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Getting To Know Northwestern Wildcats Football

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty pumped for Boston College football's season opener against the Northwestern Wildcats. I suppose holding degrees from both BC and Northwestern and spending five of the last 11 years of my life living in Chestnut Hill and Evanston has something to do with that.

So too, is Northwestern blogger Lake The Posts, who grew up in Rhode Island and adopted the Fighting Fluties as his college football team before attending Northwestern. It just so happens to be BC Week over at LTP, and Lake The Posts wants you to know that BC and Northwestern are kindred spirits when it comes to college football:

"Both schools are in sophisticated near suburbs of a major metropolis. Both football programs are always trying to scream for market share as they respectively fall somewhere around sixth in their respective markets behind iconic pro teams. Both are proud, private academic-minded schools with smaller than bigtime football stadiums and despite continual program arrow upward trends, both struggle mightily to put butts in seats. BC and NU were 65th and 68th respectively in 2010 football attendance with the Eagles (38,369) besting NU by less than 2,000 fans per game (36,449) (for what its worth, Stanford, who went to the Orange Bowl, was 62nd with 40,042 in 2010. Heck ,we even both have an ignominious gambling scandal to our respective athletic programs' name both in the mid 1990s. But let's not go there."

I tend to agree. Indeed, both programs struggle in terms of respect and recognition, both in the cities in which they play and the ACC / Big Ten. And if BC's ACC opponents were located a little closer to Boston, I'm sure Alumni Stadium would be half-filled with fans clad in the opposing team's colors as Ryan Field is when Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State and Ohio State come to Evanston. As LTP points out, both our coaches even have pithy, four-letter nicknames that end in the letter z.

And if you are feeling down in the dumps about the future of BC football, let 'Cats fans comfort you. Northwestern hasn't won a bowl game since the program's 1949 Rose Bowl win over Cal. NU is 0-8 in bowls since, including two heartbreaking overtime losses to Missouri (2008 Alamo Bowl) and Auburn (2009 Outback Bowl). If that wasn't enough heartbreak for 'Cats fans, NU also boasts the only major conference program to never make the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, while Donahue nearly got BC to the Dance in his first season on the Heights. 

LTP writes a pretty fair and balanced assessment of the Eagles in his opening BC Week post, and also gave me the opportunity to answer some questions about 2011 Eagles football. Be sure to head on over to LTP to learn more about BC's season-opening opponent (and to keep me honest on my responses about BC).