Alviti Rocks In All-American Game, Bowl Mania Shakeup & Gulp for Gopher Game, Plus More

Probably the biggest news of the weekend came via Teddy Greenstein, who reported that the B1G had inquired to Northwestern about moving to the East in conference division realignment, based on the fact it is a national school with large alumni contingents up and down the eastern seaboard. Jim Phillips and team said “no thanks” as the alignment would have had NU alongside Michigan,Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, and Maryland, leaving a relatively clean East/West division split. Obviously, that would have been least advantageous to us from a travel convenience factor and we have some natural rivalries that have developed with the likes of Iowa and Nebraska (I know only two games so far, but they’ve been doozies) plus Illinois and even Wisconsin that would blossom more  being in the same division -and easier drives for fans make the west more attractive.  You can read more about Teddy’s report here.

Gopher Time, Gulp!

I’ve already reframed my thoughts on this year’s basketball team and am looking at it as incredible playing experience to make our slew of freshmen battle-tested for next year. Otherwise, I’ll simply get depressed. #9 Minnesota (13-1,1-0) hosts Northwestern tonight at the Barn (6pm ct, BTN) in what should be another bloodbath as Tubby Smith has the state hoops fans in euphoria after blasting Sparty to open B1G play.  The Gophers are a match-up nightmare as they play above the rim and Rodney Williams will certainly add to his highlight reel season tonight. They’ve got size (Trevor Mbakwe), speed (Andre Hollins) and a true team chemistry that once again shows how much other teams are progressing program-wise (remember last year’s battles against Minnesota?) while we are going in reverse, albeit, greatly contributed to by injuries. I simply can’t wait until Reggie Hearn gets back so we can at least have some semblance of hope.


LTP Bowl Mania

We’ve got just two games left in the LTP Bowl Mania contest and the bragging rights of hosting Gary Barnett’s game-worn jacket for a full year.  And, wouldn’t you know it, things got crazy this weekend. Thanks to Ole Miss blasting Pitt yesterday and Johnny Football putting on a clinic Friday night, we have a new leader. “Vedderkj71” is in first place, but will likely not finish there as the current leader has 465 points, but just 3 possible points remaining (PPR). “The REAL Purple Wildcats” is in second, just eight points behind the leaders with 457, but has a significant 39 PPR and is in good shape should he go 2-0 today (Kent State vs Arkansas State) and tomorrow’s national championship game. Dan Baren 1 is very much alive tied in second with 457 and has 29 PPR.  Our fearless leader, “Fire Carmody” who had been leading from the opening kickoff, has been eliminated and his in fourth with 454 points, yet just 3 PPR.  Yours truly is back in RespectableVille with 409 points and I’m still technically alive with 65 PPR.  We’ll update the standings in the morning and then award the Barnett Purple Jacket on Tuesday.

Syracuse’s Marrone Taking Bills Job; Another Plus For 2013

The news keeps on getting better. Michigan State’s slew of stars are bolting for the NFL. Now, Pinstripe Bowl champion Syracuse, a 2013 non-conference opponent, is in the hunt for a new head coach, at least according to, who is reporting he has taken the Buffalo Bills job. This will mark the third non-conference opponent we’ll face that will be under the direction of a NEW head coach (Cal, Western Michigan are the other two).  We love off-season mayhem, especially when it benefits us. Tough loss for the ‘Cuse as Marrone had that program big time arrow up this season.

Alviti Shines in Semper Fi

Matt Alviti was the top performer in the Semper Fi All-American game played in Carson, California in a losing effort for the West squad. Alviti was 10-12, 104 yds in the game and reportedly wowed with his arm and his feet.  You can read more about the likes that Alviti upstaged here.

‘Cats Lose Out On Jaleel Hytchye

This one is a recruiting shocker. The ‘Cats seemed to be in prime position to land Cincinnati area DB star, Jaleel Hytchye, yet we lost out to another Wildcats program – Kentucky. The two schools don’t really compare in many ways, especially in on field performance and definitely not in the classroom, yet I’ve stopped trying to get inside the heads of 17-year-olds a long time ago. Best of luck to Jaleel on his journey.  You can read more about it here in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Monkey Business

The now infamous bowl monkey which was shredded to pieces in Jacksonville by the Northwestern Wildcats might make some money. I’ve had a couple of you email me about the stuffing’s whereabouts and even offer to pay for it in an auction. We’ll check and see if there are any remnants back in Evanston.

Kafka A Patriot

I didn’t know the NFL even did “reserve/future” contracts, but they do. And Northwestern’s very own Mike Kafka is a recipient of one such deal which ensures he’ll be a New England Patriot to start next football season. Kafka, a fourth round pick in 2010 who was waived by the Eagles earlier this year, will compete with Ryan Mallett (former Arkansas/Michigan QB) for the back-up job.  Here is the news on the ESPNBoston blog. As a Pats fan, I couldn’t be any happier.

  • GradCat

    2013 Football Impact: Syracuse head coach, Doug Marrone, was hired as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

  • Stephen Zgrabik

    Perhaps location was a major factor for Hytchye, and Lexington and Cinncinati are only about 1.5 hours away, while Evanston is closer to 5 hour.

    • Perhaps. Would be a shame if that was the deciding factor. I’d heard we felt pretty good about landing him.

  • zeek

    I watched Matt Alviti; he was absolutely terrific. Hope we develop him well when he gets here. Stable of QBs looks terrific for the next 5 years.

  • cece

    the link says the East won, so Alviti captained the West. (good showing, Matt.) which is exactly where Park Ridge is, and where NU belongs. West side of the B1G.

    • Ooops! Thanks for correcting typo.

      • cece

        ;-) but you gave us an opportunity to point out that we are in the WEST!

  • Sun-times reporting Fitz to interview for Bears job. Here comes the leverage play for big new contract.

    • CatInTheHat

      Wow. Is there a point where we should worry legitimately about Fitz bolting for more lucrative pastures? At what point does he really have to start considering the multi-million $ offers? I don’t think Fitz is an NFL coach, and I don’t know that his “make good decisions, be good men and good athletes” routine would play with most of the egos in an NFL locker room. I’m sure he knows it, but if a $5 million/year offer to coach the Bears was made, you have to think he’d seriously consider it.

      • Couldn’t agreee more that Fitz’s rah-rah, young men tactics would get eye rolls at next level. However, you can’t fault a guy for leveraging his situation. Considering Teddy reports he makes $1.8Million-ish and Ferentz makes double, gotta believe he’s going to get nice continued money spikes to keep him content.

        • CatInTheHat

          Agree completely. After reading that McGrath article, I can’t fault him for wondering what might be (esp. with the Pat Ryan connection), but I think he’s slightly off base regarding Ryan’s priorities. This kind of speculation is great leverage for future contracts, like you said, but I think Ryan would be far, far more likely to move his weight around to keep Fitz in purple than to use his Bears BOD position to advocate for a Fitz move to Halas Hall. I say this knowing nothing about the actual situation, so it’s purely conjecture.

      • zeek

        I don’t really think there’s any flight risk. I’d think he and his agent would use it to get his salary up to $3 million or so per year.

        He’s not looking to leave when he’s just starting to get the program building rapidly with the huge facilities boost coming online in the next couple years and the momentum off recruiting and the 10 win/bowl win season.

        Personally, I really don’t see him making a decision to leave considering that he knows he could be Northwestern’s head coach for 25 more years versus maybe getting 3-4 years to turn around a professional franchise.

        The job security that he has at Northwestern is the difference that makes a $2 million dollar pay gap moot. (Of course, that requires us to make sure the gap isn’t so large say like $3-4 million per year).

    • Important to remember that the conclusion of the article was that Fitz should stay at Northwestern. Either way, the column shows NU is gaining some traction and attention among major college media.

    • Icehockeycat

      I’d echo what some of the others have said on prior threads – Fitz is too smart and too much of a fit for NU (and NU to him) for him to leave, certainly at this stage of his career. Now in 10 years, who knows. He saw what happened to his coach Barnett and knows anywhere else, he would be “just the coach” and his job always in jeopardy. I think his conservative values (stability and legacy) along with the perfect fit at this stage in his career for both NU and him, means he will stay for at least a good half-decade more. Now, using this to get paid appropriately and put pressure on the NU trustees to get the facilities on par is well within reason.

      I am not sure he wants to become an “institution” like Paterno was (he is too smart and I believe too humble to understand that no one man can be so tightly ingrained to a program; a true legacy is that a program needs to evolve beyond a single coach), so think he will leave at some point in the semi-far future, but not now, not now…..

    • Richard

      I think jumping to the NFL would be a big mistake by Fitz. Schematically, your average NFL coach runs circles around your average college coach, and let’s just say that Fitz’s ability to inspire young men who play for the pride of Northwestern (as opposed to a paycheck) is a bigger asset than his ability to scheme.

      Plus, longterm, Fitz will almost certainly earn more total at NU than in the NFL.