Around the Big XI, plus other stuff

First off, some responses to things you had to say in response to my mascot death-fights:
The Thief commented on my original post saying that Buckeyes are poisonous, and therefore, couldn't be eaten by Midshipmen. Fair enough. However, they could, like, stomp on them, shoot them, or bring them into their boats and throw them into the water, all of which would be effective ways of dispatching the Buckeye. It also should be noted that according to the wikipedia, the poison in buckeyes can be eliminated "by leaching the pulverized nuts in multiple changes of boiling water, to yield a wholesome starchy porridge once important to some Native American people", and, furthermore, can be eaten by other mammals such as deer or squirrels. Therefore, poisonous or unpoisonous, predict the Buckeyes go 0-12 in their mascot fight death schedule, since they are the seed of a tree - possibly 0-13, since the Buckeyes are probably bowl bound.
Joshua seems to think that I've misdefined the Wildcat in my other post, and, to be honest, he's right. The Wildcat is wild version of the domestic cat that lives in Europe. The wikipedia tells us that it is about two feet long, ways about eight pounds, and is "extremely timid."
The wikipedia also tells me that the word "Wildcat" can be used to refer to bobcats and lynx, which can actually kill something and aren't simply the wild versions of the thing scratching on the bedposts of lonely old women across the globe. I'm going to use this definition as opposed to the snuggly european one. Trust me, it will improve Northwestern's mascot fight death pool winning percentage at least 20 times, unless Miami of Ohio changes its mascot to the "tiny harmless mice", in which case that little tiny Euro-wildcat might be able to fend for itself.

In other news, I'm bored enough with having two weeks left until going back to college that I just wrote two hundred words about wildcats.

So the Big Ten had some mighty close calls this weekend. I predicted the conference would go 11-0, in fact, it went 10-1, on the virtue of ranked Iowa blocking two straight field goals against the University of Northern Iowa, a overtime miracle win for Minnesota in Syracuse, a squeaker of a win in Columbus over Navy, who came to play. To some, the conference looks weak.
But let's not go printing up Purple to Pasadena t-shirts yet. A week doesn't tell you much, which is just as true of the games of our ten conference foes as it is about NU's romp over Towson. A few more weeks of similarly sucky play by teams like OSU and Iowa, and we can talk title. For now, let's just focus on ourselves.
However, a week was totally enough to tell us that, no, Illinois isn't much good. If they get more votes in the polls tomorrow than us after that game, well, journalists around the country need to learn something.

The Top 25.
I have somewhat of an obsession with the AP poll. Not sure why, but I get a rush out of seeing those little numbers in front of my school's name. So every week, until we get into that poll, I'll be profiling both our performance and the performances of teams in between us and that No. 25 spot. Last year, it took the Wildcats a few weeks just to start getting votes, and they ended up in the poll, and this year, we have a preposterously easy schedule, and five votes already. If the team performs the way they should, they really should end up top 25 by the end of the year. The losses will begin racking up for the mediocre teams in the top 25, and NU will most likely be 3-0 in two weeks, and if they can keep that undefeated streak going, they could be in the rankings by this time next month.

Current position: 44th.
Positions we'd need to move up to be top 25: 19.
How many top 25 teams actually lost: Four, with FSU and Mississippi still to play: Oregon, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and Georgia.
So how many spots should open up? I predict one: all those losses were to top 25 teams, and all of those teams were ranked above No. 16, making a drop out of the rankings unlikely. Oregon's loss was particularly ugly though, and they lose their star running back for the rest of the year, so I wouldn't be surprised if they fall out of the voting. Iowa's squeaky win might scare off a few voters, but at the end of the day, it's still a win, and they'll probably hold on.
How many teams in between NU and the top 25 lost?: Four: Illinois, NC State, Central Michigan, and one of either Cincinnati or Rutgers, who play Monday night. (Miami (FL) also plays Monday against a ranked team in FSU.)
Should NU pass any of them?: I've already made my opinions clear on the Illinois thing, and the other three - NC State, Central Michigan, and the loser of the Cincy-Rutgers game - will definitely fall below NU.
So what are NU's chances of cracking the top 25?: Preposterously slim. NU will likely pass those schools and pick up a few votes, but pretty much end up in the same place next week, as other schools will probably pass NU.
Is that justified?: Yeah. Objectively, nobody can say NU deserves to be in the top 25 teams in the country right now. I'd put them between 35-40 right now, but time will show this team improving.



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