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NW Wildcats: The Bowl Speculation, Money, and a Couple of Other Things

The Big Ten is sending seven teams to bowl games. This doesn’t include Michigan, Illinois, or Purdue, which is not what was predicted back in August. It does include Northwestern; once again not predicted back in August.
There is a pecking order for these things: Rose Bowl, Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs, Insight, Motor City. And sometimes, the BCS Championship (unfortunately not happening this time around) and/or occasionally other bowls depending on how other conferences do. Penn State earned the Rose Bowl and Ohio State may get into a BCS bowl through the back door. And if that happens, Michigan State will likely get the Capital One Bowl.
That brings us to the Outback Bowl in Tampa. There’s a lot of speculation that ranked Northwestern will be bypassed in favor of an unranked Iowa with more losses, including a loss to NU. That’s just stupid.
I’ve been reading blogs and articles dealing with the speculation. There’s a lot of trash talk coming from Iowa fans that they are more deserving (nope) and that they will bring Tampa more money than NU (that’s just crazy talk). I get it that Iowa beat Penn State. So what?! That doesn’t make Iowa #1 in the Big Ten, much less the nation. Besides, NU beat Iowa.
But we know that the bowls aren’t necessarily about fair, they’re about money for the networks, bowl organizers, and the local businesses. Iowa fans in the blogosphere are claiming they’ve got more money to burn than NU fans. That’s so crazy that even the PSU, OSU, and MSU guys are telling the Iowa fans to back off - everyone knows that NU grads on average make more than Iowa grads. I’ll spare everyone the comparison on TV market size (Metro Chicago versus Metro Iowa City), etc.; other blogs have gone into all that (e.g. http://www.laketheposts.com/). Let’s talk about who has the biggest...endowment (as in university capital funds, that is). This figure shows monetary firepower from grads, friends, and corporations. NU has roughly 6.5 BILLION bucks against Iowa’s 833 million. Roughly 7.8 times the endowment. Yeah, Iowa has roughly 2.5 times as many undergrads who grow up to give them 7.8 times less money as NU. Doing the math, you get NU grads and associated supporters and corporations showing almost 20 TIMES! as much generosity per capita than the Iowa ones.
If I was running a bowl game and expected about 15,000 fans from either Iowa or NU, I know I’d prefer the people with the big money. It just makes business sense - forget “fairness.” (Though I think NU gets it on the “fairness” issue as well.) Besides, you don’t want to screw around with “The Northwestern Mafia.”
And yes, I have a secret agenda. I want the NU Wildcats versus the South Carolina Gamecocks (uSC) in the Outback bowl. My brother-in-law went to uSC (not USC as in California) and I want him to have to buy me and my employees a big fried chicken dinner after the Gamecocks get eaten alive by the Wildcats.
The other things…
One: Kudos to the 26 football Wildcats who won Academic All-Big Ten honors. (And lets not forget the other 49 fall sport Wildcats who earned the honor as well.) There are a number of requirements to earn the honor, including having a 3.0 GPA. And let’s be honest, a 3.0 from NU is probably a lot tougher than a 3.0 at Jock U or Cow College.
Two: The most reasonable “Other” reply to the “Suggest the New NU-UI Rivalry Trophy” was a Lincoln-esque Stovepipe Hat. That actually makes some sense and would have some class. Which means it’s unlikely to happen. Good try though.
Next: More about the bowl opponent.
Go ‘Cats!
BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)

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1 comment:

  1. Many Northwestern fans seem to miss a couple of obvious facts that will continue to haunt them and threaten to allow any Big Ten program to jump them in the future (exceptions maybe Minnesota and Indiana). Number one, your history works against you, you have zero equity in your "athletic brand"; the majority of the country thinks "joke" when they think of Northwestern athletic programs (Not fair, but true, decades of futility are difficult to overcome. As you Kellog grads are well aware, brand building is difficult). Number two, nothing looks more pathetic than a half full 40,000 seat stadium, particulary during a successful season. Fill your stadium with your own fans and you will not have to work nearly as hard to convince bowls that you will suddenly support your team. I think Northwestern has had a great football season but this lack of understanding of how you are perceived nationally and why most Big Ten programs would be selected for a Bowl ahead of you is getting old.

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