Winter Break football alternatives for Northwestern fans

Preston R. Michelson, Reporter

For those who follow sports, Winter Break means college football bowl games — tons of them. It ramps up with events like the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which is decidedly not famous. Any football game scheduled before the new year is traditionally considered to be a warm-up for the real slate.

Whether or not it needs to be said, Northwestern will not be in a bowl game this year. NU narrowly missed bids to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and The Heart of Dallas Bowl, so the Wildcat faithful will be left without hometown pigskin over the break.

Whether that’s a respite or a shame is up for debate. What’s certain is that with no heartbreaking defeats to rely on, fans are at a loss. So what now? Luckily, there are a few options for replacing NU football over the break:

Watch Northwestern basketball: The Cats play five games during Winter Break, including two Big Ten match-ups with Wisconsin and Michigan on Jan. 2 and Jan. 5, respectively. NU also has some nonconference duels like Brown and Mississippi Valley State that could bode well. Go ahead and start planning for March — because this is going to be the year.

Play football with the family: OK, I’m from Miami (Florida, not Ohio), so I picture this on the beach. But I bet it’s just as compelling to play on a snow-covered backyard. You should probably play two-hand touch — you don’t want Grandpa getting hurt.

Learn about the other football: Yes, there is another football. It is played in the States, but I’m told the best action is in Europe. So read up, figure out what offside is and wake up ridiculously early on weekends to tune in.

Dust off your old gaming system and play Tecmo Bowl: If you are a total ’90s kid, you’ll remember cranking up the NES, blowing on the cartridge and watching the pixelated theatrics of Bo Jackson. To recover from the pain that is this football season, it would be cathartic to trounce on some unwitting opponents. If you no longer own an NES (how dare you!), don’t fret — you can play it online.

Start a Wildcats-in-the-Pros fantasy league: Quick! Grab Jeremy Ebert before he gets placed on the practice squad again! Mike Kafka is a free agent? Doesn’t matter, get him! He might get signed! Corey Wootton is playing for the Bears? And he’s starting and playing well? Well, that goes against this gag. Grab him too, I guess.

Of course, you could always watch some other bowl games. Some of them are shaping up to be pretty riveting, but don’t go out of your way to watch any pre-New Year’s Day. You’ll be left sore and disappointed. Even more than after the Ohio State game. Or the Wisconsin game. Or Minnesota. Or Iowa. Or Nebraska. Or Michigan. Or Michigan State. But I digress.

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