Big Ten conference bigger player in national football power structure

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There were a lot of topics on the table of discussion in last week’s Big 10 meetings. First and foremost, is the rapid move towards a four team playoff in college football, which could get here in a couple years. I asked Northwestern Athletic Director Jim Phillips what his biggest takeaways were from the meetings.

“Couple things – tremendous collaboration between all 12 institutions in trying to get to the “right place” in current landscape and our complete confidence and trust in Commissioner Delany,” he said.

No doubt about it, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany (the second highest paid commissioner, behind only the Pac-12’s Larry Scott) is one of the most powerful men in college football. He’s a big reason we’re getting close to having a true playoff, as his getting on board with the hybrid bowl/playoff idea will be critical to having a final four.

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Illinois Alumni Association takes shot at Northwestern marketing slogan

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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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Reviewing college football fan sites: Northwestern blogs

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Modern media publications review movies, television shows and rock albums, but no one reviews blogs, the question is why? Obviously, it’s easy to review static mass media items that aren’t changing once they initially are produced much more easily than the dynamic and the evolving world of blogs.

Of course, some aspects of certain blogs are pretty consistent, and with regular features running all the time, there is enough remaining the same so that one can accurately critique. Obviously, to do a feature like this, the number of blogs out there must be small, and the market size niche- like we have with 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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Louisville’s Jared Swopshire transfers to Northwestern

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Things are looking brighter for Bill Carmody in Evanston. Not only will he have one of his best recruiting classes ever coming in, with actual legitimate big men for the first time in a long time, but he also has immediate veteran help on the way to Northwestern.

That would be Louisville Cardinals forward Jared Swopshire, who was a contributor for the Big East power before getting injured and falling lower in Rick Pitino‘s rotation.

According to Scout.com (Purple Wildcats)

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Stanford and Northwestern initiate football series; not academic quiz bowl

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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 damages NCAA Tournament chances in losing to Michigan

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When Northwestern beat Minnesota on Saturday, the Wildcats were able to pull out the win with strong three-point shooting and ball security, despite a bad rebounding ratio. Tuesday night against Michigan, the Cats rebounded well, but turned the ball over 17 times and shot just 18.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The end result, a 67-55 loss, was the opposite of the Minnesota game, as well.

“In the second half we seemed worn down,” coach Bill Carmody said. “We turned the ball over 14 times, not unlike the game in Ann Arbor when we turned it over the same amount. We only made three “threes” up there and we made the same amount tonight.”

Guest post by Kevin Trahan of bigtenorbust.com, purplewildcats.com and the Daily Northwestern.

For post-game audio, and more analysis go here

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Northwestern opponents should worry about getting back-doored

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Northwestern is playing some really good offense lately. During their current three-game winning streak, the Wildcats are averaging 80.3 points per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the field, including 46.1 percent from 3-point range. Four different NU players are averaging at least
15 points per game during the stretch: John Shurna (23.0), Dave Sobolewski (17.3), Reggie Hearn (15.0) and Drew Crawford (15.0).

The win streak has coincided with Northwestern going with a starting lineup of Sobolewski, Hearn, Crawford, Shurna and
Alex Marcotullio. This is the first time that NU has started the month of February with three consecutive wins since 1946. As they take on the Purdue Boilermakers this Sunday, they’re looking college basketball heavyweights North Carolina and Duke…on the offensive end. (The defensive end still has some issues). And the ‘Cats are getting it done with a very unique system, the Princeton offense, which we don’t see as much anymore. And of course the Princeton offense runs most smoothly when you get back door cuts.

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Northwestern vs. Iowa Recap: Cats dominate Hawkeyes

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Northwestern knew it needed a win against Iowa Thursday night in order to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. With that in mind, The Wildcats promptly turned in arguably their best performance of the season, a convincing 83-64 win over the Hawkeyes.

Point guard Dave Sobolewski led the way for NU, recording a season-high 26 points and team-high seven assists. The freshman’s impressive performance evoked memories of former Cats’ star Michael Juice Thompson. Sobolewski said that Thompson has helped him deal with recent criticism.

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Northwestern Heads to #24 Creighton with 10-1 Record

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Northwestern basketball closed out the home portion of their non conference schedule tonight with a 87-72 win over the Eastern Illinois Panthers, pushing their record to 10-1.

Meaning they’re ready for their second big test of the season- at #24 Creighton. The Blue Jays, favorites to win the Missouri Valley, also have only one loss on the season.

NU failed pretty badly in their first big test, losing 69-41 to the #7 Baylor Bears at home two weeks ago.

Maybe this time will be different?

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Northwestern Routs MVSU, Stays Undefeated; Ready for #7 Baylor

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In two days we’ll really know what we have, or don’t have with Northwestern college basketball. Yes, they’re undefeated right now, and they won the Charleston Classic. But they still haven’t played anyone. The road win at Georgia Tech was nice, but the Yellow Jackets are down this year. Much like the rest of the ACC.

But it won’t be long until the moment of truth (undefeated #7 Baylor) arrives- Sunday 3PM at Evanston’s Welsh-Ryan Arena.

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Northwestern Beats Seton Hall; Wins College Hoops Tourney

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For the second time in three years, Northwestern, the only college basketball team from a power six conference never to have made the NCAA Tournament, has won an early season holiday basketball tournament.

In 2009, the Wildcats stayed home and beat a tourney bound Notre Dame team in the semi-finals of the Chicago Invitational Tournament. Then the Cats knocked off a talented, but overrated and underachieving Iowa State Cyclones squad to capture the tournament title at the UIC Pavilion.

This year, they beat LSU, Tulsa and Seton Hall out of the Big East in order to capture the Charleston Classic tournament title. In the tournament’s opener, NU’s John Shurna dropped 37, the most by any college player in a single game this far.

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