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Coming to Evanston: The Big Ten Tour

Drew Cieszynski has pretty much figured out how to live life: In 2006, he went to every baseball stadium, in 2007-08, he went to every NBA arena. His schtick is that he writes about it online, and gets enough people to read it that smart teams will realize they'll look good if they show him a good time. In case you can't tell, it's a good gig. 

This year, he and his friends are going on a more mundane trip: rather than 30 stops, they're taking 11, one a weekend, and seeing the Big Ten. They're footing the bill themselves, so check out the site and help him out. (the other way you can help him is by telling him cool things to do in Evanston - that's what the comments section is for.)

. This week, their caravan is rolling into Evanston to experience the riveting gameday experience that is Ryan Field. I asked Drew some questions, and he was kind enough to answer: 

First off, quickly, how's the tour going so far?


So far we’ve clearly established some lifelong memories such as consuming over 500 oz of beer in for less than $20 (PSU), losing our friend for 5 hours (PSU), watching a cop chase an underage drinker through our tailgate (PSU), one of our members getting punched by a female for saying something the girl considered inappropriate (PSU), being part of the biggest tailgate party in East Lansing (MSU), seeing the biggest upset of the Big 10 thus far (MSU), getting a private tour of the brand new TCF Bank Stadium (MN), meeting Tubby Smith (MN), failing the 3 foot bratwurst challenge (MN), and much more.


With that also comes many negatives such as the money we’ve had to shell out, the constant planning for tickets, hotels, and challenging each other to pull their weight in finding the facts.  For example, you’ll notice in the first few lines of our Michigan State trip that Wes didn’t research any of the must see/must do in East Lansing.


You guys aren't necessarily affiliated with any Big Ten school. So from an outsiders perspective, what do you know about NU football? Any associations you have with Northwestern? Be as brutally honest as you can.


None of us have any affiliation with Northwestern, but that’s our goal – to meet the people and get affiliated.  Our perspective is that they are the least known school in the Big 10.  In fact, many of the individuals we’ve met so far didn’t know where the school was actually located.  Clearly, the program has bounced back over the last few years & is on the rise.  We were disappointed to hear of the loss last week because we thought NU was going to be the big sleeper this year despite losing so many players from last year’s team. We’ve heard that there is a challenge filling the stadium and that the stadium could use some renovation, but that’s all hearsay. (ed. note: I've heard that gravity pulls you earthward, but that's all hearsay.)


Of the awards you're going to give out on your site, which do you think Northwestern has the best chance of bringing home?


Well there are clearly multiple awards that NU can compete for whether or not they’re a small school.  They could have the Best Fan, the Best t-shirt, the "Perfect 10" (I would think girls in northern Chicago are better than most in the Midwest?), Favorite food (I’ve heard something about Mustard’s Last Stand?), or the Terrific Tailgate.  I’m sure we’ll be making up awards as we go along, so NU may create some awards in itself, such as best local Microbrew (which Goose island would be competing w/ Surly from MN)


You guys were up at Minnesota last week, and we play them saturday.. I've never really had a problem with Minnesota, so give me at least one reason not to like Minnesota. (I mean, you probably had a great time, but something had to have gone wrong, right?)


Minnesotians are generally great, except if you’re from Iowa or Wisconsin – then their sportsmanship becomes questionable.

My biggest complaint was that there was no good opportunity for the average fan or the students to tailgate outside the new stadium.  It seemed to cater largely to the high rollers and donors.  They play in the 13th largest media market in America, so they seem to treat it more like a professional game than they do the college game, with the upscale clearly benefitting. 



When I said I asked him "a few questions", I meant "four questions." 


So Drew and crew (rhymes!) want to know what to do in Evanston on Saturday. If you have any suggestions for where they can tailgate, eat, or do whatever it is you think they'd like to do, well, that's what the comments section is for.