Scuzz Model: The Cats are Marching On…
My moniker last week was a disaster, as the Cats repeated their Penn State performance, and not last year’s Nebraska performance. I am just going to focus on looking forward this week, rather than rehash anything else…. time to march onward.
From an efficiency standpoint, little damage was done to NU’s game by game projections – the Iowa game jumps to 65% likely win, due mostly to Iowa’s hideous performance last week. NU’s other games are largely unchanged.
As Jonathan Hodges from Hail To Purple mentioned last week, achieving 9 wins this year would tie Fitz with the career win mark for NU. Looking less likely after the loss last week, though I think the model is underrating our chances vs. Michigan State – I still feel really good about the possibility for an 8 win season… I know we’re all disappointed right now cause we think 8 wins should already be in the bag, but that would still be quite an improvement from last year’s record and on par with expectations coming into this season.
NU vs. Iowa
Rivalry Week!!! Wait… it’s not? Oh yeah, we just can’t stand Iowa. This matchup has been a great one for the last several years, and not just because NU has had success against the Hawkeyes. As you can see below, these two teams have been well matched from a statistical perspective too (the last time one was really significantly better was in the ’09 season when Woot ended Iowa’s season). This year, Iowa is unexpectantly struggling on offense, much like our Cats. That said, their offense minus a healthy Mark Weisman is even further diminished; NU should be able to stop that run game without sacrificing pass coverage, unlike against Nebraska. The big question will be can Vandenberg take advantage of the banged up Northwestern secondary? In our pre-season preview we talked about how Iowa really lacks a big receiving threat this year after Marvin McNutt’s graduation. That seems to bear out when you look at Vandenberg’s stats: his completion percentage is close to last year, but TDs and yards-per-attempt are both significantly down. Remember, the Cats lost at Iowa in ‘11, but take away a pick-6, and one of those mis-communications and it’s a different story. If we can establish our option running game, I fully expect the Cats to prevail. The line is NU by 6, but the Scuzz model expects a tight one – favoring the Cats by only 2.
Picks Around the Country:
All games vs. Spread: 219-168
Week 1: 4-1
Week 2: 2-3
The model had its first perfect week on the blog! Picking against favorites worked very well. I won’t lie, this week is looking tough… I had trouble finding a lot of common ground with the model. Here are this week’s picks:
Indiana (+1.5) at Illinois: The model only disagrees with this line by a half-point, but it’s the right direction. I have zero faith in the Illini. Less than zero. Indiana’s performance the last couple weeks on offense makes me think they can roll Illinois, even on the road and after IL’s bye.
BYU (+2.5) at Georgia Tech: The Cougers showed a tough run-defense last week against Notre Dame, while Georgia Tech has looked bad this year, and don’t have much of a pass attack. Model likes BYU by 1.
Notre Dame (+10) at Oklahoma: I have a hard time believing that the Notre Dame defense falters bad enough to lose by 10 against Oklahoma. The model favors OU by 4, which I think is a little more fair given the Sooners’ body of work thus far. However, if the last two games were more than just bad opponents (i.e. if Landry Jones has suddenly found his Heisman-hype form) then the Irish, and this pick, could be in trouble.
Ohio (-9) at Miami-Ohio: The Bobcats and Frank Solich continue their march with a trip to Miami of Ohio. This in-state rivalry could be a bad pick for a blow-out, but Ohio is on fire and Miami has looked real bad against real teams (sorry Akron). The Scuzz Model picks them by 15.
Michigan (+2) at Nebraska: I promise this is not a sour-grapes pick. As bad as Michigan looked last week, I like how they match up against the Huskers. If the Wolverines actually use their mobile quarterback, they should be able to break down Nebraska in ways that they couldn’t against MSU. Model has Michigan by 6.
The Already Obsolete BCS Championship Hunt:
Another one down… Cincinnati falls off the truck (inexplicably, I might add). With their win last week, K-State is looking like the odds-on favorite to meet Alabama for the title. They still have a couple tough matchups, but given the inconsistency of TCU’s defense and the absence of any defense from Texas, the Wildcats just need to avoid an Oklahoma-State-type collapse (too soon?). However, should Oregon or Notre Dame avoid a blemish, I have to think K-State would get leapfrogged in the BCS standings.