I think as Northwestern football fans, we are all disappointed. Even more negative posters/fans like myself did not envision this. Currently at 2-3 (0-2) and even with some mediocre teams coming up like Iowa and PSU, the push to get to 3-5 would be an accomplishment for this season. I do think 6-6 (3-5) is something many NU fans would take as a success given what we have seen so far. Sure, that would mean a bowl game appearance, but does that really matter/get anyone excited? The majority of teams go a bowl game, is this what NU fans would consider a success? It was only a few years ago that NU was in the Outback Bowl, and now hitting .500 w/bad teams like BC, Rice, and EIU is something to be proud of? I know people have different standards for success, but I really hope that making a bowl game isn't a success for NU fans.
Regardless of where NU finishes up this seasons, I am truly worried for the future, in a year where we return many starters, have a 1st-team All-Big Ten caliber QB (forgot Heisman, but just this is impressive enough), hear about how great this team is from AD and Pat F all off-season, have an easier B1G schedule (no Wisc), and a weak non-conf schedule, there was a reasonable expectation for some strong success. Forget Chad's 10-2, I think majority of fans would have been content with a 9-3, but now, it has completely gone the other way.
I know we can spend time going through the typical NU excuses: academics, facilities, recruiting, tradition, coaching, etc, etc, etc. But as fans, we all knew the excuses prior to this season, and so did the coaches and team, but yet, we were all told that this was going to be an impressive year.
Also, I realize NU can play a lot of "If" games in regards to injuries, home/away games, officiating, etc, but guys, the fact is that NU is 2-3 (0-2).
So, here is what I want to hear from the posters, without ranting at me, I want all of you to objectively tell me how this program, team, coaching staff, etc will make NU better. Whether your standard is contending for a B1G championship once every 4-5 years (mine), or simply being 5-3 in B1G season. I would like to hear how that is possible, because while I realize that NU had back to back 5-3 seasons 2 years ago, that is seems like a long time ago, and now we have a coach and AD that are so in love with each other, that I do not think they can objectively judge each other's performance. Our AD is driven by marketing, and we all saw dozen's of quotes from Fitz this offseason and during this season that make me realize he is more focused on APR and compliance and 'doing things the right way' than winning games.
I am truly worried for the future, because if Illinois and Michigan continue to rise, those are both good academic schools (both top 35 public universities) that can compete with NU in recruiting smart athletes. Also, couple that with the fact that Stanford and heck, even Wake Forest is improving, I think there are plenty of other places for NU recruits to go.
I know facilities are improving, and that will translate to better recruiting, no one is denying that. What I am concerned about is that it is not improving enough, and with NU's non-conf schedule getting tougher, B1G getting stronger (I think we can all agree, this is one of the weakest B1G seasons in recent memory), and recruiting becoming more competitive, the future does not look very bright. Couple that with the fact that Pat Fitzgerald will be the coach of NU till 2020, regardless of record, what is the future?
I would love some good discussion on this topic without it getting personal or ugly, because I'm generally curious, what is the blueprint to success given what we have seen recently? I am open to discussing this via the blog, offline at AyanKBagchi@hotmail.com, or heck, please feel free to call my cell phone and discuss with me, Six-Four-Six, Two-Six-Three, One-Two-Three-Eight. I don't want to getting into a shouting match, but sometimes it is easier to talk to someone over the phone and reach some conclusion rather than back/forth on a blog.
Besides Herman, if any of you are in the Washington, D.C. area, please let me know, and I would love to grab a beer and discuss this with you, heck beers on me.