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Intro to Northwestern for Auburn Fans - Part II

Wildcats Versus Tigers - It isn’t the size of the cat in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the ‘Cats.

As promised last column, here’s more about NU:

I graduated from NU. I was in the NU Marching Band (NUMB). I was there pre-1995 - before NU’s football fortunes changed (hopefully) forever. I saw a lot of futility during the “Bad Times.” Seeing all that losing did very positive things for me:

  1. It emphasized that while the Wildcats weren’t a good football team (at that time), NU was the academic powerhouse of the Big Ten. Academically, NU was (and is still today) like rolling together Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State all together.
  2. Now that we’re in the Modern Era of NU football, the bad times I saw make me appreciate each and every win. I don’t care if it is an ugly win as long as it gets NU closer to the conference championship and a bowl game. 8-4 at Notre Dame puts you on a slippery slope toward the exit. 9-3 at Nebraska can get you fired if it happens too often. While I’d like to see 12-0, 8-4 or 9-3 is a whole lot better than 0 for Season.

Read the papers, watch the broadcasts, listen to the pundits - most act as if each and every NU football win is a huge surprise. In the Big Ten to this day, a coach knows his job is insecure if he loses to Northwestern - even when NU is leading the conference. (1995, 1996, and 2000 were Big Ten Championship years for NU.)

So Auburn fans, please read all about NU’s “Bad Times.” Tell your football players that the NU they will face in 2010 is just like the NU they might have faced in 1980. Be smug about the lowest in the SEC being better than the highest in the Big Ten. Encourage the Tigers to laugh off the Wildcats as “that other team” in the Big Ten. Do your part to help the Wildcats surprise the Tigers. Convince Aubie, Nova, and friends that you’re playing “just Northwestern.”


Question: Name the three Big Ten football programs with the most championships since 1995.

Answer: Everyone will correctly guess Ohio State (8) and Michigan (5). Much to many people’s surprise, Northwestern is number three with 3 championships. That’s one more than Penn State.

Another thing that Northwestern football does right is to prepare their young men for life after football. Read about the Northwestern Football Player Development Playbook.

I’m looking forward to the NU-AU game. I think it will be a great game that will be talked about for a long time. Auburn has a great football tradition. I’m sure that the Wildcats feel honored to be playing such a storied program. I know that great football in Alabama isn't limited to the U of A.

Next time: Who might get the RSVP for joining the Big Ten? Are there programs beyond the “Usual Suspects?”

Go ‘Cats!

BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)



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