NOTE: This article is rather pointless.
Northwestern football has scheduled the Massachusetts Minutemen for the 2019 season. Yes, one of the football games I get to watch in my first season after graduating is against a team that currently does not have a conference. Yes, UMass got kicked out of the MAC.
That’s okay, right? Surely the game’s location on the calendar in November will drive up student turnout! I’m sure I would want to watch the Minutemen take on the Wildcats on a 35 degree day in Evanston! That’s just how I want it to be.
Okay, I’ll admit it, this game is fairly awful. I feel like Northwestern was annoyed that the Big Ten banned it from scheduling FCS teams and decided to buy the worst possible team in the FBS, even though, you know, Northwestern lost to an FCS team in 2016. Whatever, we’re getting the Minutemen. Hooray.
Look, I get the “don’t be overconfident” angle. However, even if the game is competitive, it will be competitive because Northwestern cannot score with (presumably) a freshman quarterback at the helm. The Minutemen ranked 106th in offensive S&P last year. I don’t see that getting better any time soon. This game is going to be a slugfest or a blowout.
It’s a shame, because Massachusetts has so many colleges to choose from. UMass is definitely the most boring of the options, as it is not in a conference and will likely be mediocre for years to come.
I found seven schools from the great state of Massachusetts that would be more fun to play:
7. Boston College
This is the obvious answer, as Boston College is better (okay, slightly) than UMass and is in a real football conference. They have also finished 7-6 in three of the past four years, which means the game might actually be competitive, even if Northwestern would be favored. The Golden Eagles have also played Northwestern before, which means there is historical precedent. In fact, the Wildcats are also up 4-1 historically?
This may be the only other legitimate opponent, but why should we bother taking this seriously?
6. Williams Ephs (Purple Cows)
You have to give credit to Williams. Instead of just going with the base purple for their clothing and uniforms, the school made its mascot purple. Unfortunately, the mascot is a cow. A wildcat would wreck a cow, I think.
5. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Does Gordon-Conwell have a football team? No, no they do not. However, God willing, I think they can put one together.
4. Bentley Falcons
Ah yes, Bentley University, the former home of Jay Leno and Liberian war criminal Charles Taylor. Located in scenic Waltham, Massachusetts (next to five other colleges, if I recall) Bentley has a Division II NCAA football team. Unlike Northwestern, Bentley has produced a decent NFL offensive lineman within the last decade in Mackenzy Bernadeau, who started 48 games in the NFL (main criterion: lasted longer than Brandon Vitabile).
While Bentley is a Division II school and would surely lose, the school could surely use better opposition than Merrimack, LIU Post, Southern Connecticut State. Bring the Falcons to Evanston!
3. Boston University Terriers (defunct club team)
In 1997, Boston University dissolved its football team immediately after homecoming weekend, destroying a Division I program that had existed for 91 years. There was not enough money, and the school used the scholarships to comply with Title IX.
I think they once had a club team, but the Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2011. What a disaster. Get the band back together, and you can play Northwestern.
2. Holy Cross Crusaders
It appears that Northwestern basketball won’t give us the Carmody/Collins grudge match we deserve, but at least we can make fun of a hypothetical football game between the Wildcats and Crusaders. Holy Cross is actually a decent FCS team, sometimes, and could make for better competition than Eastern Illinois.
1. Harvard Crimson
From what records I can ascertain, Northwestern football has never played Harvard. It
has never even played an Ivy League school (shoutout to me for forgetting to search for Dartmouth and Princeton on James Howell’s site).
That needs to change. In order for Northwestern to vault into the U.S. News and World Report Top 10, I think it needs to crush Harvard football. Sure, Harvard is in the FCS, but we’ve never cared about opponent quality. Northwestern used to schedule Duke football from the early 2000s. They’re also playing UMass.
Most importantly, we can ensure large amounts of bragging rights over Harvard grads forever, especially when we defeat the Crimson 63-0. This game needs to happen, if only for Morty’s ego.
If we can’t play them in football, the least we could do is schedule them in basketball. But noooooooo, Northwestern had to schedule Brown instead.
I still can’t believe people are actually going to watch Northwestern vs. UMass unironically.