So here it is! Officially, the first game that I will take full credit for with my algorithm. This is a Thursday night game, two days before the traditional first Saturday of the season and these two Big 10 squads have wasted no time getting into the meat of their schedule. These names might not carry the same weight as the blue bloods of college football but this is a conference game which means this matchup means more than 95% of the games on this weekend’s schedule!
Northwestern is coming off of a 10-3 campaign last season and return 7 starters on both sides of the ball. That is a solid core returning for a team that averaged 29 points per game on offense and held opponents to 20 ppg on defense. The only regular season games they lost last year were at Wisconsin and at home to Penn State, neither of those are anything to be embarassed about.
Purdue is led by Head Coach Jeff Brohm who was known for high scoring offenses when he was at Western Kentucky. Brohm was brought in last year to turn around a bottom feeding Purdue team and create a respectable squad. In his first year he took a team that won a total of 9 games in the previous four years and went 7-6. Even though they more than doubled their wins from the previoius year, it was anchored by a strong defense that held opponents to 20.5 ppg instead of Brohm’s usual high flying offense, which only averaged 25 ppg. This years offense should be much improved as they return 9 starters and they are going to need it as the defense should have a large drop-off with only 4 returning starters.
The current spread is calling for Purdue as a 1.5-pt favorite and an over/under of 53. After compiling the numbers, my formula is looking at a 7-pt Northwestern win by a score of 46-39. The formula still needs tweaking on the total but the spread should be pretty spot on. Expect NW to win in a high scoring affair to start the year off right!!