Cubbies of College Football

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By Paul M. Banks

The media has certainly beaten a dead horse concerning the Cubs and 1908. But have you heard much about 1949? It’s the last time the Northwestern Wildcats won a postseason game. With college football bowl bids being more plentiful than Amy Winehouse legal infractions these days, it’s quite a streak. Like the “Lovable Losers” in Wrigley Field, they’re another Chicago team that went through an embarrassingly LONG losing spell in the 60s, 70s and part of the 80s. However, in the last 25 years, both the ‘Cats (’05, ’03, ’00, ’96, ’95) and Cubbies (’07, ’03, ’98, ’89, ‘84) have been to the postseason an uncharacteristic 5 times!

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Is this, the sixth trip, the breakthrough year for both? Many college football experts forecasted Northwestern to be 8-4 this season and their schedule certainly seems to be conducive to obtaining this mark. They looked impressive in week one, as their defense -a unit provoking skepticism- held Syracuse to just 225 total yards. They Cats gained almost 500 yards on their way to a 30-10 victory. Remember, Illinois went to the Rose Bowl at 9-3 last season, so an NU upset somewhere along the line could actually mean a BCS bid. No, Seriously!  The Wildcats are coached by Pat Fitzgerald, a native of suburban Orland Park, and All-American Linebacker/National Defensive player of the year during his playing days at Northwestern. His teams won back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1995 and 1996. Current star tailback Tyrell Sutton, a Doak Walker Award (best collegiate running back) candidate, is on pace to become the school’s all-time leading rusher. That feat is quite impressive considering the school’s tailback tradition includes recent or current NFL backs Jason Wright, Damien Anderson, Noah Herron and Darnell Autry.
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