Northwestern Wildcats vs. Illinois Illini
Big Ten rivals will collide in Champaign on Saturday, as the hometown Illinois Fighting Illinois, ranked 24th in the nation, play host to the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern opened the season with back-to-back victories over Boston College and FCS foe Eastern Illinois. Unfortunately for coach Pat Fitzgerald, his Wildcats dropped a 21-14 decision to Army back on September 17. The team has had two weeks to prepare for this week’s battle and is undoubtedly eager to get back on the field. Sometimes a win feels a bit like a loss, and that was indeed the case for Illinois after last weekend’s closer-than-expected, 23-20 victory over Western Michigan.
Sure, the performance wasn’t perfect, but the Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, so it is hard to be negative entering this conference opener. Illinois owns a 53-46-5 series advantage over Northwestern, which includes a 48-27 romp over the Wildcats last season.
The Illini should come out of this with a win but we like the heavy start the Wildcats are getting. Take the road dog to play well enough to grab a late cover.