2009 Northwestern Wildcats College Football Predictions
2009 Northwestern Wildcats Predictions
2008 Record: (9-4, 5-3)
Coach: Pat Fitzgerald, 10th year (19-18 overall)
Off. Coordinator: Mike McCall (2nd year)
Def. Coordinator: Mike Hankwitz (2nd year)
Returning Starters: 14 (5 offense, 8 defense, punter)
Ret. Starting Quarterback: No
Offense: The Wildcats have to find a replacement for quarterback C.J. Bacher. He managed the offense well as they averaged 24.4ppg and 358.5yds/game (61st in the nation). Senior Mike Kafka (6-3, 210) takes over as starter after serving as the backup for three years. Kafka is an excellent athlete who ran for a Big 10 quarterback record of 217 yards against Minnesota last year and completed 69.2 percent of his pass (3 picks). They return just five starters on offense and no skill players. They have very little experience at running back as junior Stephen Simmons, who ran for 178 yards on 62 carries, true freshman Alex Daniel, and Arby Fields are in the running. At receiver, sophomore Jeremy Ebert and junior Sidney Stewart showed potential last season, but have to step up after they lost three 100-career catch receivers to graduation. The offensive line is the strength of the offense with four returning starters, with three sophomores who got their feet wet as freshmen last season and excelled.
Defense: The defense returns eight starters from last year’s unit that allowed just 20.2ppg (26th in the nation) and 340.5yds per game (49th in the nation). The key will be the health of senior DE Corey Wooton (6-7, 265), who led the team in sacks with 10, and added 16 tackles for loss. He is recovering from knee surgery in the spring. At the other end, sophomore Vince Browne (6-5, 270) returns after earning Freshman All-American notice on the other side. At linebacker, sophomore Ben Johnson (6-4, 215) moves from safety to outside linebacker. Junior SLB Quentin Davie (6-4, 225) and MLB Nate Williams (6-2, 225) return to lead the linebacker corps. The secondary is the strength of the team led by senior Brad Phillips (6-4, 210), who recorded 109 tackles and three interceptions last season. Senior CB Sherrick McManis (67 tackles, 2 picks) is a key cog.
Outlook: The Wildcats opened up with a 5-0 record last year due to a soft schedule. They have a chance to go at least 4-0 with 1-AA Towson, Eastern Michigan, Syracuse and Minnesota at home to open up. The conference schedule is strong, but they do miss out on Ohio State. The offense will need a few games at least to get cohesive.
This Big Ten conference prediction is courtesy of the ATS Sports Blog. If you are looking for winning college football betting picks be sure to choose ATS Consultants this year, A featured sports handicapping service on Touthouse.com