Paul Myerberg of Pre-Snap Read takes on the Huskies at #55 in his countdown:
Can N.I.U. win the MAC altogether? Without question. Do I think it will? No, I don’t. I really like Temple — even more than I like the Huskies — and feel the Owls are the clear top dog in the conference. Don’t let that detract from how I feel about Northern Illinois. Ten wins is clearly possible. Nine wins would not be shocking. Eight wins seems likely, with at least six wins coming in MAC play, with a definite bowl bid in the cards. When all is said and done, I feel very confident in N.I.U. landing a berth in the conference title game; this will be the program’s best team since 2004.
In his "Five and Five", we're really scraping to find anything to dislike beyond the uncertainty at QB and OL:
3. An unspectacular — though steady — receiver corps. This is not quite a dislike, though I’m worried about the Northern Illinois offense should a team successfully stack the box against the run.
4. I really like N.I.U’s cornerback tandem of Chris Smith and Patrick George. However, depth at cornerback is a concern.
5. This is a very good team: the best N.I.U. club in more than five years, in fact. It’s still the second-best team in the MAC, trailing Temple. Again, not N.I.U.’s fault.
It's time for any number of the WRs we have in camp to take the reign and breakout. Not too concerned about the depth at CB, but we have to develop the redshirt freshmen for next year.
College Gridiron 365 rings in with the Huskies at #49 in their countdown. Weaknesses include QB and OL (sensing a theme here?) They do like that every WR is returning though. Also, Blue Ribbon places the Huskies 1st in the MAC West.
Dr. Saturday presents a clear case for the Huskies to be successful in the MAC this year:
NIU led the conference in total defense for the second year in a row in '09, returns All-MAC running back Chad Spann and has as much claim as anyone on the West Division, where no team behind CMU comes into 2010 with back-to-back winning seasons or any semblance of momentum whatsoever.
Rivals.com thinks that the Huskies have a good chance at outperforming the expectations they have been handed:
Northern Illinois, ranked 67th, has a chance to win 10 games and a great chance to win the MAC. If that happens, I think the Huskies are a top 45 or so team. We will know quickly, by the end of September, if NIU can win 10. They play three Big Six teams, all on the road, in the first month. But those Big Six teams are Iowa State, Minnesota and Illinois, not exactly teams that will make you quake in your boots. NIU can run and it can play defense; if the passing attack improves from poor to even mediocre, NIU will be in great shape.
A way too early look at MAC recruiting... BHGP previews the Fighting Illini offense and defense... Bull Run continues their preview with Buffalo at #8 and Bowling Green at #7... CFN previews Buffalo... OBNUG previews Toledo... who would play at an outdoor concert at EMU to lure in more fans?... Great expectations for Iowa State, Illinois and Minnesota... how hot is Tim Brewster's hotseat?... Temple vs. Miami in Yankee Stadium?... and finally Miami OH recruits a quarterback with a name Big Ben is envious of.