This week Northwestern is getting major media exposure.
On Saturday, the City of Evanston (population 75,430) will be the center of the college football universe. All eyes of primetime national television (and the nation’s most popular televised pre-game show) will be glued to Ryan Field as Northwestern looks to make history.
It’s a rarity that any Chicago area college team gets this much national attention. Especially Northwestern, which has had too many losing seasons for comfort in it’s 137-year history. The last time Northwestern had anywhere close to this much exposure was during that magical 1995 season which by today’s standards seems like centuries ago.
That 1995 team included a middle linebacker by the name of Pat Fitzgerald, the same man who is now the head coach of today’s version of the “Cardiac Cats”. In 95’, Fitzgerald was grouped into the spotlight with many of his teammates.
Now, most of the spotlight is on him as he has the daunting task of leading today’s Northwestern squad to the promised land. This is could be the biggest game in the history of Northwestern Wildcats football.
When the 16th ranked Wildcats take the field against No. 4 Ohio State this weekend, the pride of a university, a city and a region will ride on their shoulders in an attempt to accomplish several feats. One of those feats is to break their losing streak against the Buckeyes (Last won in 2004, have lost four in-a-row since).
The Cats’ are also looking for their first victory over a top five ranked opponent since 2009 when they defeated No. 4 Iowa. In addition, the Wildcats are striving for just their third home victory over a top 25 team in the last decade.
Coach Fitzgerald hopes to be the first coach to give Urban Meyer his first loss as the head man at Ohio State (Meyer is 17-0 at OSU). But the biggest accomplishment that NU is looking to achieve, is to ruin Ohio State’s national championship aspirations. A Wildcats victory could very well keep the Buckeyes out of the title picture.
A victory would shine Northwestern in a new light and take the program to new heights. It will also make them serious contenders for the Big Ten Championship and possibly more. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82