College Football Countdown Day 51 - Northwestern
Fourth of July has passed and now we enter the dog days of summer. Today we preview a program whose fans once celebrated a loss by storming the field and chanting "We're the worst!"
School: Northwestern University
Fight Song: Go U Northwestern
Head Coach: Pat Fitzgerald (84-68)
Stadium: Ryan Field (Capacity: 47,130)
Best Place to Eat on Campus:
There is a recent run of high quality farm to table restaurants around Northwestern. I typically like these restaurants, but if I am going to a college campus, I want something a little more traditional. Edzo's Burger Shop takes the classic burger joint feel and adds options you don't typically see in a run of the mill burger shop.
Greatest Moment in Program History:
I am compelled to choose the game where Northwestern broke a record 34 game losing streak, and the student section tore down the goalposts and threw them in Lake Michigan just for the humor.
In 1995, Northwestern hadn't had a winning season since 1962. They opened the season in South Bend against powerful Notre Dame as heavy underdogs. In a shocking upset, Northwestern defeated Notre Dame, won ten of their next eleven games and made the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1948. Northwestern has had up and down seasons since 1995, but that season, beginning with the first win, has completely changed the trajectory of the program.
Current State of the Program:
Northwestern will never be very talented. They recruit smart, tough and quick players and coach and develop them well. When the players develop, ten win seasons are had, when they don't, the consecutive five win seasons of a few years ago happen. After a slow start last season, they righted the ship, made a bowl game and gave the upper crust teams of Ohio State and Wisconsin fits. This trend should continue as long as Fitzgerald is coaching at Northwestern.
vs Nevada - W
at Duke - W
vs Bowling Green - W
at Wisconsin - L
vs Penn State - L
at Maryland - W
vs Iowa - L
vs Michigan State - L
at Nebraska - W
vs Purdue - L
vs Minnesota - L
at Illinois - W