A caveat and apology to those of you that have been struggling to access LTP in recent weeks. Today, my hosting company is migrating this site to a new server. I’m loathe to IT, but the famous last words of “it shouldn’t disrupt the site” usually mean “expect the site to be down for part of the day”. You should experience much quicker load times and an easier experience by this afternoon. We won’t be able to post until the speedier load time is in play so…insert likely breaking news here (commit #1?!!). Now back to business…
Luke Donald tees off at the Masters today at 10:46 am et with Nick Watney and Francesco Molinari in his group. Luke’s group is directly behind Tiger’s. I’m sure many of you will be tracking the Wildcat throughout the day. It’s also MLB’s opening day, kinda. I’m actually getting to attend the Cubs home opener in day one of the Theo regime and after balmy weather for the past two months, Mother Nature has toed the line of windy and cold just so that we continue the opening day trend here in Chicago. However, as Tony Jones continues his comeback from an injury and reports of Christian Jones hurdling a defender continue from Evanston, we’re going to take a peak around the B1G ad see what’s going on with a particular bent on our 2012 opponents. Let’s do it.
Why not start with our favorite team to oogle. I’m a week late to the party on this one, but even the meanest Wildcat fan wouldn’t wish this kind of bad luck/curse on the Hawkeyes. After yet another slew of injuries, discipline issues and departures that really is too long to list, the Hawkeyes had to go all in (again) on a rarely used RB heading in to 2012. Said RB was Jordan Canzeri who promptly blew out his knee in spring ball. The Hawkeyes are down to two RBs – Damon Bullock and De’Andre Johnson -that’s it. However, the Hawkeyes have remarkably recovered every single time to produce from the RB spot. The Hawkeyes have their own Malin Jones in either Greg Garmon or Barkley Hill as entering freshmen who will compete for the starting job this summer. It’s going to be interesting in Iowa as the team that doesn’t seem to change has quite a bit of change with a new OC in Greg Davis, which is a welcome sight for the seemingly majority of folks who thought Iowa was overly conservative on offense. Adam Rittenberg reports that the Hawkeyes will be adopting a Northwestern-like (I added that part), no-huddle, spread attack with a priority on passing. Hmmm…I wonder where they got that idea from?
The team we can never seem to beat is obviously undergoing the largest transformation as former New England Patriots OC Bill O’Brien has the unenviable job of trying to weather the storm of year one of AJP. Priority one is to try and create some semblance of normalcy in what will be a very distraction-filled off-season. The Jerry Sandusky trial is looming and the fascination with how Penn State rebuilds its brand will be the first several questions on the mind of every media member with a mic and pen. Here is ESPN’s Outside The Lines feature that will be appearing in ESPN The Magazine in two weeks. It’s a good, thorough overview of the entire sordid mess.
Considering there is no easy segue to talk football, we all know we’ve yet to stop Matt McGloin who will soon become a verb in NU annals as the guy seems to have his one shining moment/game each year against Northwestern.
Off Tackle Empire
The B1G’s self-proclaimed “smoking room” has been serving up some great content as of late. They’ve begun a week-by-week dedicated 411 series on each of the twelve conference teams. They’re saving a lot of us a lot of research time on mundane things like the Indiana secondary and such. Be sure to add it to your daily routine. Take a peak here.
Our season finale is with our in-state rivals in Evanston. Obviously this “rivalry” has heated up in recent years and we as ‘Cat fans are still wincing at the past two seasons and the painful losses to Ron Zook’s team. Adam Rittenberg has a neat article here about new head coach Tim Beckman’s win in retaining most of the standout players on the Illini and how he did it. One of my favorite non-NU players, CB Terry Hawthorne, is likely moving to WR, which will be interesting to monitor.
Obviously it is not football, but I thought Kansas State made a great pick-up by signing Bruce Weber. What a windfall. Weber is getting $3.9M in severance/buyout dough and is on the books at Kansas State. I still think Nebraska made a mistake by not getting the B1G savvy coach who has a Chicago pipeline and unmatched knowledge of the conference. I was happy to see dominating big man Meyers Leonard choose to go pro as well. While we’re on hoops you may have seen that the Buckeyes’ Jared Sullinger is entering the NBA Draft as well.
I wanted to throw a couple of shout outs to some LTP readers for their recent work. It’s hard to believe it has been 25 years since Al Campanis’ infamous remarks on Nightline. For those of you who are too young too remember, and even for those of us that remember this journey in time and its impact by ESPN’s Willie Weinbaum, who wrote this standout feature for ESPN’s Outside the Lines is a must read.
Separately, Dan Shanoff continues to operate one of the better kept secrets in the world – a company called Quickish. It’s real-time editorial curation of relevant trending sports info via Twitter. His sensibility for what’s hot/not is unparalleled in my opinion, perhaps because he is also a good friend. Be sure to bookmark it here – www.quickish.com . However, the guy is also a phenomenal writer and with all the buzz about our new Under Armour Unis and what they may look like, this feature on the fan fascination with unis is a must read. I can tell you Dan’s personal favorite is the #2 Northwestern jersey he scored from the NU garage sale they use to hold in Evanston. It is the Lee Gissendanner (my fav) jersey. Funny how 20 years later #2 will be THE uni for ‘Cats fans heading in to 2012 (with #21 being right there with it). Please take a moment to check it out!
LTP Pack Ryan Field Purple Pledge.
Thanks to Tom’s wife, we’ve added two more to the LTP Purple Pledge of 2012 Northwestern season tickets. The lovely Mrs. bought season tickets as a Valentine’s gift for HER husband. That brings us to nine. The scoreboard is in the upper right of this blog as we try and get 200 NEW season ticket holders as part of our quest to pack Ryan Field with 47,130 mostly purple every week. Ticket renewals are due by April 15 so be sure to start convincing your friends to join you. With 3,000+ daily readers, all we need is many of you to get a pair of new season ticket holders and we can move the needle. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your tales of new season ticket holders!