Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE
Just a day after Vanderbilt unexpectedly dropped a home-and-home series with Northwestern, the Wildcats added Western Michigan to next season's schedule.
Northwestern worked quickly to add an opponent to the 2013 schedule to replace Vanderbilt, as NU announced Friday that they'd host the Western Michigan Broncos on Sept. 14, 2013.
It was sort of assumed NU would turn to a weaker MAC team to fill the open spot, but it wasn't expected this quickly. WMU certainly fits the bill - the Broncos are 3-4 this year with losses to Minnesota and Illinois - Illinois! - so they're not a world-beater in the MAC, although they did take down a Big East team in Connecticut. And that's with their star QB Alex Carder, who has been the best player on that team for a few years but graduates this season. It's a winnable game and it's another home date.
There was some speculation about Northwestern working out a home-and-home series with North Carolina, who also lost a home-and-home series with Minnesota, but it looks like that won't be happening and probably wasn't a serious discussion. Somewhat disappointing - it would've been nice to play three winnable BCS non-conference games - but there's a lot of details that have to be worked out in things like that. You have to assume NU will now get to work on finding another MACtion opponent for 2014.
Nice work by Jim Phillips to turn around and find an opponent - and not an unsatisfactory one - just one day after Vanderbilt backed out of their home-and-home series with NU.