There are going to be people who throw out bold predictions long before the college football season gets close. I’m about to do that right here and now. I’m going to predict that the Northwestern Wildcats win the Legends Division of the Big Ten in 2013. It may seem far-fetched for a team that hasn’t won much in the past, but this is a very different Northwestern team going into 2013.
The Wildcats return 15 starters from last season including Kain Colter and Venric Mark on offense. The lone question mark is the team’s offensive line, but that should be figured out early on. The Big Ten schedule lays out in a way that gives the Wildcats a great chance to win their division. There are trips to visit the Wisconsin Badgers and Nebraska Cornhuskers, but both of those teams are beatable. The only game that makes me think that Northwestern could be in trouble is when the Ohio State Buckeyes come to Evanston.
Northwestern will have had two weeks to prepare for the Buckeyes, and if they can somehow pull off the upset in this game, the flood gates could be open for running the table. I don’t think the Wildcats are going to go undefeated in 2013, however. I think this is a team that will finish 10-2, but their division isn’t as strong as it was last year. Colter and Mark will be in the Heisman Trophy discussion by the end of the season with their play. The pieces are in place for this to be the best Northwestern team since their Rose Bowl season of 1995.