It began last week subtly, without introduction. It was there throughout the game, yet I failed to isolate or identify it. Then, by the third quarter of Northwestern’s 48-27 shellacking of Syracuse, it became readily apparent and I was unable to deny what was taking place.
I was actually relaxed watching a Northwestern game.
Dear Cardiac ‘Cats, what has become of you? Where to have the slugfests against historically awful Duke teams gone? Or what about the 35-point collapses against conference opponents, where have they fluttered off to?
Part of the joy and torture -- it is difficult to discern between the two -- of being a Northwestern Wildcats fan is the way they play up (and down) to the level of their competition. Short of an annual FCS stomping, we Wildcat fans are used to wearing out the edge of our seat each Saturday afternoon. What’s that you say? A 21-point lead in the third quarter over a mediocre Syracuse squad? Buckle up boys, we’re headed for a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding finish.
This year’s ‘Cats have now shown the fans they accept that they are a certain level of team in terms of talent and as such, should be held accountable to playing that way. Finally, they’ve proven that out on the field, when they’re playing bottom-dwellers from non-BCS conferences, they are the superior team. Like, far superior.
And so, because of this, we may now have entered a new era of entitlement as fans of the program. Complacency of a fan isn’t as fun as one would think it would be. Being a lifelong ‘Cats fan, I actually found myself switching between their game with Western Michigan and the far more entertaining Arizona State – Wisconsin game that ended in a calamitous headscratcher highlighted by a new level of incompetence by a Pac-12 officiating crew.
Tip of the cap to you, Fitz, but also damn you, Fitz. You’re endearingly frustrating bi-polar teams now seem to be in the past and we can now rise up to the level (with more dignity, of course) of Ohio State and Michigan fans that have come to expect – and demand – bowl games every season at the least, but mainly to compete for the B1G Championship annually.
Of course, this outright lack of drama will all end soon. October 5 brings to town the program that many on Wildcat fan forums call dOSU and we will once again find ourselves chewing nails, crouching in front of the television, eyes glued to the set, bobbing slightly as if to a reggae beat as the ‘Cats attempt to score one of the biggest wins in program history.
But that’s two weeks away. Until then, we’ll sit watch with indifference as the ‘Cats thump another overmatched opponent and look forward to the time when the butterflies start the night before, we read random posts of impending doom on fan forums and when that happens, we’ll breathe it in, smile slightly and say, ah, this is better, much more familiar.