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Northwestern - Please Send the Seniors Out on a Win


First - A Word For The Wildcat Seniors…

Wildcat Football Seniors: You’ve accomplished some great things, like winning more games than any other 5 year cohort in Northwestern history. You won with class, unlike some teams who were thugs in uniform. (“Groin-shot” anyone?) You showed that athletics and academics are not mutually exclusive. 

You are going to earn a Northwestern University degree. Trust me, that is *huge*. It is a brand name diploma. And you did it while being an athlete. That’s tough to do - I know, I was a varsity fencer. I also know that being a football player was likely tougher, especially all the extra time in the weight room and working out in the summer. 

When you stand in front of the home crowd at your last game, soak it in and enjoy it. I wish I was there to add to the applause. Nonetheless - Well Done! Congratulations.

And to an equally important group…

Northwestern University Marching Band Seniors: You’ve been on the front lines of leading the Wildcat faithful in support of the football team and the University writ large. Your cheering and playing in the stands was a help to Wildcat fandom, especially the football team. 

You are going to earn a Northwestern University degree. That’s *huge*. It will make a difference. You earned it while going to practice, learning music, learning drill, and doing all the extras that go with being a professional within NUMB. I know how tough that was - I did that myself. It is really a challenge to be a student-athlete; for that is what you were. You succeeded. 

You will play “March of the Steel Men” one last time. You will get your moment in the spotlight. Soak it all in. Enjoy it. The crowd and the football team will give you the recognition you’ve earned. Congratulations! I shall be honored to call you a fellow NUMBALUM.


To all you Seniors - Excellent work! Go forth and do great things!


Finish the Illini!


The 8-3 Wildcats are 18+ point favorites over the 2-9 Illini. While that’s nice and all - I’m actually a little taken aback by the point spread. I hope NU gets the job done; in fact, I hope NU crushes the Illini by 30+ points. Northwestern should dominate the game. But will they? Or will it be a CardiacCats disappointment? Let’s look at this week’s The Good, The Bad, and The Probable.


The Good:


The Wildcats take to the home field turf for the last time this football season. It is Senior Day for both the football team and NUMB. There is pomp and circumstance in the air. There is also a certain amount of swagger for the Home Team. 

On the Visitor side, there is smoldering anger and trepidation. This year’s Illini football season was much worse than last year’s...and last year’s performance got the old football coach fired. The Illini are playing for pride - they want to claim the title of “Illinois’ Best Big Ten Football Team”. The game against NU is the Illini’s bowl game. The Illinois coach is feeling some heat. 

The first quarter has Northwestern running almost at will against the Illini. It looks soul crushing for Illinois. Nonetheless, the Illini continue to play their hearts out. It is a seemingly futile effort. 

After the half, it is even more of the same. The Wildcats’ second team scores. The third team scores against the Illini. It is ugly. It isn’t that Coach Fitz is trying to run up the score - it’s just that the Illini are totally awful. 

By the end of the game, the Illini are a broken team. Northwestern wins in a blowout: Wildcats 52 - Illini 24. The game isn’t even as close as the score would indicate. Senior Day is a huge success. And Coach Fitz achieves a milestone, tying Coach Waldorf's win total of 49, becoming tied for the winningest coach in Wildcat Football history. Northwestern awaits their January 1st bowl game draw against the SEC. 


The Bad: 


The Wildcats take to the home field turf for the last time this football season. It is Senior Day for both the football team and NUMB. There is pomp and circumstance in the air. There is also a certain amount of swagger for the Home Team. 

On the Visitor side, there is smoldering anger and trepidation. This year’s Illini football season was much worse than last year’s...and last year’s performance got the old football coach fired. The Illini are playing for pride - they want to claim the title of “Illinois’ Best Big Ten Football Team”. The game against NU is the Illini’s bowl game. The Illinois coach is feeling some heat. 

The first quarter has Northwestern running almost at will against the Illini. It looks soul crushing for Illinois. Nonetheless, the Illini continue to play their hearts out. It is a seemingly futile effort. 

After the half, the Wildcats ease up. They want to make sure that no one gets hurt before the bowl game. Meanwhile, the Illini are fired up after hanging with the Wildcats for over half the game. The momentum shifts. Going into the final quarter it is looking like a Cardiac Cats game. It isn’t a good feeling. 

By the end of the game, the Illini are playing better than they have all year. Northwestern is on the ropes. And like three previous games, victory slips from the Cats. Final score: NU 32 - Illinois 35. Senior Day is a huge failure. A horrified Northwestern team hopes for a January 1st bowl game draw against the SEC. 


The Probable:


The Wildcats take to the home field turf for the last time this football season. It is Senior Day for both the football team and NUMB. There is pomp and circumstance in the air. There is also a certain amount of swagger for the Home Team. 

On the Visitor side, there is smoldering anger and trepidation. This year’s Illini football season was much worse than last year’s...and last year’s performance got the old football coach fired. The Illini are playing for pride - they want to claim the title of “Illinois’ Best Big Ten Football Team”. The game against NU is the Illini’s bowl game. The Illinois coach is feeling some heat. 

The first quarter has Northwestern running almost at will against the Illini. It looks soul crushing for Illinois. Nonetheless, the Illini continue to play their hearts out. It is a seemingly futile effort. 

After the half, it is even more of the same. The Wildcats’ second team scores. The third team pushes hard against the Illini. It is close to ugly, but Coach Fitz relents. It isn’t that Coach Fitz is trying to run up the score - it’s just that the Illini are totally awful. 

By the end of the game, the Illini are trying to forget 2012. Northwestern wins in a blowout: Northwestern 37 - Illinois 18. The game isn’t even as close as the score would indicate. Senior Day is a huge success. And Coach Fitz achieves a milestone, tying Coach Waldorf's win total of 49, becoming tied for the winningest coach in Wildcat Football history. Northwestern awaits their January 1st bowl game draw against the SEC. 



More later about B1G expansion. Who wins? Does anyone lose? 


Go Cats!

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

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