Pat Fitzgerald talks about Northwestern’s new Under Armour uniforms

northwestern-jersey

Pat Fitzgerald had a great quote on dais at Big Ten Media Day: “some people have called me the youngest old-school person in the country, and I’m okay with that”

He’s definitely earned it, as Northwestern has been to four straight bowl games, a first in school history. Their academic rating, APR is so high that it makes them one of the best ranked schools in the nation. And in 2012, they’ll be the only school in the league to play 3 BCS conference teams in the nonconference schedule.

The Wildcats will do it with sweet, new school meets old school uniforms.

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Crowded New England Patriots WR Corps: room for Jeremy Ebert?

jeremy-ebert

The New England Patriots truly have an abundance of talent at the wide receiver position. It’s probably their strongest and deepest group. Wes Welker may be very unhappy about his contract, but he claims he will not hold out this season. Chad Ochocinco tries to hold on for another year, former Illini star Brandon Lloyd will compete with Deion Branch to be the team’s deep threat, and 2007 perfect season role players Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth are back in the mix. Don’t forget Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater and Northern Illinois and Riverside-Brookfield High School product Britt Davis.

Jeremy Ebert from Northwestern is hoping to find his niche in New England as well.

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Illinois Alumni Association takes shot at Northwestern marketing slogan

illini logo

I received a mass email today from the Illinois Alumni Association.

The subject heading: ILLINOIS: Chicago’s Big Ten University

The message content:

Illinois alumni don’t need an expensive roadside billboard to let people know we’re the best public Big Ten university in Chicago!

Instead, make your case in your office space by displaying your loyalty for everyone to see. As we welcome 7,000 new graduates to the alumni family, we know that, together, we can uphold the greatness of our Alma Mater.

DOWNLOAD OFFICIAL ILLINOIS WALLPAPER

Yes another shot is fired across the bow. Hatfield vs. McCoys, Mozart vs. Salieri, Illini vs. Northwestern.

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Northwestern linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo: good player, greater name

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Northwestern’s defense was much maligned last season. The pass defense was especially substandard. But at the conclusion of 2012 spring practice, the D was ahead of the offense and it showed a lot of improvement. The secondary will be retooled, so the defense figures to lean on the front seven this fall.

And when you’re coached by a linebacker in Pat Fitzgerald, the linebackers will be a group with a special focus.

“He’s a defensive guy, he likes to see the defense swarm around to the ball. He’s got little pointers here and there for us to get to the ball faster,” said Chi Chi Ariguzo.

The 6-foot-3, 220 pounder, was the backup SAM linebacker behind senior Ben Johnson as a freshman, but this year he should get the starting gig.

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Stanford and Northwestern initiate football series; not academic quiz bowl

stanford-cheerleaders

Think of it like an Academic Quiz Bowl, except on the gridiron. Northwestern continues college football series with all the schools across the nation with similar elite graduation rates and exceedingly stringent entrance requirements. They’ve had recent home-and-homes with Vanderbilt, Duke and Rice.

They have a similar series slated with Notre Dame, and now Stanford.

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Northwestern’s Five Biggest Wins of the Pat Fitzgerald Era

pat fitzgerald

With the 28-25 upset of the ninth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers this past Saturday, Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald gained sole possession of second place on NU’s all-time coaching wins list. Fitzgerald stands at 38 wins, one more than his predecessor Randy Walker and 11 behind Lynn Waldorf’s school-record of 49.

Fitz is inked to be at the school till 2020, so it’s safe to say he’ll have the record all to himself soon enough. He appears to be a “lifer” at the school, like Bobby Bowden was to Florida St.

The win Lincoln, a game in which the ‘Cats entered as 17 point underdogs, turned Northwestern’s season entirely around; it breathed life into their once near fatal bowl hopes. Where does it rank among the greatest hits of the Fitzgerald era?

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Michigan Wolverines Stay Undefeated, Conquer Northwestern 42-24

The #11 Michigan Wolverines took to the road for the first time this season tonight. And in their trip to Northwestern‘s Ryan Field, UM quickly found themselves trailing for just the second time this season in the second half. (The first time was the Notre Dame “Under the Lights” game).

Denard Robinson, 17-26-337 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT made some really ugly throws in the first half, and Michigan trailed Northwestern 24-14 at the break. (Largely because of those Denard picks).

But then scored 28 unanswered to send a resounding message, in defeating NU 42-24.

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#11 Michigan Wolverines vs. Northwestern Wildcats: Brutally Honest Game Preview

If you ever needed any more evidence that Greg Robinson was in fact THE WORST Defensive Coordinator in college football history, look no further than what the Michigan Wolverines defense has done this year. They’ve only given up 10 whole points in their last three games, and the unit is more opportunistic and turnover-forcing (more on that here)

Sure, this unit has their two best DBs which they missed last year, but they also graduated their best defender from 2010. Personally, I knew Robinson was fired the minute I saw Illini RB Mikel Leshoure burn UM not once, but twice with the exact same wheel route in the 67-65 game. The exact same play the Illini burned Purdue the very week before.

Is the Mich defense that much better? Yes. Are they really that good? NO!

The visit to the Northwestern Wildcats will be big blue’s first time away from the big house in 2011, and their schedule has been soft. Are they a good team? Yes. Are they a top ten team in the nation? NO!

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Illini Receiver A.J. Jenkins: Probably Best WR Weapon in Big Ten

Earlier this college football season, University of Illinois senior wide receiver A.J. Jenkins made some comments that proclaimed himself the best wide receiver in the Big Ten.

He has since backed off from those remarks, and now maintains a more standard, PR-friendly, humble and some could say vanilla manner in his on-the-record comments to the media. But his play on the field (third in the nation, first in the Big Ten in receiving yards) is making a loud and powerful statement.

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Illini LB Kick to Northwestern OL Groin Earns him 1 game Suspension

The Big Ten Conference announced today that it has accepted the one-game suspension of University of Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown for violating the Big Ten Sportslike Conduct Agreement during the rivalry game versus Northwestern this past Saturday.

In case you missed it, Brown blatantly and very intentionally kneed Wildcats OL Patrick Ward in the, um, let’s say he hit him right in the Marvin McBucknuts. Watch the video here.

And the cheap shot/act of unwarranted aggression cost him the opportunity to play this week versus the Indiana Hoosiers.

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Groin Kicks. Juvenile Insults. Illinois-Northwestern Rivalry Gets Low Brow

The video that follows after the jump makes me anything but proud to be an Illinois alum.

Illini linebacker Jonathan Brown has had his issues within the program. He’s found himself benched when he’s failed to meet his commitments and expectations, but this is only going to further tarnish his reputation.

He kneed Northwestern offensive lineman Patrick Ward in the groin in the first half on Saturday.

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Illini Beat Northwestern 38-35: Chicago’s Big Ten Team?

scheelhaase

It was a week where one school’s marketing slogan became a motivational rallying cry for the other school in the state. Northwestern has been promoting themselves as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” for a season and half, and today Illinois made stated pretty loudly how they felt about it.

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase scored a 1-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left to lead #22 Illinois to a 38-35 comeback win over NU. He threw for a career-high 391 yards and three touchdowns (one interception) for the Illini (5-0 for the first time since 1951). All three TD passes went to A.J. Jenkins, who had 12 catches for a school-record 268 yards. The previous school receiving yards record was also set versus Northwestern in 1984. (David Williams 204).

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