Another Day, Another 2013 Positive Ranking PLUS ‘Cats Recruiting Wind-Down and Wind-Up

Fitz talks to Quinn Evans at PSU '12

Yesterday we posted the final rankings for Northwestern in both polls  – #16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and #17 in the AP Poll – and we then linked to Mark Schlabach’s “Way Too Early” 2013 preseason ranking that featured Northwestern at #22.  While I debated that ranking as too low based on a number of factors, we’re still in the very discussion we had hoped to be in following a bowl losing streak win on New Year’s Day – a team with a lot of promise in 2013.

Today I’m posting yet another media spoil for Northwestern despite the fact it came out yesterday. Afterall, we’ve got to spread the wealth this time of year and milk the bowl win for every ounce we can.  ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg posted his 2013 B1G Power Rankings and our very own Wildcats came in at #2, behind only Ohio State, heading in to next season.  Rittenberg unfairly gets chided for being ANTI-Northwestern quite a bit as several of you claim he over compensates his criticism of the ‘Cats as to not show any hint of favoritism considering he is an NU alum and fan.  Well, this should address those concerns head on.  Admittedly, AR cites that there is “not much separating” Northwestern through at least the sixth ranked teams (he has Nebraska #3, Wisconsin #4, Michigan #5, Michigan State #6) while claiming Ohio State is in a league of their own. Northwestern plays all five of those top six ranked teams in 2013.

Recruiting Wind-Down

The 2013 recruiting season is quickly winding down and the ‘Cats may be complete with their 28th-ranked recruiting class (per Scout.com).  The ‘Cats lost in an upset last week on the services of Cincinnati-area DB, Jaleel Hytchye to Kentucky of all schools. Northwestern appeared to be a frontrunner for Jaleel and obviously depth at that position is an area we need to really build up in the coming years. The current commitment list includes 20 players for 2013 and according to WildcatReport.com’s Louie Vaccher, there is really only one player left out there the ‘Cats may still add to the class.  That player is WR James Clark, a highly sought after athlete from New Smyrna Beach, Florida who rated his Northwestern a perfect “10″ last month.  Clark, however, just picked up an offer from Florida and has narrowed his finalist list to Northwestern, Florida, Clemson and Texas.  Obviously, we’re battling with some big dogs in that fight and landing Clark would be a huge finish to the already highest rated class in the Fitz era. Plus, Scout recently upped RB Godwin Igwebuike to a 4-star, giving the ‘Cats a pair of 4-stars (Matt Alviti) in this class.

Winding Up Recruiting – 2014

Northwestern has one recruit already committed for 2014 and with an estimated much smaller number of potential scholarships to go around for that class, you can bet it will be a highly selective process. DB Jordan Thomas from Klein, Texas is the lone 2014 commitment to date, but news keeps popping up of offers being made to the soon-to-be high school senior class of players. Dareian Watkins, a Galion, Ohio QB/WR/S/LB is drawing interest from a bunch of schools at various positions. Northwestern offerred the junior way back in September when he was on site for the Vanderbilt win.  Watkins has Northwestern atop his list that includes Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois among others. Watkins is willing to play any position, according to a post today by Louie Vaccher on WildcatReport.com,, which is a good thing as he’ll likely not be playing QB for NU.  We’ll be hearing much more about 2014 targets in the coming weeks.

Hoops Offer To 6’11 Serbian

The Serbian strategy continues for Bill Carmody. Chris Emma of PurpleWildcats.com reported earlier this week that NU has offerred 2014 big man, Miroslav Jaksic, a 6-11 center from Walled Lake, Michigan.  Northwestern has long used the Serbian connections to bring in big men to Evanston, but this one will be a battle. Jaksic now has Duke and Michigan sniffing around among a list of current offers that includes NU, URI and Iowa State.

I’ll Take 10,000 Shares!

Darren Everson of the WSJ recently posted this feature on the “valuations” of BCS college football programs. It’s one of those non-sensical, water cooler conversation inducing deals, since football programs aren’t legally for sale.  Regardless, Northwestern comes in at #35 with a “valuation” of $148.8 Million, just nudging out Stanford. Texas leads the way at $761.7 Million and there are a few surprises, like Iowa, that make you dig in to the metrics of how the list was put together.

Programming Alert

PRR is working on a top 2013 storylines feature and tomorrow, yours truly is weighing in with a historical perspective of the laundry list of seemingly unbelievable bad luck and bad choices NU basketball has made over time.  Plus, we’ve got some purple mafia profile requests out and about, but be sure to tell us what other content you’re itching for this time of year. Anything to take our minds off of the depressing basketball season.

  • Geography matters

    Serbia =/= Croatia. Mirkovic and Cerina are the only Serbs to have played for Carmody, so the Serbian phenomenon is more recent. You are perhaps thinking of Croatians Vedran Vukusic, Davor Duvancic, Ivan Tolic, Nikola Baran and Ivan Peljusic.

    • cebpd

      How about we get some guys like Minnesota has, guys are gonna say, “get the F out of my paint!” not, “im going to try to make a layup on you, is that ok?”

      • wcgrad

        “We go hard in the MF’in paint”?

  • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

    Yes, but we’ve gone after other Serbs as well. I’d never make the politically lethal mistake of mixing Serbs and Croats together!

  • Mark

    Re Purple Mafia: how about grads who played and are 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. years out of school. What they’re doing and what they know about their teammates. Again, though, I’d really like to hear from the Assistant Coaches – mgoblog covers the OC and DC press conferences at length after games – it’s very interesting to hear their evaluations of the past game since they’re more involved on each side of the ball than the head coach.

    • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

      Thanks for the idea!

      • Noah Kimmel

        can we get an interview with John Shurna?

        • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

          Even better. Anyone connected with him out there?

          • NUCATS04

            How do you not know him LTP? Hell you’ve had dinner with pretty much every athlete from NU as well as babysat Brian Peter’s little stalker friend Jack.

          • wcgrad

            Maybe I’m being a little oversensitive here, but at the very least, it seems off-color to me to refer to a child dealing with a terrible illness as a “stalker”. Anyhow, the fact that you know this about LTP sounds more like a “stalker” than anything Jack has done

  • David

    I disagree with your assertion that AR is unfairly chided for being ANTI-NU or that we over compensates his criticism…
    For those of us who do not know him, we can only base our opinions on what he writes. Therefore, the chiding is completely fair. He is one of the few Medill writers who has never expressed any sort of pride in this CATS team over the past number of years. The fact that he ranked the team with the second best record in the B10, second in his power rankings doesn’t discount years of fawning coverage of Iowa and MSU…two of the dirtier programs in the B10. He may in fact root for NU…but there is no reason that any of us would know that. I think your statement would be fine if you removed the word unfairly. It is a reasonable judgement if your only frame of reference is reading his work.

    • Pete

      Adam Rittenberg is a professional journalist. His job is to report on the Big Ten without showing bias for any team despite being an NU alum. I think he does a good job of that, and doesn’t show favoratism for any team. I enjoy reading Adam’s stuff and have no issue with how he treats NU in his writings.

      • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

        I guess what Pete said was what I was getting at. AR is objective w/o bias in his writing towards each B1G school. The expectation that he should be more cheerleader-y towards his alma mater is what I meant by “unfair”.

        • David

          AR has earned the reputation that he has…there is nothing unfair about it. It is interesting that he gains plaudits for calling it as he sees it. But, if people critique his work in a less than glowing fashion…it is somehow unfair?
          Other Journalists can has school pride, but report facts objectively. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. My impression of AR based on his work is that he 1) Not a NU fan or 2) he tries so hard not to be bias…that he ends up being biased..in the other direction. The fact that this power ranking is held up as evidence to discount my and others perceptions…simply validates our perception. You are going out of your way to say look he didn’t diminish us on this one.
          He can choose to run his career as he sees fit. He came in to LTP a couple of weeks back. We are a group of NU fans. Look back at the post…there was not a single personal expression of interest, rooting or pride for NU. Many other journalist would behave differently. He also has his long standing man crush on Ferentz. This is his reputation…he has earned it. Perhaps it is the reputation he wants. In his career he has chosen to be an outsider. It is not unfair for people to state the obvious.

          • JM

            This idea you seem to have that most Medill-educated sportswriters make public pronouncements of NU pride is evidence that you are aware of an astonishingly small percentage of working Medill-educated sportswriters. For every Wilbon/Greenberg (who are more entertainers than journos at this point), there are a lot more guys like AR, Teddy Greenstein, Stew Mandel, Greg Couch, Mark Lazerus at the S-T, who need to be objective to do their jobs.

          • David

            So…your impression of Teddy is that he hides his rooting interest in NU? Teddy is a huge fan…you can tell that he lives and dies with the CATS. But when it is time to recap the game…he delivers the facts. I live in Seattle, I follow Teddy on Twitter. I do not read the Sun Times much. I don’t know Greg Couch. But I do know that if Musburger, Wilbon, Greenberg and others can show their personal interest in NU…it would be o.k. For AR as well. He simply does not have it…or he chooses not to show it.

            Also…please keep in mind that I am not intending to bash AR. He lives his life the was he feels is best for him. I simply objected to LTP’s characterization that my and others perception was unfair.

          • skepticat

            Musburger shows personal interest in NU? I think I’m one of the few that actually enjoys listening to him announce, but you’d never deduce he’s an NU fanboy by watching or listening to him.

          • David

            He did a whole deal on the BTN where he discussed his time at NU. He gushed about how special the Rose Bowl run was. I have alo heard him mention NU in broadcasts where appropriate on occasion.

          • NUMBalumDave

            skepticat, what do you enjoy about his announcing? I don’t see it. All I can ever hear when he talks is “John David Booty. John David Booty” as if he fell into a version of Being John David Booty.

          • skepticat

            “Enjoy” is maybe a strong word. But I suppose I enjoy playing the Musburger drinking game every now and then. :-)

            Which reminds me, did anyone catch when Herbstreit and Musburger (there’s a mouthful!) kept checking out the Alabama quarterback’s girlfriend? Musburger was like “All you dads in Alabama better hand your son a football and send him out to the backyard!” For a minute I thought they were gonna throw down their head sets and run out of the booth to propose to her! And then the camera cut to them, Herbstreit finally got back into some commentary, Musburger was STILL staring at one of the monitors, until Herbstreit was like, “Whaddya think, Brent?” to snap him out of it. What a couple of dogs!

          • Ron

            That was pretty funny, but now that it’s risen to the level of the NYT quoting journo professors complaining about it, I think it’s gone a little over the top. Meanwhile, the girlfriend picked well over 130,000 new Twitter followers during the course of the game!

          • skepticat

            Whoa, I had no idea it had gone that far… even LeBron James is following her on Twitter now! O_o

          • Ron
          • NUCATS04

            You’re an idiot. Musburger was not that bad. Even Katherine Webb wasn’t insulted. Couple of Dogs? Guy has a sex drive…more than I can say for you.

          • skepticat

            Wow. You pulled off a Bush-esque “stared into my soul” moment there and formed quite a strong opinion of me all from an apparent misreading of a rather silly post. Taking an early crack at those resolutions, are we? But hey, I always appreciate the constructive feedback. Keep up the strong work!

          • wcgrad

            Anyone see strange parallels with Jen Sterger? I sincerely hope that Ms. Webb’s future plays out better. It just seems weird to me, especially after the Jen Sterger situation (FSU Natl Title 1999). Maybe unseemly gushing over a young female member of the stands should be a part of the Brent Musberger drinking game?

          • NUMBalumDave

            Please. Musberger. Please. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

    • CatInTheHat

      I think Stewart Mandel is far more dismissive of the ‘Cats than AR has ever been. Have to throw my vote with those who say that Rittenberg is simply evenhanded. Mandel, on the other hand, is mortally fearful of being labeled a homer, and thus he compensates by undercovering/undervaluing NU (until, to an extent, this bowl season, when he did pick us to beat Mississippi State).

      • JM

        Stew covers college football nationally. NU has not been ranked in consecutive regular season weeks since the 1990s. He’s supposed to take ink away from Alabama and OSU to talk about us?

        • CatInTheHat

          I never said that. In the few instances when we have been nationally relevant for one reason or another, he has paid us short shrift. This is just an opinion, but your same argument can be made for Rittenberg. He has 12 schools to cover and he’s supposed to give NU special treatment? Of course not, but he also doesn’t diminish us when it is appropriate to provide coverage.

        • skepticat

          Stew basically lost me during the Wrigleyville Classic, when he outdid the hyperbole of every other sports journalist by penning an entire article calling the game the biggest-ever embarrassment in the history of college football when the decision was made to play the game in one direction. There’s favoritism, there’s professional objectivity, and then there’s going out of your way and over the top to slam your alma mater to get a couple extra mouse clicks for your column.

          • Ron

            I can’t say I disagree with calling it an enormous embarrassment. And that’s before addressing the outcome of the game.

    • CM

      The only thing I would want to add to this discussion is that the ESPN B1G bloggers get SLAMMED for almost everything they write about. On twitter and on the actual website, those guys are subjected to a lot of BS from fans/crazies on a regular basis. When they did their B1G stadium rankings and put Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium at #4 and the Big House at #6, I thought people were going to hunt down AR and BB and inflict physical pain. The comments and response gets scary. My point is simply that they get targeted a lot. AR hinting at NU ties or showing the slightest (even jokingly) NU bias would no doubt set people off. Not sure how I feel about how he has managed everything to date, but I totally understand if he is preoccupied with the concept of showing NU bias. He knows it would be VERY hot water.

  • Jimgocats93

    Re 2013 recruiting class rank
    our rank of 28th nationally must be an extraordinary improvement over past classes. Do we have a stat guy to put this rank in perspective?
    My recollection is only hearing that we were 10th, 11th, or 12th in the B1G.

    Gocatsgo!

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Minnesota1000
Purdue1000
Iowa1000
Nebraska1000
Illinois1000
Northwestern0100
Wisconsin0100

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Rutgers1000
Penn State1000
Michigan1000
Michigan State1000
Ohio State1000
Indiana1000
Maryland1000