If Nebraska is Boring, What is Northwestern Football?
Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald made minor headlines when he included in his plea for Wildcat fans to fill their home stadium an insult to the state of Nebraska and its residents. His claim was that, Nebraska was "a pretty boring state, so they're really excited to see Chicago". His statement begs the question, if the Cornhusker state is so boring and Chicago so appealing that Big Red fans will swarm like locusts for a road game, why can't he find 47,000 bodies in a metropolitan area of close to 10 million people willing to cheer for the home team?
Even if Nebraskans are drawn by the excitement of Chicago, why bother with the football game? After all, any entertainment advantage that Chicago holds over Nebraska would not be in the college football department. For example, the pretty-darn exciting Hail Mary play that beat Fitzgerald's Wildcats (great coaching on that one by the way, Pat!) happened in Lincoln along with a bunch of other outstanding and consequential victories over the years.
The shining moment for Northwestern in Evanston was probably a 54-51 game victory against #12 Michigan in 2000. Of course, that year the Wildcats went on to get smoked by a record 66-17 versus the Huskers in the Alamo Bowl. Under Fitzgerald's stellar coaching, the team has also lost their last four games on their own field.
Given the way the recent series with Nebraska has gone, the upcoming game should be the one they actually could sell a ticket to their own fans for. In fact, they've made it their homecoming game. But that won't stop a Husker invasion. Especially with Northwestern likely to be sitting with a 1-2 or 0-3 record in the Big Ten. Chances are there will be more than a few Wildcat fans with better things to do than see their team lose again.