Podcast with SI.com Senior Writer Stewart Mandel (Purple Mafia)

February came into our little Purple Planet like a wildcat.

On the basketball side of things, three straight wins for Carmody’s Cats and Tourney Talk was heating up.  (Yes, those are capital “T”s.  It’s just THAT important here.)  And in football, Signing Day featured the two highest rated players to ever join Willie’s World – defensive stud Ifeadi Odenigbo and 6-5 transfer-from-USC-wide-receiver Kyle Prater.

Of course, we’re all aware that the hoops team suffered a crushing loss to Purdue on Sunday that tamed the tourney talk and brought back questions about Coach Carmody’s future in Evanston, even including some speculation by ESPN’s Andy Katz that he might be out even if NU makes the Big Dance.

However, excitement’s still raging about the football team, and for our latest podcast, we caught up with one of the most respected minds on the college football beat today, SI.com Senior Writer Stewart Mandel, Medill ’98 and thus, yet another member of the Purple Mafia.  We talked about all kinds of things, including the impact of four and five star phenoms arriving on the shores of Lake Michigan, offensive changes in the wake of Kyle Prater’s arrival, when and how a college football playoff will happen, an early look at what we can expect at Ryan Field in 2012, and what he thinks will happen to Bill Carmody at season’s end.  And yes, we even connected today’s hottest sports meme, Jeremy Lin, to Northwestern… via the 1995 Rose Bowl team.

We encourage those of you in the Chicagoland area to go see Stewart in person next week at Medill.  He’ll be part of a panel with Pat Fitzgerald, ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (Medill ’95), and the New York Times’ Pete Thamel.  The panel will discuss how covering college sports has changed and how it will continue to evolve in the future.  The event is on Wednesday, February 22nd, at 4 pm.  And for those of you elsewhere, the event will be streamed live as well.  You can learn more about the event here.  It is part of Medill’s Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series.



  • AdamDG


    Katz’s comments on Carmody actually read more like Carmody may quit at the end of the season, not get fired:

    “…Of course, if Carmody were to finally break through and make the NCAAs, the recruiting may go to another level and he would have to stay. But at Northwestern, just making the tournament would qualify as enough for him to move on.”

    • Lake The Posts

      Indeed, Katz’s comments raised an eyebrow, but read very speculative at best. It stuck out as odd, but perhaps I’m overthinking it.

    • Brett Kurland

      @AdamDG: Sorry about the confusion. I didn’t mean to imply that Katz said Coach Carmody might be fired. And I’m with LTP – the whole thing feels very speculative.

      Of course, we should be so lucky as to be faced with that scenario – NU making the tournament, and then being left to wonder whether Coach Carmody would ride off into the sunset after that.

  • Mark

    Thanks Brett and Stewart! Great interview and information. I wish people would stop referring to Fitz as a figurehead and other insulting statements. Yes, he’ll continue to learn just as all of us should be doing in our jobs. Agree with Stewart that the 2011 Cats underachieved but I particularly agreed that Wootton was a key piece – hope Scott can be that guy this year. Go Cats!

  • Jim


    Very little new insight about NU football from Mandel if you’re a regular reader of this blog. My impression is that he’s a “big picture college football writer,” not an NU detail guy. I was waiting for a unique perspective on NU football and just got how ’95 inspired his career choice to write about college football..

  • Pete

    Great interview – thanks LTP!