Nadkarni: Highly let down yet still in love
October 12, 2011
I have always been a cynical guy. Maybe it's because my favorite NFL team is the Miami Dolphins, who find new, creative ways to lose every year. It could also be because I never enjoyed the pleasure of female accompaniment until the pathetic age of 18. Either way, my outlook on life has always been a little skewed toward the negative. In the case of the Wildcats, I had hope that this team could catapult itself to new heights. But through the first five weeks of the season, I've lost all faith, and I find myself already forgetting about the 2011 season.
Northwestern upset a ranked Iowa squad two times in the past five years, and this weekend, the Cats are looking for another victory against Coach Fitz's least favorite team. If NU wins, Coach Fitz will once again be the toast of the town, and everyone will rush to congratulate the Cats on winning a difficult road matchup, but when will we realize this season was a failure the moment the clock struck 0:00 against Michigan?
There are no more excuses for NU to be a middling team in the Big Ten. The Cats have All-Big Ten talent on both sides of the ball. From defensive end Vince Browne, to tackle Al Netter, to safety Brian Peters, to star quarterback Dan Persa, NU is as loaded as it has ever been. In addition to the talent, the Cats have experience, with all the aforementioned players entering their senior year. This should have been the year NU challenged for a Big Ten title. With Michigan adjusting to a brand-new head coach, Nebraska just entering the Big Ten and Penn State bringing very little offense to the table, the newly formed Legends Division was up for grabs.
Instead, the Cats have already dropped their first two conference games, and they would need to go undefeated against the likes of Nebraska, Michigan State and Iowa to have a chance at the conference championship game. Fans are quickly losing faith in this team to win any game, let alone go on a long winning streak that could get us to 8-4 or 9-3. It may sound harsh to say this season is over after five games, but NU's season now matters less than the points on "Whose Line is it Anyway?"
What does this team consider success? A win in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (granted, I love me some Little Caesars pizza. That mustachioed man can spin some dough)? A bowl win alone should no longer spell success for the Cats. NU made bowls in the last three years, and winning any one of those three would not have made any of those seasons that much greater. It's time we look to Coach Fitz to set goals that are within our grasp, and our team needs to believe that we can make it to the conference championship game.
I truly love Coach Fitz. When he walked up to the student section last weekend and started handing out pizzas, I knew that I was in love and could spend the rest of my life with this man. However, Pat Fitzgerald failed to deliver what the students really wanted, and that's an opportunity to play in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game.
Sports writer Rohan Nadkarni is a Medill freshman.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org