NIU Football: Preseason Publications Anticipating Rebound for Huskies

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From 2010-2014, NIU football was the MAC standard. Over that span, the Huskies won double digit games every single season and became a fixture in the MAC title game. They didn’t do so hot in bowl games, but they were formidable in November. Things in DeKalb dropped off a bit in 2015, and then last season was rather disastrous by the high standards they have established in recent years.

However, 2017 could see the Huskies bounce back in the right direction. That’s what the college football preseason preview publications seem to think is in store.

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It really does all seem to hinge on the same factor that’s led to the drop-off the past two seasons: quarterback talent/health. The Huskies have just had to deal with a rash of injuries at the position, and consistently having to drop down on the depth chart has led to poorer play overall. NIU football saw four different QB1s last season and five over the past two years.

Perhaps that changes this season as NIU football has playmakers on both sides of the ball allowing Ryan Graham, the projected starter, or Daniel Santacaterina if he leapfrogs him, to have the burden eased.

Athlon ranks Northern Illinois 99th in the nation, and 3rd in the MAC West. They do however project the Huskies to a 6-6 record and 5-3 in the Mid-American Conference. Credit last year’s Huskies team, which finished 5-7 overall, for going 5-3 in the MAC, and finishing on a more positive note.

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Lindy’s ranks the Huskies 97th nationally and 4th in the MAC West, but they do write this in the “Our Call” snippet- “much depends on the QB play, but this could be the surprise team in the conference.” Street & Smith’s also project NIU third in the MAC West, and they close their team preview with “a sub-500 record is against the norm in DeKalb, so don’t expect another one this time around.”

In other words, expect the Huskies to at least break even in 2017, probably finish better than that and reach a minor bowl game. By the time this season is done and dusted, expect things to be trending in the right direction again for NIU football.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. Banks, a former writer for the Washington TimesNBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN

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