Notre Dame prepares to wuss out of Northwestern series, APR, and other Wednesday sips

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame really doesn't look like they're going to play Northwestern after all, but at least Northwestern once again had the best APR of any school in the nation.

For some reason I do this thing nowadays where I wake up at like 5:30 a.m. every day and I can't figure out how to stop it. Does this happen to all adults, or just pretend adults? Anyway: news:

Wake up the OH NOES: Remember that time Northwestern made a hub-bub about scheduling a deal with Notre Dame? They made two silly mistakes. The first was scheduling a series with Notre Dame back when Notre Dame was bad without assuming they'd one day become good again. The second was assuming Notre Dame would ever play those games.

You see, Notre Dame joined the ACC, kind of, adding five games a year to their schedule. That left them with a lot of games in 2014, the year the Wildcats are supposed to visit the Irish. They tried to cancel a game with Arizona State in 2014, but there wasn't a buyout in the contract, so the Sun Devils announced yesterday the Irish will definitely play at Arizona State in 2014 but will cancel a 2017 rematch in South Bend.

That leaves Notre Dame with 14 games in 2012. They can't cancel their five ACC games. They can't cancel their Michigan game, since that's the last in the series that they already opted out of. That leaves seven games, two of which have to be eliminated. The others are teams with whom they have longstanding series like Stanford and USC, cakewalks like Rice and Temple, or both like Purdue and Navy. It seems almost certain one of the two to go will be Northwestern, giving the Wildcats a nice paycheck and Notre Dame the shame of seeming scared to play.

This almost perfectly mimics a situation that unfolded with Vanderbilt last year, who had scheduling difficulties with new SEC teams and opted for the method of least resistance, dropping a team they could lose to. It also mimics it because if they do cut it, it will give Northwestern less than two years to find an opponent. Last time, Jim Phillips did admirably, finding Western Michigan. That cancellation also left an open date in 2014, so the Wildcats will probably have to find two opponents for that season.

A-P-R! A-P-R!: Yesterday the NCAA released its APR numbers -- you know, the ones that grade academic success on whether you graduate and don't drop out of school, which is sad, but makes sense for college sports -- and because stereotypes are real, every Big Ten school finished above the national average, and Northwestern finished first:

It's the third straight year NU has finished on top: Even crazier? Football was one of only four Northwestern sports that didn't attain a perfect score: I know, grades don't matter because we follow sports, but it is interesting how Northwestern has marketed their academics towards recruiting success in football. I've said it for a while now that Pat Fitzgerald uses high academic standards as a boon, a marketing tool to attract smart talented football players instead of trying to beat, like, Wisconsin for local but less academically talented athletes, and its crazy to see it pan out. It had been a crutch for so long, and now this is a thing: Fun APR tidbits: Alabama beat Notre Dame, THE SCHOOL WITH THE MOST STRINGENT ACADEMIC STANDARDS FOR THEIR STUDENTS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOTRE DAME AND NOTRE DAME IS EVERYTHING THAT IS RIGHT ABOUT FOOTBALL, and Michigan and their Michigan Men were last in the Big Ten.

You see? Not using likenesses:: We found out the team ratings for NCAA 14 yesterday, and, well, unlike Vegas, the people at EA Sports does not like Northwestern. Northwestern is ranked an 86. That's beneath Michigan State (91), Iowa (88), Mississippi State (88), and tied with BC, all of whom Northwestern beat in actual football games last year. I say this is part of EA's ploy to prove to jurors in the O'Bannon case that this game is not based on reality to save the NCAA's amateurism argument, sorta like how they made Kain Colter a white guy with red hair last year.

Pur-who? Hammer and Rails argues that the Boilermakers have the worst athletic department in the Big Ten, which is an interesting gambit, I suppose.

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