That would be Lisa Byington’s sideline interview of Northwestern alumnus Seth Meyers on the Big Ten Network as Meyers deftly ties the current financial crisis to Northwestern’s 1996 Rose Bowl appearance.
Monday I posted a series of photos that showed the field configuration for the Saturday game at Wrigley Field between Northwestern and Illinois. After the configuration was revealed, significant concern slowly built throughout the media this week.
(East end zone eliminated from offensive action)
Today the Big Ten addressed that concern, announcing that only one end zone will be used for offense by the teams on Saturday.
(Another angle of the eschewed, east end zone)
Offensive plays will only take place in the direction of the west end zone - facing the Cubs third base dugout. The east end zone will not be used for offense because the right field outfield wall is too close to that end zone’s endline. (Six inches!)
Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said of the decision on WMVP-AM in Chicago: Read more…
Look, it’s pretty obvious that the Northwestern Wildcats will probably end up doing bad, bad things to the woeful Eastern Michigan Eagles today. It’s a matchup borne out of money and a desire for an easy win. You know it, I know it, both teams probably know it. No, Northwestern isn’t exactly national championship material, but they’re a respectable Big Ten team (oxymoron?) and Eastern Michigan is, well, Eastern Michigan.
But that doesn’t mean EMU deserves to be spotted 3 points at the beginning of the game, does it? Apparently, the Big Ten Network has taken pity on the Eagles and rewarded them with a phantom field goal to start the game. How kind of them. Is that even legal? Why the hell am I watching the Big Ten Network, anyway? These are the questions we’re pondering so far as Week Two of college football kicks off. What’s on your mind?
One of the knocks on the Big Ten recently has been their performance in bowl games. Nowhere was it more starkly evident than just last season, when the conference went 1-6 in bowl games. Iowa was the only team to notch a win, prevailing over utterly hopeless South Carolina.
(”What’s with this football here, eh? Who are these guys in the pads? I want my Jeter!”)
But the gripe from the BXI has always been that aside from the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, the bowl games are essentially road games. The Rose Bowl date with the Pac-10 is in Pasadena, a scant couple miles from the USC campus. Up until this year, three of the conference’s bowl slots were in Florida - SEC country, basically - and the others were in Texas and Arizona. As a matter of fact, in none of the 7 games was the Big Ten team closer to the bowl site than their opponent. It usually wasn’t even close.
The Big Ten is looking to level that playing field just a little bit, though, and reports are that they’re looking hard at a site in New York. One tiny problem, though - there’s going to be lots of those guys in that picture above.
So look, I’m sorry for the bait-and-switch. But the real reason I wanted to post this has less to do with the national champion Northwestern women’s lacrosse team and their raucous partying below (although that’s pretty awesome) than it has to do with the story of Jaclyn Murphy, a high school lacrosse player from New York and cancer survivor.
Murphy was 10 when she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and soon thereafter came to the attention of Northwestern squad, who decided to adopt her as an honorary teammate. They were there every step of the way during her radiation and chemotherapy treatments and during her recovery, and now, at age 14, Murphy is cancer free. And she must be more than a bit of good luck, because since they met, the Wildcats have won five consecutive national titles. Read more…
I was a student at Northwestern when, on January 9th, 1999, the Wildcat men’s basketball team rolled into Champaign, Illinois and dominated the Fighting Illini 59-46 to go to 9-3 on the season. That particular NU squad was led by All-America center Evan Eschmeyer, who was a terrific college player but a poor man’s Marcin Gortat in the NBA (which didn’t prevent Mark Cuban from throwing $20 million at him to suffer a career-ending injury and become a lawyer).
It had all the makings of a magical year in Evanston. At one point the ‘Cats were 14-6 and receiving votes in the major polls, which was a huge development for a school that had never played in the NCAA Tournament. Yet still, outside of Eschmeyer, anyone connected to the hoops program could walk through town without causing much of a stir. That was especially true of coach Kevin O’Neill, who is back in the news after being hired this past weekend to clean up whatever mess USC is eventually going to find itself in. O’Neill was quite fond of the local drinking establishments — perhaps a bit too fond. And it may have derailed Northwestern’s shot at history.