So, Northwestern is 6-6. (I'm good at writing headlines.)
This is pretty disappointing considering how talented Northwestern's senior class is - we'll miss Dan Persa, Jeremy Ebert, Vince Browne (even if he wasn't notable this year), Drake Dunsmore, Al Netter, et. al. - but it's pretty cool considering Northwestern was once upon a time 2-5. Things could have gone better - not beating an inferior Army team, blowing leads against Illinois and Michigan - and for a fourth consecutive year, NU won a game less than the year before, but here we are.
Now let's get some things straight.
- It's imperative that Northwestern play in a bowl game this year. It won't be a good game, and we won't play a good team, and we might still lose, and even if we win, it will mean NU will get its first bowl-winning experience in a crappy bowl nobody will remember and all the awkwards will happen. But, well, it's imperative. Northwestern football has a monkey on its back. Scratch that: Northwestern football has a howling, constipated silverback gorilla defecating on its back: not only has Northwestern not won a bowl game in over six decades, the country's longest active streak, we also have lost more consecutive bowl games than any other team. Winning the Motor City Bowl or whatever won't be fun, but it's not so much about this year, which hasn't been fun aside from Nebraska and wouldn't be regardless of what happens in the bowl, but it's about the program. Right now, Northwestern is a team that can't win a bowl. It's a joke, a barb for opposing fans, something coaches at any other school can tell recruits and there's nothing NU can do about it. Nothing NU can do about it besides winning a bowl game. Regardless of where it is, who it's against, regardless of how silly a system that sends over half its teams to meaningless games is, NU has to win a bowl game, and we have a shot this year. Poo-poo the Pizza Pizza bowl all you want, but it gives NU an opportunity to do something it hasn't done in decades.
- That said, I haven't really looked at potential bowl games or opponents because it's too depressing. If Northwestern doesn't make a bowl, this site is turning into a Gossip Girl blog for a week.
- I don't say this often, because I respect the right of all of you to have your viewpoints on my site (unless you make fun of the Knicks in which case I ban you immediately with no thought whatsoever), but let me say it once and for all: if you think Northwestern should fire Pat Fitzgerald because the team went 6-6 this year, you're what we in the business call "stupid". This viewpoint fits a very slim minority of Northwestern fans, but I feel the need to rebut here. Northwestern had a sub-par season and Pat Fitzgerald could have done things better to make the season better. He's the second-longest tenured coach in the conference and hasn't come close to winning a conference championship. But he hasn't done anything remotely fireable, and right now the program is in a state where an off year results in being 6-6 and in a bowl game. If you genuinely think that (replacement coach Northwestern could grab off the scrap heap) would bring more value to Northwestern than Pat Fitzgerald, I feel that it isn't worth my time to list all the reasons you are incorrect in the comments section, so, don't start.
- Let's take a moment to praise Dan Persa. His team went 6-6 his senior season - 4-5 in games he played - and it so completely isn't on him it's not funny. He led the nation in completion percentage and kept Northwestern in games their defense couldn't win. He threw some silly picks and went from an all-Big Ten QB to not even on the list - damn you Russell Wilson! - but still, respect a dope career, hope it has another game in it. (His first bowl game, mind you.)
- I remembered having more stuff to write, but, well, I guess that's it.