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More About The Wildcats Taking The W From Io*a and Illinois Preview

Io*a Clawed To Death By Wildcats 21 - 17

The Wildcats win destroyed the psyche of the Ha*keyes. The amount of angst within the Io*a blogosphere was (and is) tremendous. Losing to the Wildcats (again) just crushed their dreams of a Big Ten Championship and eventual world domination. Again.

Meanwhile, the Io*a fans insist that losing to Northwestern is like losing to anyone else - it hurts and they hate it but they’ll move on. Let’s look at all of the background:

Io*a’s excitement for a full year before the game, looking forward to their next meeting with Northwestern. The anticipation… Then the meeting at the Wildcat’s home. The dance up and down the field…and then ultimately being conquered publicly...panting as the Wildcats romp all over them. There's video even. The Ha*keyes devoured in a spectacle by the Wildcats. It's all over the Internet.

And then the feeling of failure as Io*a realizes that the Wildcats were already looking past their conquest, moving on to the next date. I’m betting it was a very long and quiet ride back home.

I look forward to reading Black Heart Gold Pants for the next year. It’s so obvious that Io*a has a total crush on Northwestern. And everyone else knows. :-)

Go Cats!

Illinois Preview and “Chicago Rules”

The bad news is that Persa is out for the rest of this season. The good news is that Illinois has zero clue what to prepare for defensively. Frankly, I’m not sure what the NU offense will look like either. However, Northwestern is becoming known for turning good quarterbacks into great quarterbacks quickly. This week it has to be done in a huge hurry. Las Vegas doesn’t think NU can do it quickly enough - NU is 7 point underdogs. I think the Wildcats can pull off the win. They’ve done this sort of drill before.

On top of all of this, the game is becoming a zoo. ESPN’s Game Day will be parked outside of Wrigley Field. A sea of Purple will flow across Chicago. And just to make sure that everyone will talk about the game for years - the teams are playing the football equivalent of half-court basketball. It’s complicated, but you can find the explanation all over the Internet. (See www.laketheposts.com if you need the details.)

The short version is the following:

  • Everyone looked at the fact that the east end zone included a brick wall six inches beyond the back line. There were discussions about how much it would hurt to hit that wall going full speed. The fact that Allstate Insurance was sponsoring the game made such discussions ironic.
  • The Big Ten decided that while Allstate Insurance was okay with various receivers being carried off on stretchers, they weren’t. So they decreed that all offensive series would head toward the west endzone where there is enough clearance so that certain pass routes are not automatic trips to the hospital. (Yes, both teams will drive toward the same endzone.) All kickoffs will be toward the east. Punts will be kicked toward the west, with returns going eastward; after the ball is downed everything will get shifted around in a mirrored move so that the offense once again heads toward the west. It is going to look really weird on TV.
  • One more thing...both benches will be on the same side of the field, separated by a few meters. They will switch “sides” after halftime. This could encourage certain “behaviors” if the game gets really heated (e.g. Illinois finds themselves on the receiving end of a major Wildcat beatdown and loses their cool.)

This game will be discussed for years. One doubts that this sort of game will ever happen again at Wrigley Field. Or anywhere else. Then again, if the game gets lots of attention and makes a bunch of money you can bet that “Chicago Rules” will be invoked again.

I’m running late. So let’s look at The Good, The Bad, and The Probable...

The Good: Evan Watkins steps in and makes the offense his. (With apologies to Mr. Smith…) Things are different, but it works really well right off the bat. A bunch of points get scored as the Wildcats head west constantly. The defense plays with the kind of inspired play that produced the win against Io*a. Illinois has big issues going toward the west. Watkins becomes Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. Illinois walks. Illinois gets sent back down state with their third straight loss. The Wisconsin game looks a little less daunting. Final score: Wildcats 38 - Illini 17. Blood Pressure at end: 152/100.

The Bad: Confusion reigns as the offense sputters due to lack of rhythm. First downs are scarce, as are the points. The Northwestern defense tries, but it just cannot carry the offense as Illinois keeps heading into the sunset. The "Mirror Universe" game rules are not kind to NU. Zook’s job is secure for one more year as the Illini become bowl eligible at the Cats’ expense. Final score: NU 16 - UI 27. Blood Pressure at end: 142/90.

The Probable: The Northwestern offensive game looks very different. Everyone wonders how the Wildcats were able to change their offensive schemes in a week. (The answer: Our SATs are higher.) The important thing is that it works. Meanwhile, the defense does their part by taking the ball away from Illinois a few critical times. NU’s conditioning pays off as Illinois’ defense is left gasping in the fourth quarter. The Illini finally succumb. Final score: Northwestern 24 - Illinois 17. Blood Pressure at end: 162/110.

Back to Chicago Rules…

Just because it’s fun, share with the world all the ways that points can be scored in the east endzone in this game. I have the following:

  • Punt return into the east endzone.
  • Kickoff return into the east endzone.
  • Interception/fumble return into the east endzone.
  • Safety, as the victim offense is shoved back into the east endzone.

Before anyone says anything, if a touchdown occurs in the east endzone, the PAT will be moved to the west endzone.

Any others?

Quote of the Day: “Losers walk.” Pat Fitzgerald.

Go (Westward!) ‘Cats!

BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)




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