There’s bad football, then there’s UMass and Northwestern facing off on Saturday in Week 12 and may God have mercy on your soul if you watch it.
One week ago, college football fans were treated to perhaps the game of the year with LSU and Alabama squaring off in an epic SEC showdown for not just conference but perhaps national supremacy. Whatever you would call the opposite of that will now transpire in Evanston in Week 12 as the Northwestern Wildcats host the UMass Minutemen on Saturday.
The home team on Saturday at Ryan Field will come into the game with a 1-8 record, their one win on the year coming all the way back in Week 2 against UNLV. They’ve been one of the most wildly disappointing teams in the country, especially after a run to the Big Ten Championship Game a year ago.
As disappointing as Northwestern has been, though, the Minutemen have been decidedly worst. Their lone win came on Sept. 28 against Akron but it’s the way that they’ve lost one their way to a 1-9 record that has been truly harrowing.
UMass might be the worst defense in college football history, without a shred of hyperbole. The Minutemen are giving up 53.1 points and 567.6 yards of total offense per game on the season, and this is while having played only one Power 5 school on the season. That team was Rutgers, who is the only Big Ten team with a claim to being just as bad as Northwestern.
What’s fascinating in the worst way about UMass-Northwestern is that two of the most anemic units in the sport will be clashing. On one hand, is the aforementioned Minutemen defense and the other is the Northwestern offense that’s averaging 11.1 points per game and has managed double-digit points in just five of their nine games this season.
So what do you get when you combine the worst defense in college football against what has looked like the worst offense in college football at times this season? You get something you should not have within 100 miles of your television on Saturday afternoon.
This game is going to be afront to the beauty of Saturdays spent watching college football. It’s the equivalent of two cars with three tires trying to race one another — there’s going to be a winner but nothing about how they get to the finish line is going to be impressive or entertaining. And you’re undoubtedly going to be worse off for watching it.
It’s worth noting that Northwestern is favored by 40.5 points in this game, courtesy of The Action Network. That undoubtedly is a line influenced by how badly UMass’ defense has been and how hapless they were in their season-opener against Rutgers. But then again, have the Wildcats done anything that should make you think they should be six-touchdown favorites, even against the Minutemen?
The answer is no. Neither of these teams has done anything to warrant anything positive from anyone entering Week 12. And if you are in some sort of Saw-like situation where you are forced to watch these two teams play on Saturday, at least request an alcoholic beverage or two to try and dull the senses.