Spread-Option Trend-Setters: 2000 Big Ten Champion Northwestern Wildcats


When it comes to Northwestern Wildcats football, everyone usually brings up 1995, and how that team re-defined the ‘Cats. But I’ve always said that it’s really a different Big Ten championship team, the 2000 squad, who really ushered in a new era for NU. Because that was the first year Randy Walker installed the spread-option offensive system, and the program has showcased exciting, fun to watch, usually pass-happy football ever since.

And the spread has really taken off across college football since then, making the Cats rather avant-garde. And it makes sense, considering the phrase “SPREAD far the fame” is right there in the fight song.

I discussed the system with Damien Anderson, star tailback on that bellwether team, and NU’s all-time leading rusher.

By Paul M. Banks

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