It’s an insanely busy day on the LTP front, so let’s try and jump in to all sorts of different topics.
LTP Bowl Mania
OK, we have ONE day left to get people signed up for the LTP ESPN Bowl Mania game. As you know, this year we are starting a Bowl Mania winning traveling trophy, a game-worn 1996 Gary Barnett Northwestern jacket, which will reside with the winner for one full year. BOWL GAMES START TOMORROW so the bowl entries close at kickoff of the first game, tomorrow. All you need to do is GO HERE and search for the group named “LTP” then pick your games and assign points. All of you will place a “35” on NU to beat Mississippi State, the highest point total you can assign. It’s simple, easy, and a fun way for us to talk trash against one another when finding ourselves actually caring about Rice. The single season record for entries in this pool is 165 and we are currently only at 115. Let’s try and set a new record. Invite your friends as well!
Clever Cowbell Comeback
According to Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein, the Gator Bowl has allowed Mississippi State fans to bring cowbells, a long-standing, yet outlawed in the SEC tradition, of their fans. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that this is all about moving ticket sales. Yet, one fan base’s pleasure equals obvious “hey, wait a minute!” from Northwestern and its fans. So, we can do one of two things. We can bitch about it, which many have already started to do (I suggest flooding Gator Bowl email and twitter accounts which you can find here at www.GatorBowl.com ). Or, we can be a bit more crafty.
There has to be a reader out there that would want to create a no-brainer PR buzz by coming up with a clever comeback. Said company would foot the bill for a noise-making instrument and flood the NU fan base with them. It’s guaranteed to get picked up in the media and create a literal and figurative buzz. I’m happy to be the mouthpiece for whoever wants to step up with creative solutions and the funds to make it happen.
Congrats to the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi for confirming what we all suspected. Bianchi confirmed from two Capital One Bowl sources that the bowl wanted a Johnny Football Texas A&M match-up against Northwestern. Obviously, that would’ve been a ratings bonanza for us considering the seemingly Tebow-like media coverage of the freshman Heisman Trophy winning QB. It indeed should tick you off as a fan that the SEC and B1G stepped in to meddle with the selection process since the bowl admitted it needs to play the role of good partner. It also illuminates what an old school anachronistic thing the bowl system is. However, I’m still not convinced that Northwestern wasn’t also looking at the best matchup and playing some behind-the-scenes friendly ways with the conference, but that is admittedly complete speculation. It’s hard to argue that Mississippi State isn’t the best potential match-up for us of all the potential options.
What a sad day for nostalgic east coast sports fans like myself. Many of you know I grew up a diehard Providence College basketball fan and I was lucky enough to be in my formative years during the height of the Big East glory days. I remember every game seemingly brought a different superstar in the building – Ewing, Douglas, Coleman, Mullin – and my inevitable Northwestern fandom was shaped by being the eternal underdog in the Big East. Now, the seven Catholic schools are leaving the Big East to form their own coalition -Providence, DePaul, Villanova, Marquette, Georgetown, St. John’s and Seton Hall. There aren’t many ties to how this impacts Northwestern other than the obvious bolstering of the B1G hoops brand and the fact it may help sway more Jaren Sina-types (NU’s top 100 2013 commitment from New Jersey).
Texas Tech Using Fitz Model
Thanks to reader Willie W. for sending this link I never would’ve found. It’s a blog post about the recent Texas Tech hiring of 33-year-old former QB Cliff Kingsbury. Fitz and Northwestern are used as the model and it continues to underscore the national reputation build of the ‘Cats. All you need to do is read the one line where it talks about the 31-year-old Fitz starting 4-8, but now being 49-39, with 5 straight bowl games and a 9-3 record this year. We’ve all seen the ups and downs and the roller coaster factor, but when Texas Tech bloggers are using our program a model it isn’t a bad thing.
Former Wildcat AD An ACC Lifer
Not many younger folks know that Wake Forest AD, Ron Wellman, was the baseball coach at Northwestern prior to Paul Stevens. You can get a sense for just how disruptive the Maryland move was in ACC country by reading this feature in the Winston-Salem Journal. Candidly, Wellman comes across a bit naive for his lifelong pledge to the ACC.
I’ve got a post lined up for next week under the theme of LTP Holiday Gift Giving Guide. Many of you have written books, or run companies that have offerings that might be of interest to the LTP readership. Please send me your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.