CFB New World Order; NU’s Good Report Good & Another Day Another 2013 ‘Cat…Plus More…

Wow. I didn’t see this day coming. And no, I don’t just mean the college football playoff, I literally meant today’s overflow of college football and Northwestern-specific news. Let’s break it down.

The Four-Team Playoff

By now you’re well aware the conference commissioners and that rep from that school in Indiana emerged yesterday with an agreement in principle to a four team college football playoff.  The basics of what the commissioners will propose to the  BCS Presidential Oversight Committee next week in DC include a seeded system, meaning a committee will select the four seeds.  Additionally, the semifinal games will be played WITHIN the BCS bowls and the two bowls will rotate. The national title game will be bid out to the highest bidding city. reports the potential revenue for this system will generate between $400million – $500million, more than double the current treasure chest.

 Reaction has been across the board and candidly, moments like this were made for Twitter. ESPN College Gameday host Chris Fowler tweeted:

They said I was a dreamer (they being Corso, Herbie)  but I always thought we’d see a cfb playoff! Applause to compromising commissioners

Many of the national writers were more clincial in their assessment and offered up some good statistical gems like the fact there have been five non-BCS undefeated teams since its inception and none of them have been ranked in the top four. Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged that there will continue to be controversy even with a committee in place and flat out acknowledged “not everyone will be satisfied” and mentioned, gasp, that will persist until there is an 8-team or even 16-team playoff. And, if you’re looking for the counter to the Fowler perception then I suggest checking out the Blutarsky blog, a Georgia bulldog site, which neatly encapsulates a sentiment that can be seen popping up from the proletariat bloggery.

To me, this feels like a baby step, but one in the right direction. As I’ve mentioned several times, Fitz is a huge proponent of the bowl system, which I feel will likely not get completely erased in our lifetime, but it could. This process was overtly a compromise. The power conferences looked for a way to satiate the consumer, while insulating their perch as stewarding as much money to their member schools and even trying to save, in the B1G/Pac12 case, what’s left of the tradition of the Rose Bowl.

Perhaps this is why I was so “meh” about the whole thing. I’ve long been a proponent of modeling the FCS playoff system, you know, the single best argument to counter why there shouldn’t be one at the FBS level? Schools who actually do put academics first, but yet, somehow manage to play playoff games in December when most schools are on break anyway.  The “kids wil miss school” argument was such a joke at least it hasn’t come up in this whole process. I should be more excited than I am, but I feel like we’re smack dab in the middle of the extended eight or 16-team playoff inevitability. You can bet the financial gain for the power conferences will lead the way there. It will impact Northwestern from a cashflow standpoint, just as this current system will.

‘Cats Land 2013 RB Xavier Menifield

There is nothing better than getting online and learning about a new Wildcat commit. OK, I lied. Basking in the glow of a win in the fall is better, but for June? No way.’s Louie Vaccher was interviewing the Chatsworth (Sierra Canyon HS), California RB last night and he reported that it was clear NU was at the top of his list. Within an hour of the interview Menifield had committed to Northwestern and the 5-10, 185 pounder had yet to step foot on campus. Talk about a statement.

Menifield is known for his blazing speed as he runs a 4.45/40, but he was so excited by the 1-2 combo of Northwestern’s academics and B1G affiliation he felt confident in becoming a ‘Cat. Menifield rushed for 1,500 yards and scored 35 TDs last season.  My only trepidation was the fact that the last two transfers – RBs Adonis Smith and Arby Fields – were both California natives. Third time is the charm (with all due respect to RB Jordan Perkins (Lodi, CA)), right? Obviously that has zero bearing on Xavier and I’m thrilled to have him join the Wildcat family. Menifield had offers from Air Force, Army and Wyoming. Congratulations Xavier and welcome aboard!

‘Cats Best APR Football Team in FBS and FCS

Congratulations to Northwestern Athletics in general for an outstanding APR report card. The APR is the NCAA report card for athletic programs that accounts for graduation rates, grades and general academic standing of a sports team. Northwestern football was tops in the nation. Eight of the NU programs received perfect 1000 scores while NU football scored a 997 for 2010-2011 and a multi-year score of 995 which is tops in the FBS. NU is tied with Davidson for FBS and FCS football. Click here to get all the info on how well we did.

Rovell To ESPN/ABC

CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell (and diehard ‘Cats fan) has returned to his former employer, ESPN.  The Big Lead reported the news yesterday and Rovell has since confirmed the move where he will also do work for ABC News specifically in the food and beverage sector. Rovell, a Twitter fiend, will be making the move after his last day at CNBC, which is July 6. Congrats to Darren!

Three Chiers For Ajou

Bill Carmody made it official yesterday announcing that Chier Ajou is indeed a Wildcat. What did not happen is the NCAA approval of his playing, yet. Ajou is reported to be the tallest player in NU history at 7-2. I’d love the top five list of runner-ups. Rankin? Esch? Kreft? What a fun post. Anyways, Ajou adds a unique dimension to a Carmody team and one we’ve lacked for much of his tenure…height. Ajou joins Sanjay Lumpkin, Kale Abrahamson (6-7) and Alex Olah (6-11) for the incoming class along with power forward Nikola Cerina (TCU transfer) and Jared Swopshire (Louisville grad) as one of six “newcomers” to a team that returns four starters from last year’s NIT squad. It is quite an amazing extreme makeover for a team that returns 80% of its starters. Official release can be found HERE.


Everybody’s All-American

Congrats to NU golfer Eric Chun who was named honorable mention All-America yesterday. Chun posted the fifth best stroke average in school histor behind three Luke Donald averages and Jess Daley.

Medal Stand

The Big Ten awards a medal of honor to a male and female athlete selected by each university. Northwestern recipients were field hockey player Chelsea Armstrong and baseball player Francis Brooke. Check out more here.

Seen Around Town

I saw a full page color ad of Luke Donald yesterday promoting an in-store appearance in NYC at a Ralph Lauren store. Ralph Lauren is the official outfitter of Luke and sports his own US Open line of clothing.

NU Kids In Town

Welcome to the new online Northwestern source,  The site is run by several current undergrad Medill students and they’ve been up for all of a day, but have some great content previewing each of the NU units (thanks for saving me the time)! They’re promoting themselves as the only independent NU source that will attend every game and from my perspective this is a great thing. The more the merrier. Welcome to the party.

Programming Alert

We’ve got some fantastic content coming up on LTP. Black Shoe Diaries is going to give us a Penn State preview, we’ll check in on the recruiting process that was for Matt Alviti with his family and a few new Purple Mafia Profiles are in the works with a former tennis star, the ideal fan and a former star player.

LTP Ticket Challenge

Thanks to Mark (see yesterday comments) we’ve inched and I mean inched closer to the 25% of goal mark for NEW season tickets. Mark used the +1 to his existing pair of season tickets and it’s a wise move. I need to dedicate a post to the Nebraskanomics of ticket buying this season. I added four single game tickets for that one which cost about $300 when it was all said and done which is more than one full season ticket. Considering the fact the LOWEST priced single game tickets on secondary sites for the Nebraska game START at $125, it is a no brainer to get season tickets this year even if your friends only intend to go to a couple of games. You can only get single game tickets assured if you have a season ticket. Let’s get this thing moving. Email me at to share your story.

  • Doug

    I’m not really sure where to start this post…

    I have long thought the BCS was rather dumb. It erodes the significance of meaningful bowls (aka the Rose Bowl) in the name of crowning something that, quite frankly, doesn’t matter. I honestly do not care who the best team in the country is. In my opinion, a team that wins the Big Ten and then wins the Rose Bowl is the best team in the country. If someone else thinks otherwise, fine. I don’t mind (they are clearly wrong, but its still okay with me if they think that…it gives us something to debate all spring and summer). There are so few inter-regional games, and even fewer between teams of equal caliber, that all our rankings and polls and score comparisons are scientifically meaningless. We will never really know if the Big 10 or Pac 10 is better in a given year unless they all play one another. Since thats not going to happen, we don’t really know if an undefeated Oregon is better or worse than an undefeated Michigan. Sure, a selection committee might do a better job of selecting the top four teams, they probably will, but they won’t be perfect. And instead of debating whether 97 Mighigan or 97 Nebraska was a better team, or whether 2004 Auburn or 2004 USC was a better team, we’re going to debate why a team was 5th not 4th starting in 2014. Its still going to be somewhat arbitrary, there is still going to be the same amount of grumbling and dissent, and in the end, it just doesn’t matter.

    I guess I’m an outdated traditionalist (at the ripe old age of 28), but instead of fixing anything, this playoff is going to make things worse because its just one more step toward never having the Big 10 and Pac 10 champions meet in Pasadena on January 1st, which, in my opinion, is all that really matters.

    • Steve Z


      One of my issues with the new setup is how will tickets work to these games? Are people going to want to shell out the money to travel to a bowl game with the potential they’ll be going to the championship game the next week? And who has the ability to buy airline and game tickets one week in advance of the championship game once the participants are decided? Is the championship game going to reserve blocks of tickets that the schools who are participating will then have to sell to their fans in one week’s time? The championship game is going to want to sell the majority of the tickets as soon as they can, well in advance of when the actual participants are known. The way I see it, most of those in attendance will be locals and corporate ticket holders, with a small minority of fans of the actual teams, just like the Superbowl.

  • Doug

    I’ll go ahead and put my neck out again, by saying that the information about our APR scores is yet another reason why NU should never, ever, change its admissions standards for athletes (or revenue athletes). What is the point of winning if you can’t also say “and we’re the best academically, too!” ?? Its being able to point to our academics when we do succeed (women’s lax — NCAA champs and 1000 APR!) that makes cheering for NU special, and is why I am a lifelong fan.

    • Lake The Posts

      Not at all @Doug. If you can’t be proud of this element of NU then you might need a perspective pill. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  • CatInTheHat

    Am I missing something? Why is Matt Alviti not on this list:

    ESPN rates him an 83, which is higher than half of these “elite” 2013 QB recruits. Did committing to NU somehow drop him from the ranks of the “elite” in ESPN’s estimation? Grrr….

    • Doug

      What is the difference between “QB-pp” and “QB-DT” on that list??

      • Make Some Noyes

        QB-PP = pocket passer
        QB-DT = dual threat

        • CatInTheHat

          Than you and cat for the clarification on the notation. Any insight on why Alviti all of a sudden drops off the face of the earth when it comes to notable 2013 QB recruits? The cynic in me wants to believe that a commitment to NU automatically devalues recruits in the eyes of the jaded, SEC/Michigan/OSU/etc.-obsessed sporting media. Please prove me wrong.

  • cat

    PP-Pocket Passer/DT-Dual Threat

  • Dave

    The tallest NU player I can remember was 7-footer Brian Pitts. Brian played from 1982-1987 under Rich Falk. Despite his height, Brian took up basketball late in high school and followed in the footsteps of his uncle, NU prof Leonard(?) Pitts, to play basketball at NU. Unfortunately, most of his career was marked by injury (and foul trouble!).

    On a side note, Brian – one of my NU fraternity brothers – has made quite a career for himself in Hollywood for his camerawork.

  • TB

    Rowley was listed at 7’0″, right?

  • Lake The Posts

    Thanks Dave, seems like a good purple mafia profilee!

  • Purple to Pasadena

    Excellent posts above by Doug and Steve Z about the futility of the new playoff system. The controversy about who should be in the final 4 will be no less than the controversy about who should be in the final 2. The only difference is that there are now three postseason games (including conference championship games) that players will have to play and fans will be asked to shell out for, and a championship team will play 15 games when as recently as 10 years ago it only had to play 12. Not a good development, in my opinion.

    In better news, welcome to Xavier Menifield! He goes to the same high school as the youngest Kardashian daughters. I’m sure his future teammates would appreciate him having them swing by Evanston for a visit!

  • cece

    re the new blog, football and men’s basketball? or is it both hoops teams? cause there are two hoops teams at NU and both recruit. as do teams other than football and both basketball teams.