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2021 Northwestern Football Schedule Preview, Record Predictions

A curtain-raiser with Michigan State, ANOTHER damn Duke game, and friendly enough crossovers. Could Northwestern repeat atop the West?

Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Auburn v Northwestern Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Thus concludes Northwestern Week.

RU in VA: ‘sees MNW pleading in the writers Slack chat’

‘takes pity’

‘offers uninformed Northwestern record prediction’

I’ll be honest, I follow Northwestern football closer than I follow the Chicago Bears. But that’s like saying I like liver and onions over a fresh white dog turd. There are no winners.

I think NW can get to 8 wins. I really do! Their toss-ups are probably Rutgers, Iowa, Purdue - and maybe MSU? Man, that’s actually gonna be a lot of information on how this season is gonna go - a MSU NW week 1 matchup. I think they take IndSt, Duke, Nebby, Minnesota, and Illinois, and struggle with the beginning of this paragraph. Definite Ls include the triumvirate of overconfidence and “fans that didn’t actually go to this school” - Mich, OHST, and Wisco.

But then again, it’s pretty great being NW. If you tank out, you can blame it on the “tough academic standards” and if you run the table, it’s a Miracle on Ice 1984-style. It’s just Pat Fitz has a head that’s 3x the size of Kurt Russell’s.

WSR: All right, so they’re losing to Minnesota.

They’re beating Nebraska, Illinois, Duke, Ohio Indiana State, Purdue, Michigan State, and Rutgers. They’ll probably split the Black and Gold Northwestern and wisconsin games somehow (most likely in infuriating fashion for everyone involved and/or watching), lose to Michigan in an abhorrent rock fight, and finish 9-3, which will be 2nd in the B1G while finishing 12th in most offensive categories.

I would like to provide the disclaimer that this is all based on the assumption that Pat Fitzgerald has been running the defense the entire time he’s been the HC and that Mike Hankwitz was just there to make really good coffee for the staff.

If that’s not the case and Hankwitz is actually a wizard, then Northwestern could be in really big trouble. Like “let’s talk about Northwestern having troubles with a Scott Frost team” type troubles. In the unlikely but preferable outcome that the defense isn’t up to what we expect in terms of making the games unwatchable when combined with their offense, look out. At that point we’re trying scraping together wins to try to find a way to almost be bowl eligible.

Beez: They’re losing to MSU, OSU, Rutgers, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. At least. Duke has fallen off the tiny cliff they were on a few years ago, Nebraska is Nebraska and Purdue would be good if they stopped doing things like losing games to teams that lose to Rutgers and Illinois. I think I’m picking Michigan as the “lol what? How?” upset of the year, both for Michigan from the losing standpoint and NW from the winning.

I’m being told—touches earpiece—yes. I’m being told that they play Ohio, not OSU. Seeing as I’ve already staked myself to NW having a trash-ass season, though, they’re losing to Ohio too.

5-7 is the NW ceiling this year. The floor is probably 2-10. Hoping for an extremely floor-y season.

HWAHSQB: I’ll have whatever Beez is having.

Seriously though, I think they’ll miss Drankwitz a lot and Lovie’s Beard is no longer on the sideline at Chambana so no free HAT giveaway. Brats Bulimia owns Fitz. Northwestern under Fitz has shown that no non-conference cupcake is automatic so the only guarantee on their schedule is losing to scUM.

I’ll call them 2-1 in the non-con and 4-5 in B1G for 6-6 and it won’t matter that they get a multi-mollywhopping downstate in the last game of the year.

LPW: I think we’ll go 9-3 with losses to Michigan, Minnesota and wisconsin.

pkloa: Going 3-0 against the B1G East on the way to a 6-1 start (loss to Duke, because NW), Fitz will have purple nation eyeing Indianapolis reservations. Put that shit on hold, though, because the Cats will lose out. 6-6 regular season.

Kind of...: I’m going quasi-inversion of 2018: 7-5/4-5. Lose to Sparty, win three straight non-conference games, and then be .500 the rest of the way. Split with Rutgers/Nebby; split with Minnesota/Iowa, beat Purdue to clinch a bowl game, and deprive Illinois of a bowl bid in a way that ratchets up the HAT. Probably some stupid manball shit where Bielema over-plays his hand and Fitz gets a little snarky.

Don’t forget...UW/NW didn’t happen in 2011 or 2012. The last time Bielema and Fitzy were on opposite sidelines, it was 70-23 Badgers, with all 70 coming in the first three quarters. Ill/NW is going to became a 90% version of Iowa/NW post Fry’s infamous comment.

MNW: My favorite Chicago-area food is [insert here], because [insert Potluck comment here].

Good talk.

Let’s say 2-1 in the non-conference. I’ll believe this team that has yet to truly name a starting quarterback isn’t a 2019 Northwestern iteration when I see it, and I don’t think there’s enough to go on yet with Ryan Hilinski (or, sure, Hunter Johnson or Andrew Marty) that we’re really confident in early-season Northwestern.

That said, give me revenge against Michigan State—I like Northwestern to at least come out more disciplined and playing the run-establishing game Fitz likes without the mistakes that plagued them in 2020—and a cautiously-navigated 4-2 (2-1 B1G) into the turn.

From there, we learn what Northwestern really has. The ‘Cats will lose against Michigan, because that’s what Northwestern does. I’m comfortable taking Purdue at home and Illinois on principle as NU wins, and it wouldn’t be the first time in the Fitz Era they’ve found last-season wins to go bowling. Let’s say there’s one of Minnesota-wisconsin-Iowa to get Northwestern to 7-5 (5-4).


Northwestern in the Big Ten:

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    2-7 or worse
    (10 votes)
  • 8%
    (17 votes)
  • 20%
    (40 votes)
  • 28%
    (56 votes)
  • 19%
    (39 votes)
  • 17%
    7-2 or better
    (35 votes)
197 votes total Vote Now


Northwestern overall:

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    4-8 or worse
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    (4 votes)
  • 13%
    (26 votes)
  • 30%
    (60 votes)
  • 21%
    (43 votes)
  • 16%
    (32 votes)
  • 9%
    10-2 or better
    (18 votes)
196 votes total Vote Now