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Friday Sips, featuring Northwestern Bracketology sads, Venric Mark in the NFL, and Fitz

Venric Mark could make the league after graduating, and also, NORTHWESTERN IS JUST OUT OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT WHY WHY WHY.


Let's look at stuff:

Just when I thought I was out: Jerry Palm did his first bracket projection, and AHHHHHHHHHHH DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMN IT ALL TO HELL THERE'S NO REASON TO LIVE DAMMIT I HATE EVERYTHING CRAP BALLS POOP DAMMIT EXCREMENT POOP AHHHH WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY. (That's my way of saying Palm had Northwestern as the first team out.)

Making his MARK GET IT GET IT on the NFL?: Teddy Greenstein had a nice story talking to an NFL scout about prospects for the big time on Northwestern, and there was some interesting stuff. I already knew some of this stuff - like about how Brian Mulroe had an okay shot to make the league - but was surprised by other things, like the fact that Venric Mark has a decent shot in the league:

"Sproles is a little thicker, but there isn't much difference," the evaluator said. "Venric will run real fast (when tested), he is fearless and he has good hands. I think he will play in the league a long time."

There was also talk about all Northwestern's other seniors and Kain Colter.

RITTENBLOOOOOOOG: Some nice links from the WWL in the past few days: first off, Northwestern's report card, which gave the Cats an A-minus, you know, so our Fall Quarter GPA shouldn't be too bad. I've tried to summarize Northwestern's season, but not many people are going to do better in 150-ish words than this:

Raise your hand if you had Northwestern winning nine games and finishing No. 20 in the BCS standings this year. Thought so. While the collapses against Nebraska and Michigan still sting, only a pessimist would fail to see that Pat Fitzgerald and his staff squeezed just about all they could out of this young team in 2012. The Wildcats led in the fourth quarter of every game and were a handful of plays away from going undefeated. But dwelling on the missed opportunities obscures the games they did pull out, like the nail-biting road wins at Syracuse and Michigan State, or the excellent home performances against Vanderbilt, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois. Northwestern can take a lot of pride in the way it played this season and will bring many key pieces back next season. Now it just needs to go win a bowl game.

They also had a bowl primer for Northwestern, and a list of the best games in the conference this year, which included a Northwestern-Michigan game I don't really remember for some reason. While we're at it, the Sun-Times wrote about that a bit in a Nick VanHoose story.

Also, his first name rhymes with "Frat": ChicagoSide Sports had a nice piece about why, all things considered, Northwestern fans love Pat Fitzgerald. It's a good question, and one that sparked RAGE ANGER in the comments.

I tried not to get into that argument, but here's what I think: Fitz, uh, fits at Northwestern. Win-loss records don't come in vacuums, and he's done a pretty impressive job inspiring a semi-existent fanbase, rallying the school, and having good teams year-in, year-out. Could another coach do what he does at Northwestern? Possibly. Would it be worth finding out in the near future? Of course not. It's disappointing that he hasn't won a Big Ten championship, but right now the baseline for Northwestern football is a good-to-average team that has a good chance to win a conference title or a bowl game. That's all I have to say.