While conversations about changing the playoff system and teams moving out of the Big 12 continue to rage on, teams are now buckling down and preparing for the start of the season. We are now just a few weeks away from that start, which means that it’s time to start breaking down teams and their chances of winning the conference and moving on. Not all conferences are created equal, though, as it is the Power 5 that dominates the playoffs. Getting out of those conferences is not easy, especially when you have a team that dominates. The Northwestern Wildcats are in that position in the Big Ten, as they, and all the other teams in the conference, are looking up at Ohio State. Can Northwestern close that gap this season? Let’s take a look and see so you can plan your bets against their NCAAF odds.
2021 College Football Betting | Northwestern Wildcats Preview for the Upcoming Season
The Wildcats in 2020
2020 is a ridiculously tough season to gauge, as you had teams missing games left, right, and center due to COVID. For their part, the Northwestern Wildcats did better than most in terms of games played, managing to get 9 under their belt. They managed to go 6-1 in conference play, which was enough to win them the West Division and get them into the Big Ten Championship Game for the 2nd time in 3 years. They ultimately lost that one to Ohio State, going down 22-10.
The whole Ohio State situation was a strange one last season, with many believing that they should have missed out on the playoffs because of the limited number of games they played. Northwestern took the high road on that and went on to record a very good win over the Auburn Tigers in one of the big New Year’s Six bowl games.
The Wildcats Odds and Outlook for 2021
With success in college football comes the need to rebuild quickly. It was a good year for Northwestern, but it also meant that a lot of their starters from last season are gone, with two of them going in the first round of the NFL Draft. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they do not have the recruiting power of the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia, so filling those holes is not going to be easy. In fact, they will come into the new season boasting one of the youngest teams in the country.
On the plus side of things, the Wildcats offense still looks as though it is going to be good, as most of the big holes needing to be filled fell on the defensive side of the football. Another positive is that the Wildcats schedule falls very much in their favor, as they will not have to face either Ohio State or Penn State, the two best teams in the East Division, in their crossover games. That said, they will probably have to face on or the other of those two if they repeat as champions of the West Division.
The reality is that we are probably looking at a bit of a backward step for Northwestern this season, but the future does indeed look bright. As for their chances of winning the Big Ten, I would put them down as exceedingly slim. The bookies seem to agree with that, as they have them on the board at +2500 right now.