Yeah, that's right, I just renamed this fan-post in punny honor of #99 himself, the man who almost single-handedly ruined Iowa's season -- Mr. Corey Wootton. Sue me.
As for the fanpost itself, Adam Rittenburg of ESPN.com's Big Ten blog has already summed up NU's rooting interests in terms of improving its bowl positioning concisely here. For those of you who don't want to click-through, we want:
- NU to beat Illinois (I should add, we want to beat Illinois but not embarrass them, as an embarrasing loss increases the chance that Zook gets fired, and do we really want the Illini to fire a guy who can't coach his way out of a paper bag, and who Fitz owns much as the Wildcats own Kinnick?)
- Wisconsin to beat Michigan (eliminates UM, plus makes an NU win over Wisconsin in Week 12 even more impressive)
- Purdue over MSU (all but assures MSU of missing out on a bowl, since they get Penn State in week 12; Purdue is unlikely to jump over an NU team that beat them and has/will have a better record, plus Purdue will still have to beat Indiana in Week 12 just to get eligible)
- South Dakota State over Minnesota (this would seriously jeopardize Minnesota's bowl chances, as Iowa awaits at Kinnick in Week 12)
- Penn State over Indiana (this would eliminate Indiana from bowl contention; the more Penn State wins the higher the chances that they get an at-large BCS bid given their fanbase, etc.)
- Rittenberg also mentions that for the Big Ten to get 2 BCS teams (which would improve NU's bowl slot), we should want the following: Utah over TCU, Idaho over Boise State, North Carolina over Miami, Pitt over "That School in South Bend," and (ugh) "That Team in Palo Alto that is in a Different, Non-Winning Boat than Northwestern" over USC.
So there's your "WOOT!ing Interests" for Week 12.....what do you think?
But I'm not just going to crib Rittenberg here -- what should we be rooting to happen so that we get an intriguing/interesting/winnable bowl opponent? And what bowl would you most like to see us in?
Personally, I'm hoping for the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando myself, since I'll be in Florida anyways when it happens....plus playing an ACC team would be fun, it would likely be a competitive game, and its on primetime with no other sports competition, making it a great TV/recruiting/marketing opportunity for our team (much like the Alamo Bowl, which in many ways was better for NU than the Outback Bowl would have been).
The Champs is the #4 Big Ten Bowl this year (meaning Wisconsin would be slotted here if the Big Ten only gets one team in the BCS and the standings stay the way they are now), but there is some rumors out there that the Champs and Alamo might swing a deal to prevent the bowls from ending up with the same team two years in a row (Wisconsin played in the Champs last year, and has been in Florida the past 5 years -- Outback at the end of the 2004 & 2007 seasons, Capital One at the end of the 2005 & 2006 seasons). Champs Bowl representatives were at the NU-PSU game and the NU-Iowa game, and I doubt in either game they were looking at PSU or Iowa. NU has not played in Florida since the Citrus Bowl after the 1996 season (where it sold out its tickets), and has a sizeable Florida alumni base.
So, if you assume the Champs Sports Bowl -- who do we want to play as the ACC's #4 team? Georgia Tech would be a great "academic v. academic" matchup, but they'll be in the BCS as the ACC's #1 team. The other options are Miami (likely to end up higher than #4), Clemson, Boston College, or Virginia Tech.
I'm gonna say our best opponent would actually be Virginia Tech, surprisingly. Their fan base is pretty big and passionate so the game would end up being a sell-out. I think our defense would match up well against their offense, and our offense would be one of the more dynamic ones that they've faced all season (which tells you something about the ACC). Plus, with Virginia Tech being a "traditional" power in college football, a win against them would be a huge accomplishment for Fitz and the Cats.
Boston College would be fun too, just because we go up against them in recruiting. And Clemson would have many of the same advantages as Virginia Tech, but I'm personally terrified of CJ Spiller pulling a Keyshawn-esque "amazing player takes over bowl game" trick that would entirely overshadow Northwestern being in the bowl game....
Alright, until next week....GO CATS! (And remember -- throw your comments below, people!)