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Friday Football Links: Spring practice is right around the corner

And Justin Jackson is still making political headlines.

@coachfitz51 on Twitter

The 2020 Northwestern football season isn’t exactly coming up fast, but there is still plenty of news trickling out on a week-to-week basis to keep ourselves decently occupied in the offseason.

We won’t start to attend press conferences and player availabilities until spring practice begins next week, so for now, we’ll do our best to keep fans in the loop with (perhaps our final installment!) of links and short tidbits from the Northwestern football world.

Here’s what you need to know from this past week:

2020 SP+ Projections are here

Former SB Nation and current ESPN college football analyst Bill Connelly released his first iteration of his SP+ metric, and things actually look pretty good for Northwestern. After finishing the 2019 season at the No. 91 mark, Connelly’s statistics have NU as the No. 50 projected team, which is especially good considering the metric’s tendency to underrate the Wildcats in the past. In fact, the ‘Cats have only finished in the top 50 of the rankings once since 2013.

As Connelly notes, Northwestern’s Top 50 ranking has much to with the fact that the ‘Cats will return plenty of ‘production’ from last year’s squad, which is one of the key factors of the preseason SP+ model. Still, the 2020 projections have the NU offense slotted as just the 110th best in the country. Yikes.

Fitz does basketball

In case you missed it, Pat Fitzgerald worked as the color commentator alongside Dave Eanet for the Northwestern men’s basketball game against Michigan last week. The game itself was terrible, but Fitz was able to rattle off some one-liners that were certainly entertaining and worth your time.

Justin Jackson keeps rising in profile among the ranks of the political left

As the 2020 democratic primaries start to heat up, the current Los Angeles Chargers running back and all-time Northwestern leading rusher continues to gain publicity as an outspoken supporter of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Over a month since his opinions and banter blew up on the Twitterverse, Jackson was featured on a podcast with Sanders’ National Press Secretary, Briahna Joy Gray.

In the podcast (aptly named “Hear The Bern”), he talks about how the Northwestern locker room was often a place for political debates during his time as a Wildcat.

Spring football schedule announced

Last but not least, spring football is actually right around the corner. This past week, the program announced that the team will practice 15 times between February 25 and April 13. The official spring media day will take place at the commencement of practice next Tuesday, and we’ll also be granted four more days of media availability from that point on. Stay tuned, folks!