Northwestern University has long been an institution of higher learning known more for the intelligence of its students than the ability of its student athletes. People choose this university because it provides a solid education, one that generally helps to launch successful professional careers.
But Northwestern, as is true for virtually all colleges and universities in the United States, is actively engaged in varsity sports. Football, basketball, baseball and many other sports are played by teams that wear the Northwestern logo.
However, it is a school with high academic standards and such schools frequently have trouble recruiting top high school athletes. So it should come as no surprise that the Northwestern Wildcats , as members of the very rugged and competitive Big Ten Conference, frequently end up losing more games than they win.
The university’s Athletic Director, alumni and student body seem to accept the fact that their university fields teams that are not always competitive.
Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald, now in his tenth year, led his Wildcats to a poor Won-Loss record of 5-7 in 2014. When playing Conference foes, the Wildcats were only able to muster three wins in eight games.
Performances such as those that produced last year’s losing record held out little promise for major improvement in 2015. And yet, the Wildcats may have shocked the college football world with their start in the first two games of the new season.
It began with a home game on Saturday, September 5th. On that day, the Wildcats entertained the visiting twenty-first ranked Stanford Cardinals and shocked the out-of-towners by beating them. The final score was 16-6, a defensive battle.
Northwestern University stayed at home for its second game on September 12th. Eastern Illinois University was the opponent and the overmatched loser. The Wildcats triumphed easily, winning the game 41-0.
Northwestern University still has six home games that need to be played. The team will host Ball State University on September 26th, the University of Minnesota on October 3rd, the Iowa Hawkeyes on October 17th, Penn State University on November 7th, Purdue University on November 14th and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini on November 28th.
The Wildcats should be competitive in every home game and that means this up-and-coming squad can win many of the games.
The road may be somewhat less friendly to Northwestern University. The Wildcats will have to play the Duke Blue Devils this Saturday, September 19th, the Spartans of the University of Michigan on October 10th, Nebraska’s “big and bad” Cornhuskers on October 24th and twenty-fourth ranked Wisconsin on November 21st. The Badgers present a real challenge to the squad from Northwestern.
The Wildcats are 2-0 for the first time in memory and face serious challenges to their hopes for a winning season. But this team has already proven that it can win. It’s going to take maximum effort from every team member and great game plans to turn this school’s football fortunes around.
Courtesy of USAToday.com