Northwestern Spring Scrimmage Preview

pat fitzgerald

The Northwestern Wildcats have completed 14 of their allotted 15 spring practices, with only the spring game remaining. On Saturday at noon, the ‘Cats will take to Ryan Field and showcase the 2011 team in what Pat Fitzgerald referred to as a “situational exhibition.”

If you’re hoping for a big game on Saturday, don’t get your hopes up. Pat Fitzgerald is leaving it to (NU Senior Associate Athletics Director of External Affairs) Mike Polisky to take care of making the game pretty. For Fitzgerald and his team, Saturday’s scrimmage will be just that—a scrimmage.

If you were looking forward to see First-Team All-Big Ten quarterback Dan Persa, you’re out of luck. He has been out all spring, as he rests his achillies injury.

Now that I’ve officially played the role of Debbie Downer, let’s get to what will be showcased on Saturday.

By Chris Emma,

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Illinois and Northwestern Bowl Projection/Preview


Currently, 70/120 FBS college football teams participate in a bowl game at the end of the season. This includes 6-6 teams, and this year believe it or not, a couple 5-7 or 6-7 teams. Yes, this is turning into “everyone gets a trophy” and setting a horrible example for our children.

But on to more positive things- Illinois has their second bowl berth since 2002, and now Zook is in a more relaxed state than he was here.

For the Illini, it would currently appear that they are looking at the Insight/Texas and Ticket City bowl area, with a sprinkle of Gator Bowl added in for flair. The final week of the season will have a TON to say about what happens in this area, but the Illini have a lot going for them at this point — They actually are done with Big Ten games, and have finished at 4-4. Interestingly, the Illini could finish as high as fifth overall in the Big Ten, having a tiebreaker with Penn State. However…

We’re making this pick under the assumption that two Big Ten teams — for the purposes of this discussion, Wisconsin and Ohio State — make the BCS.

By Paul M. Banks and Paul Schmidt

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Northwestern vs. Penn State: Brutally Honest Game Preview

Joe paterno

The last time I caught up with Legendary Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno, it was at Big Ten Media Day where he was being harassed by questionable reporters asking him inane and downright ghoulish questions about his health.  He was being told “you look tired,” and “are you tired?”

How about you just shut the hell up and let the man do his job. And try to look like you’re at least competent at doing yours. I think Paterno knows better than you do if he’s healthy or not, rested or not.

On the other side of the 2:30 pm kickoff national televised game in the Big Ten, we have Northwestern leader Pat Fitzgerald, the youngest coach in the conference. But just like JoePa the oldest coach, he’s “a lifer.” Or one day he should be. Every college football program should have a “lifer,” a guy that coaches at the same school forever. Synonymous with the school, a statue is erected of him on campus.

Fitz has enough purple pride to be that guy.

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Northwestern vs. Illinois State: the Brutally Honest Game Preview



Last weekend, I drove to both Ohio State and Notre Dame to cover their openers. Therefore, the Indiana Toll Road and I became quite familiar with one another. This weekend I’m home; back in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, a placed described by Baseball Prospectus writer Christina Kahrl, in her latest Cubs piece as…there are still enough trust funders knocking around Lakeview, the Corn Belt’s Riviera, to keep their sozzled watch with semi-indifference.

Uh-oh! trust fund babies afoot! And I have to go up Lake Shore Drive to an elite, private University to take in the Northwestern Wildcats home opener! I better a bring a gun to protect myself from the two comma kids (yes, I did make a “Finding Forrester” reference)

Hopefully, I’ll survive the 25 minute trek to NU so we can discuss the game.

Chicago’s official Air and Water Show may have been last month, but I expect airspace over Evanston’s Ryan Field Saturday to be busier than the final approach corridor of O’Hare International Airport. Why? Read on…..

By Paul M. Banks

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