Week 7 college football preview


Northwestern (5-1) at Minnesota (4-1)

When, where:11 a.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.


Radio: WGN-720 AM

Web: WatchESPN.com

NorthwesternMinnesotaWhat you need to know: Northwestern and Minnesota suffered their first losses of the season in their last outings. Northwestern fell to Penn State on the road last week, and Minnesota lost to Iowa two weeks ago. The Golden Gophers had last week off. Northwestern had similar troubles in the fourth quarter against Penn State. After leading 28-17 after three quarters, the Wildcats went three consecutive possessions without a score, and the defense allowed 22 consecutive points. Northwestern has been out-scored 53-38 in fourth quarters this season. Wildcats junior Venric Mark has continues to impress and ranks seventh in the nation with 180.5 all-purpose yards per game. This is the first divisional game for both teams. If the Wildcats win this week, it'll be the second time in the last two seasons they clinched bowl eligibility with a win over Minnesota.

Scott Powers' prediction: Northwestern 27, Minnesota 21

Illinois (2-4) at No. 25 Michigan (3-2)

When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.


Radio: WIND-560 AM

Web: WatchESPN.com

IllinoisMichiganWhat you need to know: Illinois' woes continued last week with a 31-14 loss to Wisconsin. It was the third consecutive game the Illini allowed 30-plus points. The offense hasn't been much better and has scored 21 points in their last two games combined. Playing Michigan isn't what the Illini need right now to bounce back. The Wolverines looked good in a 44-13 win over Purdue last week. Illinois defensive end Michael Buchanan has been one of the team's bright spots. He batted down two passes against Wisconsin and has six passed defended, which is the most in the nation for a defensive lineman.

Powers' prediction: Michigan 34, Illinois 14

Buffalo (1-4) at Northern Illinois (5-1)

When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.

TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago

Radio: WSCR-670 AM

Web: WatchESPN.com

Northern IllinoisNorthern IllinoisWhat you need to know: Northern Illinois appears as if it might be the team to beat in the MAC again. With last week's win over Ball State, the Huskies have a 10-game conference winning streak. Back home this week, Northern Illinois will also be defending an 18-game home winning streak. Buffalo has played in some close games and even battled with Georgia for awhile, but this is definitely another winnable game for Northern Illinois. Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch ranks in the nation's top 10 in total offense, rushing and points. At 5-1, Northern Illinois is off to its best start since 2003.

Powers' prediction: Northern Illinois 34, Buffalo 24