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What? It’s the Middle of Summer Already?

Let’s do a quick recap of the past six, seven months.

Northwestern lost the Meineke Car Care Of Texas Bowl. It was hard fought, but frankly I’m sick of the bowl losses. As I’ve said for a few years now, there are no more “moral victories” - you either win or you lose.

The MCCOT Bowl loss dropped the Wildcats into a losing season for 2011 - 6-7 on the year. This was the lower end of “The Probable” for the season. (Recall my predictions for the 2011 season back in August of last year.)

Okay, the losing football season is out of the way. Next was the basketball team *NOT* making the NCAAs...again. But NU is a regular at the NITs.

Did anything go right for the Wildcats? The answer is an emphatic “Yes!”

NU Football once again ruled the APR (Academic Progress Report), posting a 995 out of a possible 1000. This was tops in 1-A/FBS and tied for first across all of Division 1 (1-A and 1-AA). This means our athletes actually go to class, do well, and graduate with a degree from one of the top 15 universities in the nation. Having been an athlete (varsity Fencing), I can tell you that being an athlete and doing well in school is a challenge. These Wildcat graduates will go on to do great things for their communities and for the reputation of the university.

Women’s Lacrosse won the national title again. This makes 7 out of the last 8 NCAA Lacrosse titles going to Northwestern. NU absolutely rules women’s lacrosse, becoming a dynasty like no other before.

Let’s go back to the APR thing - Northwestern sports teams did extremely well across the board, graduating the vast majority of eligible student-athletes. The NCAA is starting to impose penalties against programs that do not make sufficient academic progress; going below 930 puts a program in danger. Northwestern has zero worries about being banned from post-season play or other penalties. Keep in mind that NU accomplished the outstanding APR scores while being competitive in the various sports. Per the Northwestern Sports website, three of NU’s teams were in the top ten of their sport (women’s lacrosse, women’s fencing, and men’s wrestling). Everyone involved should be very proud of this accomplishment.

What else is going on? We’re less than two months away from the start of football season. In the next few weeks I’ll be writing about the Football Wildcats’ prospects for this year. In the meantime, I can recommend a few websites for the latest on Northwestern sports - football in particular:

www.laketheposts.com - My personal favorite for NU sports updates, including a look at the human side of things.
www.hailtopurple.com - A great NU football website.
www.bringyourchampionstheyreourmeat.blogspot.com - And now, for something completely different… A surreal look at Northwestern sports, military history, and literary references.
www.sippinonpurple.com - A really good general look at NU athletics that takes a very personal look at the reality of NU sports and the special challenges associated with being “that” school in the Big Ten - you know, the one that many people cannot name when they are counting the members of the Big Ten.

There are a couple of other blogs of note:
www.presnapread.com - I look forward to the annual football rankings countdown. When the site starts their review of every Division 1A/FBS team (this year starting with #124, Texas-San Antonio), it’s the first “official” sign that football season is coming. The PreSnapRead countdown is like having an Advent Calendar, but longer and for football. It includes a nice mixture of deep analysis of what could go right or wrong for each team and has interesting trivia as well. As of today (8 July 2012) PSR is down to #63, Louisiana-Lafayette. Northwestern has not appeared yet, but I think we’ll show up fairly soon. Meanwhile, other Big Ten teams have been reviewed: Indiana (109), Minnesota (84), Purdue (73), and Illinois (64).
www.offtackleempire.com - The consolidated Big Ten blog of record. This includes looks at each member of the Big Ten plus the most reviled B1G enemies (we’re looking at you TTFSB). It includes more than a small amount of whimsy, e.g. computer simulations pitting each of the Big Ten members’ best all time teams against one another. (NU’s rep was the 1996 Big Ten co-champions.) OffTackleEmpire gets extra points in my book for distinguishing between Dark Ages Northwestern football (pre-1995) and Modern Age Northwestern football (1995+).

For the sake of ranking Northwestern football blogs, I think this one (Northwesternmix.com) ranks around #10 or so…

One last bit of business - answering the email pointed toward me as the lead writer for Northwesternmix.

First question: redacted
First answer: No, I do not need any “help”.

Second question: “Why are there all the adverts and outdated sidebar info on your site?”
Second answer: The answer is simple - Northwesternmix.com is not my site. It is owned by someone else, I just volunteer to write an occasional article to keep Northwestern a step ahead of Ohio State (www.buckeyesmix.com) in the Whatevermix.com world. I don’t get paid for writing. If someone wants to start paying me for writing about Northwestern football, drop me a line - I’m willing to shift my rants to another site if it pays sufficiently well. My journalism resume includes:
* Northwestern graduate (science)
* Former Northwestern University Marching Band Spirit Leader
* Former varsity athlete and letter winner - Fencing
* Walking by the Medill School of Journalism many times in my undergraduate career.
* Being mistaken for a School of Communications/Theatre grad at least once.

Curriculum vita upon request.

Go Cats!

BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)
NUMBSpiritLeader@gmail.com
Twitter: @nuspiritleader.

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