There's no question that Northwestern has owned Iowa recently, taking five of the last six games from the Hawkeyes and three in a row at Kinnick Stadium, better known as Ryan Field West. But will the Wildcats be able to notch their first Big Ten win of the season and halt their three-game losing streak on Saturday night (6 p.m. CT, BTN)?
That's the question that WildcatReport's staff will attempt to answer.
This week, WR's renowned MidvaleDave will be our special guest prognosticator. There are very few NU fans with as much venom toward Iowa as Midvale, so we thought he would be the perfect candidate.
This week's bonus question asks our staff -- which is down a couple members this week, for some reason -- to complete a sentence about Northwestern's dominance over Iowa.
Guest Prognosticator: MidvaleDave
Northwestern wins if… They win the turnover battle and take the crowd out of the game early.
Northwestern loses if… They allow the recent trend of huge passing plays to continue. Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt needs to be held in check.
The bottom line Io_a's defense is having problems this year. NU's offense should be able to put enough points on the board to notch their fourth straight victory at Ryan Field West.
Prediction Northwestern 38 Iowa 27
Complete the sentence: Northwestern is to Iowa what Major Nelson is to Jeannie.
Northwestern wins if… They have an even above average showing in pass defense. I'm pretty sure Northwestern can put points on the board against Iowa, but they will need at least some semblance of defense to win.
Northwestern loses if… Nothing has changed and the defensive woes continue. If Northwestern defends like the second half of either the Illinois or Michigan game, it will be their fourth loss in a row.
The bottom line Both teams are down and trying to use this game as a spring board for the rest of the season. Iowa has the advantage of being at home, but Northwestern hasn't minded Kinnick too much. It should be a tight game throughout.
Prediction Northwestern 28 Iowa 24
Complete the sentence: Northwestern is to Iowa what blind chimpanzees are to Big Ten referees. Better in every single way.
Northwestern wins if… The defense tightens up, especially on the pass rush.
Northwestern loses if… They don't play 60 minutes of football.
The bottom line Neither team has had their season go as planned. But Iowa is disheartened while Northwestern is just plain mad. With a chip on their shoulder and facing an opponent lacking confidence, I like Northwestern's chances.
Prediction Northwestern 31 Iowa 20
Complete the sentence: Northwestern is to Iowa what Brad Pitt is to Jennifer Aniston. Iowa used to have Northwestern all sewn up, but times have changed and longing for the good old days just keeps feeling worse and worse.
Northwestern wins if… They get off the field defensively. For a program that prides itself on stopping third downs, opponents' 54.5 percent conversion rate this season has been unsettling.
Northwestern loses if… They don't shore up the secondary. In consecutive weeks, Northwestern has made Nathan Scheelhaase and Denard Robinson look like Jeff George and Tom Brady.
The bottom line After three straight losses, Northwestern has a chance to right the ship. You hate to label any game a must-win, but the Wildcats have almost reached the point of desperation. A bowl berth would be awfully difficult to attain if this team falls to 2-4. But Pat Fitzgerald is at his best when others start doubting him..
Prediction Northwestern 24 Iowa 21
Complete the sentence: Northwestern is to Iowa what beer, fried chicken and video games are to the Boston Red Sox.
Northwestern wins if… They hold onto the lead they have after the first half. I'm not going to say double-digits, but I think they'll be up.
Northwestern loses if… Their secondary has one or more enormous "individual breakdowns" which have plagued the team all season long. Ibraheim Campbell, chill out.
The bottom line Northwestern's defense might be what their doctor ordered. Persa will be fine.
Prediction Iowa 27 Northwestern 24
Complete the sentence: Northwestern is to Iowa what Iowa is to Penn State. Uh-oh.
Northwestern wins if… Their pass defense is merely below average. It's been a horror show the last two weeks.
Northwestern loses if… They have the lead at halftime.
The bottom line After last week's collapse, I swore never to pick the Cats again. Then I looked at the schedule and saw Iowa was up next.
Prediction Northwestern 30 Iowa 27
Complete the sentence: Northwestern is to Iowa what Sonny Corleone is to Carlo Rizzi. (That's a reference from The Godfather for all you kids out there.)