it. I think it’s more the “cabin time” mystique of leaving the Twin Cities.

Closer to home, Mrs. MNW and I have had a lot of success biking the ~12 miles to Wayzata Brew Works. The Get Lei’d Gose is one of her favorite beers—it trends more to the kettle sour style, in my mind, but it’s a delicious tropical beer regardless. Right on the shore of Lake Minnetonka, with a nice patio and lake views of boats I will never be able to afford. But WSR is right that the best places are the dive bars right on the water. Bonus points if you can pull your boat up to them. The Walter Athletics Center is great and all, but there’s something about a glittering facility right on the water just isn’t my jam when it’s food.

In the interest of preparation ahead of Northwestern’s game at Stanford, though, about 12 years ago my great uncle (who lives in Mill Valley) took my family to Spinnaker, which extends out over the Bay, and I tried to eat a whole appetizer of lump dungeness crab by myself. It was delicious.

Football: A Repeat?

2018 wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty damn good for Northwestern. Here’s how the schedule shakes out:

What does 2019 hold for the Wildcats?

Boilerman: So here’s your fun betting fact of the day: Northwestern last season was terrible as a favorite and amazing as an underdog. If you bet with that strategy last season, you would’ve gone 10-2-2 (Thanks for that tidbit on my morning drive to work, VSIN).

I’m not crazy about starting a new QB (granted, he might be the most talented QB to ever play at Northwestern) on the road, so the Stanford game is a solid tossup. That said, it should be next to impossible to repeat last year’s non-con ineptitude. I’ll assume they lose but cover (they are currently a 6.5-point dog) at Stanford and take care of business against flat out bad teams in UNLV and UMass. I’m struggling to visualize how they do in conference play as they get the tougher crossovers at home but get Wisky and an improving Nebby outside of Evanston. Just FYI, Vegas has their win total pegged at 6.5, I’ll take the over. My shot in the dark is 8-4 (6-3 B1G).

LPW: I’ll take us at 9-3 (losses to OSU, wisconsin, and Purdue). Why losing to Purdue? I’m but sure due to our losses in secondary will enable us to Rondale Moore.

Beez: L, W, L, L, L, L, L, W, W, W, L, W. 5-7, I guess

Townie: I see four lock wins here: UNLV, Nebraska, UMass, and Illinois. I see six tossups: Sparty, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, and Minnesota. But I only see 2 sure losses in Stanford and Ohio State. I think you lose a stupid game (to Indiana) and win a crazy game (Wisconsin). So I’ll say 7-5 with losses to Indiana, Stanford, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, and Iowa.

Then you’ll probably play North Carolina State in the Belks bowl or something like that…

BrianB2: Losses to Stanford, MSU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Iowa, Purdue, Minnesota. Wins against, UNLV, Indiana, UMass, Illinois. So that comes to 4-8 (2-7). Ouch, that seems harsh, but I’ll stick with it because HAWT TAKEZ.

WSR: 8-4 with a non-conf loss to Stanford. Nobody will remember their abject mediocrity this year because they won’t win the West.

Creighton: I have losses to Stanford, wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, toss-ups against Sparty, Iowa, Purdue, and Minnesota. Wins against UNLV, Indiana, UMass, and Illinois. I’ll say it rounds out at 5-7.

MNW: I had penciled beez’s scenario, more or less, as the Wildcats’ worst-case scenario: A five-game slide against the top teams of the Big Ten that they just can’t pull out of, given the Stanford non-conference game and little margin for error.

I am inclined to be a little more forgiving, as I have talked myself into a couple things over the course of all the excellent good fair attempt-made Northwestern content from this week:

  1. Hunter Johnson will be a Clayton Thorson-level replacement at quarterback and will only get better with age. 2020 is The Year. (Until it’s not The Year, because it’s never The Year.)
  2. The running game will improve, because I believe in the offensive line. I don’t know what it is about the Kurt Anderson schtick, but it’s got me believing that a line that could barely clear holes in Rutgers’ defensive line will pave a nice road for Isaiah Bowser.
  3. Joe Gaziano, Destroyer of Worlds. A slight step back on defense isn’t enough to derail the season hopes.
  4. GRADUATE TRANSFER PUNTER Andrew David.

Extrapolating that out to a full season? Give me 2-1 in the non-conference, 5-4 in the Big Ten. Losses to Ohio State and Nebraska; 1-2 against Iowa, wisconsin, Michigan State; and 3-1 against Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, and Illinois. That’s 7-5 (5-4), tied for second in the Big Ten West, with a nice trip to BELK or CHEEZ-IT for their troubles.

Brian: I’m a little late to the party, but I like the place Pat Fitzgerald has the Wildcats, and don’t see any reason why they can’t consistently be upper-division team in the West. That said, their schedule is no picnic. I’d place Northwestern’s over/under at around seven wins. If the ‘Cats exceed seven wins, they’ll have earned them.

Poll

in Big Ten play, Northwestern will finish...

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    7-2 or better
    (43 votes)
  • 30%
    6-3
    (71 votes)
  • 26%
    5-4
    (63 votes)
  • 20%
    4-5
    (48 votes)
  • 2%
    3-6
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    2-7 or worse
    (4 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Overall, the ‘Cats go...

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    10-2 or better
    (27 votes)
  • 13%
    9-3
    (32 votes)
  • 25%
    8-4
    (60 votes)
  • 28%
    7-5
    (67 votes)
  • 16%
    6-6
    (40 votes)
  • 2%
    5-7
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    4-8 or worse
    (6 votes)
238 votes total Vote Now