Jan 1, 2013; Jacksonville FL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald celebrates in the final seconds of their Gator Bowl game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at EverBank Field. The Northwestern Wildcats beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason Top 25: Number 25 Northwestern Wildcats


 

July is here, and we are one month closer to the 2013 College Football Season from kicking off. Over the next 25 days we will unveil our Preseason Top 25 and count down to the number one team in the nation.

 

Preseason Top 25 Countdown:

 

Number 25: Northwestern Wildcats:

Coach: Pat Fitzgerald

2012 Record: Overall 10-3  Big Ten (5-3) 3rd in Big Ten Legends Division

 

Northwestern is having a revival of sorts, with head coach Pat Fitzgerald bringing back the tough, gritty play that we saw from the Wildcats back in the mid 1990′s when Fitzgerald was a standout linebacker for Northwestern. The Wildcats are coming off of a great 2012 season that ended with a huge Gator Bowl win over Mississippi State.

Quarterback Kain Colter will be at the helm of the Wildcats offense again in 2013, but you can expect to see Trevor Siemian as well, with both quarterbacks being effective in their own ways. Running back Venric Mark will also cause problems for opposing defenses. The Wildcat offense looks to be in the top half of The Big Ten this year.

Defensively there are a few question marks, as is the case on several teams in the conference. If Northwestern can maintain a mid level defensive squad, this is a team that could surprise people this year, possibly making a run at a Legends division title.

2013 Outlook: Northwestern should be able to get through their non conference schedule of Cal, Syracuse, Western Michigan, and Maine without a loss. The true test of this Wildcat fortitude will begin with back to back games against Leaders Division powerhouses in Ohio State and Wisconsin. Also having to face Nebraska on the road and Michigan in November, their season will likely be determined by the outcome of those two games. Northwestern is a dark horse candidate to win the Legends division, but the more likely outcome is a second or third place finish behind Michigan and Nebraska.

 

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Tags: Big Ten Football Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Northwestern Wildcats Football Pat Fitzgerald Preseason Top 25