NORTHWESTERN ENDS BOWL DROUGHT! What Chicago team is next?

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Today, the Northwestern Wildcats ended their 64 year old bowl drought. They upped their record in bowl games to 2-9. And they did it over an SEC team no less, the once 11th ranked Mississippi St Bulldogs. In 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks ended their 49 year old Stanley Cup drought. In 2005, the Chicago White Sox ended their 88 year World Series drought. So now that leaves only two: Northwestern basketball, who’ve never made a NCAA Tourney. Well, with how they’ve played at home lately, their injuries and a RPI of 105, I’d say they have to wait a year- at least. And the Chicago Cubs 104 year Sahara like drought? They lost 101 games last year, so don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Let’s get back to what the Cats accomplished today.

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Is Northwestern for real?

You may say it’s too early to talk of such things and that I need to calm down after only one conference game in the books, but this could be a great year for the Wildcats!

Their 5-0 record may not have come against the best of opponents (Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Boston College, South Dakota, Indiana), but Northwestern has shown the ability to score, almost on demand. They have scored over 40 points in two games and scored 38 in another.

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Northwestern’s Venric Mark on Hornung Award watch list

The Louisville Sports Commission announced that Northwestern junior Venric Mark is one of 49 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players named to the Paul Hornung Award Preseason Watch List, handed out annually to the most versatile player in college football.

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Northwestern Media Day highlights

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Training camp is underway for Northwestern football. The ‘Cats figure to be explosive on offense, with some questions on defense. Media day was Wednesday and with it Pat Fitzgerald answered some key questions about Chicago’s Big Ten team.

Here were some of the highlights

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Pat Fitzgerald talks about Northwestern’s new Under Armour uniforms

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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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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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Northwestern 2012 Recruiting Class has Some Top Notch Prospects

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Happy National Signing Day. Northwestern’s 21 commits (the largest class of the Pat Fitzgerald era) hail from 10 states. The Wildcats signed 13 of their 21 players from three states—five from Pennsylvania, four from Illinois and four from Ohio. Scout ranks the class 5th in the Big Ten, 44th in the nation. Those numbers are higher than usual in Evanston.

In addition, Northwestern announced this past weekend the addition of highly touted wide receiver Kyle Prater (Maywood, Ill./Proviso West), who is transferring to Northwestern from USC. More on Prater here. His presence beefs up the class quite a bit. And there’s some top prospects in it, we’ll highlight the highlights of it.

Let’s start with the jewel of the class.

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Northwestern moves to 6-5, gains bowl eligibility

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four weeks ago, Northwestern had hit rock bottom. The ‘Cats were 2-5 after a five-game losing streak – blowing substantial leads in several of those games – and were on the verge of a losing record, which would have ended the streak of four consecutive years of bowl eligibility. With a four-game winning streak, however, including an upset over Nebraska on the road, the Wildcats have completed the miraculous comeback to bowl eligibility. As head coach Pat Fitzgerald has said multiple times during the winning streak, the ‘Cats are trying to make it a November to remember. [Read more…]

Northwestern’s Five Biggest Wins of the Pat Fitzgerald Era

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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 game could decide Northwestern’s season

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Four games into the season, it’s difficult to describe a game as must-win, particularly when you’re talking about Northwestern, and especially when the opponent is #12 Michigan. The Wolverines are 5-0 on the season, and have impressed thus far. The ‘Cats on the other hand, are in a two-losses-in-a-row slippery slope. Lose to Michigan, and that slope will get a whole lot steeper. [Read more…]

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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