In just three days, the 2019 season will officially kick off for the Wildcats and their fans.
The feeling of typing that sentence after months of churning out preview content is special for me. After all, we can hypothesize and prognosticate as much as we want, but everything always comes down to what happens on the field.
For the Wildcats, though, unpredictable twists and turns within those on-field outcomes seem to happen even more than they do to the rest of the participants in this wild sport.
Time and time again, Northwestern’s games have come down to field goals, last second drives, and crucial fourth-down stops. Sometimes, those moments go against the team in purple, but more often than not across the past four years, they’ve gone in favor of the ‘Cats. Part of it certainly can be attributed to luck, but the preparation, conditioning and work that is done in the summer and throughout the year has an effect as well.
For a newer fan like me, who hasn’t been through the trials and tribulations of this program’s history, it’s easy to look at the success Northwestern has had and take it for granted. Looking across college football, it’s easy to point out teams doing more.
After all, three bowl wins and 36 wins in a four-season span isn’t necessarily unheard of. In fact, those would be disappointing totals for heavyweights such as Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State. But Northwestern isn’t like any of those schools.
Despite an undergraduate enrollment of under 8,500, considerably less than half of that of any Big Ten foe, the Wildcats compete with just about every team they face (revenge is coming for you, Tennessee), and end up beating a majority of them. The success that the program achieves with regularity can’t be taken for granted.
A big game will be played on Saturday, and, like the rest of you, I will get worked up if I don’t agree with how the quarterback situation is handled, or when Mick McCall calls a speed option on third-and-10. I’m not even going to qualify this section, because that frustration it’s just the nature of being a sports fan. We seek perfection from our teams, and get upset when that isn’t delivered.
Perfection isn’t needed on Saturday, but solid execution is important. A win in Palo Alto would be a phenomenal tone-setter for the year, especially considering the tough schedule ahead. But if that doesn’t come, please don’t freak out. Okay, let me rephrase that. When we’re freaking out, at least try, along with me, to appreciate the run that this program is on.