I should post more often, huh? We built up a lot of stuff here:
Change actually came: Some weirdly big news happened in the last week of college football.
Let's start with the least significant, which came in the Big Ten, where we realized that a leader by any other legend would still smell as sweet: the Big Ten is ditching its divisions with silly names for West and East. That puts Northwestern with Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Purdue. I think you like your chances of winning the division once every few years in that crew, right? Wisconsin and Nebraska settle into the tops of the table and battle for the win most years, but Northwestern has a shot at the title from time to time - they would've been second this year, right? Definitely better than being amongst Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, in my humble. LTP thought this was great for NU, and Inside NU broke down the divisions as well. I just thought the Big Ten's newsdump was hilarious.
Elsewhere: conference realignment is dead! Jason Kirk's breakdown of the era is essential.
In other other news: we have a four-team playoff, and its called the College Football Playoff! This doesn't really effect Northwestern - hey, let's win the division first before we start wondering if we could make a four-team playoff as Big Ten Champions, one step at a time here - but its still better than the old system, and plus, Jim Delany!
B1G commish Jim delany on new Playoff name: "I'll be happy w whatever. Obviously I'm not great with names."— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) April 23, 2013
Cue disappointed Northwestern parents: As a dude with a solid 3.0, I never understood the Northwestern tradition of being like "ugh, I'm FAILING" when you really have a B-plus. But if you're one of those people, you'll be pissed off about Pat Forde's grade of the Chris Collins hire:
Collins passed on several other opportunities to leave Mike Krzyzewski's side over the years before seizing this one. It's a great fit: he's from the area and takes over an underachieving program with a similar academic profile to Duke's. The Big Ten is brutal and Collins has to prove he can be a head coach, but expect to see the Wildcats finally lock up that first NCAA tournament bid in the near future. Maybe Northwestern has found its Mike Brey.Grade: A-minus.
YEAHHHH PURPLE COURT PURPLE COURT PURPLE COURT
I coulda been a pretendah: Rittenblog is doing contender vs. pretender for Big Ten teams that could go either way, and first up was Northwestern. Good news, everyone! (wait now i'm sad about futurama being cancelled again crap)
The schedule is definitely a factor, but if Northwestern can split its first two Big Ten contests, it should be right in the mix for the Legends Division title. The Wildcats host the Michigan schools, and although they visit Nebraska, they won in Lincoln with an inferior team in 2011. Some still don't take Northwestern seriously because they can't shed the perception created in the program's dark days. Those days are over, the talent is much better and most of it returns. Northwestern is a contender.
Rose Bowl shawty: This Pat Fitzgerald interview with the BTN has a lot of interesting quotes, but this was the most interesting:
Q: Could this be Northwestern’s best team since the 1995 Rose Bowl squad?
A: I think we are more talented. We had great chemistry that year, and in 1996, 2000 and a year ago. The work ethic of our guys last year–to come together as a team from spring to the end of the year. We have had close teams, and last year’s was as close as we ever have had. A lot of guys who were a part of that are back and ready to take the next step.
I know it's just coachspeak, but it still gets you geeked, right? Only 130-ish days, guys.
OMAR COMIN: Great piece on walk-on Omar Jimenez by Inside NU. They also do other stuff, like debate which true freshman is most likely to play next year.