...NU is 4-2 (0-2). However, as some predicted on the pre-game prediction thread, this was going to be a difficult game to win. Whether it was played at Camp Randall, coming off the most hyped NU game in history, playing a good team that was extremely desperate for the win, or whatever factor you want to consider, NU was going to have a difficult time to win. However (in the Stephen A. Smith voice), I don't even think the most anti-NU fans or strong Wisconsin fans could have predicted this debacle/embarrassment/poorly played game/etc. I said in the pre-game thread that given what NU came off of, it would be difficult to fill the emotional tank that is necessary against a good team to have them win, and that the game would not be competitve at any point, but I didn't envision this.
Some general thoughts of mine:
- While I think Pat Fitzgerald and Jim Phillips have done some amazing things in terms of branding, name recoginition, building excitement/buzz, I still have a hard time seeing NU win a B1G championship in the Pat Fitzgerald era. I hold out some hope given the significantly increased quality of recruits coming in, but with Urban Meyer at OSU, I just don't see NU winning the coveted B1G championship, something Pres. Schapiro, Jim Phillips, and Pat Fitzgerald have repeatedly stated as their primary goal. I think most of us agree that it will take a combination of the right schedule, strong play by NU, and some additional factors to put it together, but even with improved facilities coming in the future, can it get NU to the next level? At this point, I just don't see it.
- 2014 Motivational T-Shirt Slogan: 54:31 (5:22 - OSU + 49:09 - Wisc + ......) After six games, NU is ONLY 54:31 from being undefeated, so that will surely be a motivator for the 2014-15 season.
- Trust Youself: While I love the slogan/successory, is it really necessary to have some random guy (intern, student, volunteer assistant, coach, ???) hold the sign out for everyone to see. It is the biggest 'look at me' move that does nothing and is just silly. I know college football is filled with awkward touching of things to get motivated (i.e. touching rocks, mascots, "Play Like a Champion" signs, etc), but this seems buffonish to have someone hold the sign.
- Kyle Prater. Since no one can agree what the proper description of his performance at NU has been so far, I'll just state the facts, and you can judge what his play warrants in terms of an adjective. In two B1G game, he has 2 catches for 10 yards (long of seven) for 0 TDs, and his 'awesome' blocking that has been heralded by some yielded a crucial (and obvious) holding penalty late in the OSU game.
- A positive. While NU's defense gives up yards like the bad defense they are, they are outstanding at producing/creating turnovers. Both in the OSU and Wisconsin game, the interceptions and fumbles (forced and unforced) have been awesome.
- 2013 season outlook. Even with this game, I still see NU going 9-3 (5-3) with a slight chance of 10-2 (6-2). The B1G is not good, and the combo of Minn/Iowa/Ill is not scary at all, MSU is a game that I would feel confident in NU, and still think the split of Michigan/Nebraska is likely. Can NU get to the Buffalo Wild Wings/Gator/ or maybe Outback Bowl, sure, but man, that is not very exciting to me.
- Gameday. I know it was an AMAZING showing by NU fans, students, alumni, etc, and the job that Jim Phillips and his staff did for NU, Evanston, and even Chicago was award worthy, but outside of it being super fun, does anyone really think it does anything for NU or NU football in the long run? NU's recruiting has improved, b/c Pat Fitzgerald put more effort, emphasis, and some of his long-term relationships came to fruition, but there are MANY programs that get onto Gameday over the course of a few season, so does this really help NU? Also, if you are saying the primary purpose is having fun, then great, just don't tell me it increases 'exposure' for NU. Northwestern University is a Top 15 private school in the 3rd largest US city that is in the B1G. Does anyone think it is lacking in exposure?
- Best Gameday sign: O-H-N-O. Classy, simple, breif, using NU logo, etc.
- Individual awards: I am bummed that I don't think VMark, KColter, or JBudzien will be vying for any high B1G honors or All-American. I fully expected VMark and JBudzien to, but whether it's been injuries or disappointing performance, this season will just not acheive it.
- Rankings: I saw that some people are bummed that NU will be out of the rankings, well, they shouldn't be there after this performance, and they have enough time to get back in. Granted for NU, more important than rankings is B1G finish, so let's focus on something more tangible and not something so 'relatively' meaningless.
- I'm glad NU is playing an awful Minnesota team at home next week. Let's blow them out, get a win in the B1G, and start accumlating some wins.