Purple Mafia Predictions

Amazingly, we still have about 10 tickets left to the LTP NU CFB 2013 Kickoff party MONDAY night at Howells & Hood at 435 N. Michigan Ave in Chicago. It’s in the Trib building, home to WGN and our man Dave Eanet. We’ve got Dan Persa, Zak Kustok and Steve Schnur on tap to answer some questions and about 150 fellow ‘Cat diehards ready to embibe and celebrate an open bar with good eats all for $25 per head. Simply click here and purchase your tickets. If there are any left on Monday, they’ll be $35 at the door.  If you have any issues, email us at laketheposts@gmail.com and we’ll take care of you.

Several of the Wildcat luminaries below will be joining us for the festivities on Monday. I reached out to ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg, Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein, WGN’s Dave Eanet, Chicago Sun Times’ Seth Gruen, Wildcat Report’s Louie Vaccher, PurpleWildcats.com’s Nick Medline, SippinOnPurple’s Rodger Sherman,  InsideNU’s Kevin Trahan and of course Phillip Rossman-Reich to get their fearless predictions to six simple questions:

  1. What would you vote NU in the national preseason poll if you could?
  2. What will be their overall record and conference record?
  3. What place will they finish in the Legends Division?
  4. Who will they lose to?
  5. Who is your pick for surprise player of the year?
  6. What bowl will the ‘Cats land in?

Here is what our fearless forecasters said…

Here's to Seth Gruen being right..perhaps two CA visits in one season?
Here’s to Seth Gruen being right..perhaps two CA visits in one season?

Now, let’s give out some props, context and commentary. In no particular order

  • Teddy Greenstein and Louie Vaccher were the only two to call an upset of Ohio State
  • Seth Gruen was bold enough to have NU win the Legends tiebreaker and then get to the Rose Bowl (with OSU beating us in the B1G title game).  I really hadn’t even yet considered the implications of playing Ohio State twice in the same year.
  • Dave Eanet gets props for “11 wins” as everyone else gave the record through the regular season.
  • Louie Vaccher claimed that even though we’ll tie for first and win the tiebreaker, we’ll get leapfrogged by a bigger name program for the Capital One bowl.
  • Kevin Trahan couldn’t pick a 3rd loss, but believes we’ll have one.
  • PRR and I ranked NU the highest – at 16 – right where we left off in the Coaches Poll last year.
  • Sippin’s Rodger Sherman picked #22 simply because he’s infatuated with Taylor Swift.
  • Louie Vaccher on his Deonte Gibson (my pick too) pick – “I’m not sure if he qualifies as a surprise or not, but he is primed for a monster season.”
  • Rodger had the same sentiment, questioning what a “surprise” pick really is and explained it as only he can:

It’s really tough to find a “surprise” because everybody comes back, yanno? Does Dan Vitale count? Dude had 28 catches last year, but I really see him being quite Dunsmore-y with all his versatility to either split downfield or wreak havoc on a shovel play. Slightly more tackle-able, although he was just a freshman and Drake Dunsmore was an unstoppable force of nature.

On defense, I think Traveon Henry is going to step up nicely in the secondary and make that a unit that’s three-fourths competent, which is pretty good, so far as Northwestern’s history in the department goes.  – Rodger Sherman’s explanation for his “surprise pick”

  • Teddy Greenstein gets the wisecrack award for picking NU #22 in the preseason poll.
  • Gruen, Eanet and Vaccher had the ‘Cats getting to Indy.  When you consider that, the math doesn’t work out, b/c there should be a 14-game total for those entrants, but you get the point. All of us, except for Dave Eanet picked the total regular season record.
  • Everyone who picked the ‘Cats as the Legends Division winner had NU tied for that mark. No one had them as an outright winner.

OK, the NU pundits are one thing. You expect high expectations. But, check out what was gracing the front page of Yahoo! (not just Yahoo! Sports) today – Northwestern as the super sleeper team to win the BCS.

Meet The Team Night – TONIGHT!

Ryan Field should be buzzing tonight as Northwestern Football hosts the annual Meet the Team Night (6pm ct, Randy Walker Terrace at Ryan Field).   It’s always a family friendly way to get fired up for the season. Fitz will speak and the 2013 captains will be announced.  You can grab some eats and let the kiddies run loose for a bit. I won’t be attending this year, but in the past my family has “shopped” around for ONE player to meet an have a longer conversation with and we adopt said player as “our” player for the season. Guys like Bryce McNaul and Brian Peters have been the lucky winners in past seasons.  It makes it pretty fun during the season.

  • Where’sEmma?


  • Jim


    • cece


      • LTP

        One more week. Patience. Let’s enjoy the ride

  • Mark

    Great stuff!! Go Cats! I’m glad so many of you picked different players who you think are going to be new playmakers. Adding these to the current playmakers – Scott, Proby, Ariguzo, Vanhoose, Campbell, Vitabile, Colter, Mark, Lawrence, C. Jones, Siemian, etc. – will really help. (Hope I didn’t leave anyone out, oh yeah Budzien!)

    I don’t like calling the defensive backfield 3/4 competent. I think the maturation of those guys will make it a top notch backfield. Having someone who can control or almost control one side of the field will make everyone better. (Hint: the Michigan game is over. It’s a new season. Imagine you’re out on that island defending those receivers. Fitz says D line is toughest job in football but you can make a good or great argument that playing CB is at least as difficult.)

    • gocatsgo2003

      Plus, like, Jones was a pretty decent corner last year whose performance is largely jaded by that flukey tip on a hustle play. If he had simply allowed that ball to sail over his head to finish the Michigan game, we would likely view his 2012 season in a very different light — he has to get more physical in run support, but he improved tremendously in pass coverage as the year progressed.

      • LTP

        Medline has been oohing and ahhing over Daniel Jones all camp. If he steps up, we’ll be in stellar shape.

        • gocatsgo2003

          Plus we don’t really need “ohhs and ahhs,” we just need a corner who doesn’t give up a pass interference call on every downfield pass (as seemed to be the case at points last year).

        • charlie watts

          And don’t forget CJ Bryant. The kid is always on the spot.

  • Henry in Ct

    If a season was ever on the coaches it’s this one. The potential is there to get to the Rose Bowl even though we may have less talent than as many as five other B1G teams. It’s all in how it is used. We actually live in Pasadena (we moved from CT) very close to the Rose Bowl and we will throw a hell of a party for everyone here who comes to the Rose Bowl if we make it. Go Cats!!!

    • LTP

      How bout name change on your handle to Henry In Rose Bowl country. Would love to take you up on your offer.

      • Dan

        Don’t worry, the NU Club of LA has several “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” party plans if the Cats come this way.

      • Henry in Rose Bowl Country

        OK, Henry in Rose Bowl Country it is. The offer stands and BTW I think the national championship game is also at the Rose Bowl this year. If we run the table which probably means beating OSU twice then the party will be for the NC game.

    • David

      Pasadena is a great city. I lived in or around Pasadena for 12 years after college. I was able to take in a few Rose Bowls including NU v USC. The three moments I remember most vividly are looking around and seeing 60-65k NU fans. That was essentially a home game for USC but the stadium was purple. With the 1,800 student class sizes at NU…if we assume people live 50 years after graduation… That is 100,000 living Alumni. I often wonder what% of living alumni were in that stadium.
      Second, I recall the devastation resulting from the Musso non-fumble..fumble and subsequent TD return.
      Then when made it all the way back and took the lead…I thought we had it…but Keyshawn Johnson was too much.
      What a great memory…here is to a Rose Bowl win this year.

  • Sasser

    Also a notable stat, LTP… No one picked a loss during the non-conference slate.

    • LTP

      Great point. No reference to Army, Duke, Wake Forest and the others that have biased our non-conference fears.

    • Michael Sires

      and more of them picked us to beat OSU (2) than UNL (1)

    • NUinVa

      Well, Dave Eanet could have I guess.

  • CatInTheHat

    Anyone see this gem?


    I’d say it’s bordering on the “absurd” category, but still, when in recent memory was a piece like this even remotely in our universe? Frankly, it makes me a little uneasy.

    • LTP

      Added it partway through the day when someone emailed me the link.

  • Re: Northwestern as “Darkest Horse to win BCS”:

    For years I’ve brought in treats for my office(s) after each Wildcat win, with “incentive treats” for milestones (e.g. bowl eligible, etc.). (I still have a picture of the “Big Ten Champs/Rose Bowl Bound” cake from 1995.) Also for years I’ve told people that I would spring for lunch if NU won a bowl game. Last year, I finally got to pay off on that. I was *really* happy to feed a bunch of people pizza, salad, chips, multiple homemade cakes, drinks, etc.

    At the bowl victory luncheon I was asked what I would feed people if Northwestern won the BCS. I immediately said “Ruth’s Chris”.

    If NU is undefeated when I head out to Las Vegas in mid-September, I’ll be betting a few bucks on the Wildcats to win the BCS. It’s insurance… :-)

    Go Cats!

    PS: I’d happily pay every dime of an office luncheon/dinner at RC or wherever if the Wildcats pull off the unexpected and win everything.

  • timc

    Perfect evening last night for Meet the Team Night. This event is getting bigger by the year. What really shows is what classy and genuinely nice guys populate this team every season. It’s remarkable. They clearly enjoy the time with the kids, staying with them well into the twilight. Only criticism is the separation of the “elite” players at the autograph table up on Walker terrace from the rest of the team having fun and true interaction with the kids down on the field. Unless you wait in this long line there is no interaction with the likes of Coulter, Mark, Scott, Lawrence, Seimien, etc. Just let them all go down to the field and mix naturally without the table barrier. It’s more fun for all INCLUDING the players.

  • MossReport

    This yahoo sports guy is a bit of a moron. Can we even play Michigan at night since the game is in November? I like his thought but I have not seen anyone say they like how our schedule sets up.

  • NUinVa

    No Jack Marshall?!

    Also, Dave Eanet said 11-3 with two regular season B1G losses. We can’t play UNL in the B1G championship. So he’s predicting we beat OSU or Wisky in the regular season and lose to the same team in the championship game. He

    • Lake The Posts

      He’ll be back this week!