Tag:Northwestern
Posted on: November 16, 2010 11:10 am
Edited on: November 16, 2010 11:11 am
 

We have answers about Wrigley Field

Posted by Tom Fornelli



I posted that photo yesterday with some doubts in my head about its authenticity.  I had plenty of questions about whether or not those uprights were actually attached to the brick wall, and about how the ivy could look so green in mid-November and have Allstate logos so nicely placed on it.

Well, thanks to the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, I now have the answers.   Turns out everything in that photo is real, except for the ivy itself.  You see, the uprights are attached to the brick wall, but that green ivy isn't actually ivy.  It's padding to look like ivy.

Why do they need the padding on the wall?  Well, look at this photo from Greenstein and do the math.



That's a tight fit.  Now, while it's nice, and the smart thing to do to put up the padding, I don't see how much it's going to help.  Go running into that end zone at full speed and see if the padding absorbs the blow of running head on into a brick wall.

Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:27 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 1:34 pm
 

Goalposts grow from ivy

Posted by Tom Fornelli



That's a rather odd photo of one of the end zones at Wrigley Field for this weekend's game between Northwestern and Illinois.  It seems that the football field is a tight fit in the old baseball stadium, and there wasn't enough room for the goalposts, so they had to be attached to the brick wall.  Though, to be honest, I'm not entirely convinced that this photo is real.  There's a few reasons for this.

First of all, I don't know how the ivy on the walls at Wrigley is still green this late into November.  I live in Chicago, and if that ivy is still actually green, it's just about the only plant in this city that is.  It usually starts dying in September, just like the team who usually calls Wrigley home.

There's also this Wrigley Field seating chart of the field from Lake the Posts that shows there should be more room behind the end zone than there currently is.



Though it's possible that the seating chart could be wrong.  After all, this other photo from Lake the Posts that shows the field from atop the right field bleachers does indicate that there isn't much room between the back of the end zone and the brick walls surrounding the field.



All I know is that if that photo is real, and there really is only that much space between the field and the wall, I wouldn't go running into the end zone all that hard on Saturday.  I mean, I can run through a brick wall, sure, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.


Posted on: November 14, 2010 2:32 am
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. The Iowa defense is the biggest fraud in the Big Ten. Credit must go to Dan Persa and Northwestern for their gutsy fourth-quarter comeback against the Iowa Hawkeyes, but it's time to stop lauding the Iowa defense as one of the nation's best, because it isn't -- not when the game is on the line. Iowa has given up game-winning drives -- and long, sustained ones, at that -- to three different opponents this season, and if it hadn't been for an unconscionable end zone drop by Indiana wideout Damario Belcher on 4th down last week, that total would be four, in just 10 games. It's one thing to hold lightweights like Iowa State and Eastern Illinois to just one score. It's another to get a stop when the team needs one the most, and Iowa's defense just doesn't seem capable of doing that.

2. Bret Bielema's empathy generator is broken. Quick, name the one Big Ten coach who would run up 83 points on a conference opponent. It's probably the same one that goes for two while up by 25 with under seven minutes to play, isn't it? Why yes it is. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema continued his quest to get every mediocre coach in the Big Ten fired with an 83-20 firebombing of Indiana in Madison. And though Bielema will again claim not to be running up the score, it's worth pointing out that Scott Tolzien was throwing passes to fellow starters Lance Kendricks and David Gilreath with a 39-point lead and under five minutes left in the third quarter. Yes, it's up to Indiana to make the stop, and Indiana never did, but in a 63-point win, it's never good to see the winning team converting a 76-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter -- regardless of whether a backup threw it. Wisconsin, we're looking at you here.

3. There's plenty of Hawkeye fans in East Lansing. The Big Ten title race is down to three one-loss teams, and as of right now, Wisconsin owns the tiebreaker for the trip to Pasadena (or if all hell really breaks loose, Glendale, but let's assume Pasadena). Of the three teams, only one -- Ohio State -- faces a ranked team down the stretch, and that's OSU's trip to Iowa next weekend. If Iowa wins, all of a sudden, Michigan State has the upper hand for the league title. Ohio State wins, and we're back to the three-team non-round-robin tiebreaker, which is BCS standing. MSU is not such a big fan of that idea: the Spartans are firmly mired at third among Big Ten teams in that department. So yes, there's still plenty of endgame drama left in the Big Ten, even if it involves two teams that are at best longshots for the title.

4. Matt McGloin has "moxie," but Ohio State has a secondary. Advantage, OSU. It's hard to believe, looking at the 38-14 final score from Columbus, but Penn State actually led the Buckeyes 14-3 at the break, and it could have been worse. PSU QB Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes in the first half, and unlike the two he threw in the second half, the first half scores were to his own team. Yes, things sort of fell off a cliff for Penn State, and the turning point was likely late in the first half, when Joe Paterno got greedy on 4th and 1 at the OSU 20 and went for it. The Evan Royster rush failed, the Buckeye defense's heart grew three sizes, and PSU never even threatened to score for the rest of the game.

It was a sobering return to reality for Penn State fans who witnessed McGloin's dissection of the Northwestern defense last week and were entertaining dreams of McGloin as a wildly successful three (or two-and-a-half, anyway) -year starter over true freshman Rob Bolden, Joe Paterno's choice at the beginning of the season. The fact of the matter is, there's usually plenty more to turning a struggling offense around than just making a switch at quarterback, and when Bolden's got a full year of film study and practice under his belt, he's probably going to be a better quarterback than McGloin. That fact doesn't have much relevance today, which is why McGloin started at Columbus and probably will next week, but it would be extremely presumptive to look at McGloin's first two quarters at OSU and attach a tag like "the future" to him -- unless the words "clipboard holder for Rob Bolden" immediately follow.

Posted on: November 13, 2010 4:08 pm
 

Dan Persa suffers ruptured Achilles tendon

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On first and goal from the Iowa 6-yard line, Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa took the snap, scrambled, and leapt to throw a pass. That pass found Jeremy Ebert for what would be the game-winning touchdown. And as if the pass weren't consequential enough, when Persa came down, he appeared to injure his ankle, and was helped off the field.

According to head coach Pat Fitzgerald , the worst-case scenario for that leg injury has come true: Dan Persa has a ruptured Achilles tendon. The injury will cost Persa the rest of his season, of course, and it's not even certain that Persa will be healthy for the start of next season.

Obviously, this is a tough blow for Northwestern, even as the Wildcats celebrate their fifth victory over Iowa in their last six meetings. Persa was the 10th-ranked quarterback in the nation in passing efficiency, and he was also the Wildcats' leading rusher on the season (he still may end up being the team leader even after missing the last three games). He single-handedly tired out the Iowa defense on Northwestern's two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. Dan Persa basically is the Northwestern offense. How the 'Cats will respond to this devastating news against Illinois next week will be something worth watching.

Posted on: November 13, 2010 3:37 pm
 

Zook still Zook, loses to Gophers at home

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When the season started, the hot seat discussion in the Big Ten centered on their either-or question of who'd get the ax first? The so-fired-already Tim Brewster at Minnesota , or the equally-fired Ron Zook at Illinois .

It turned out that the correct answer was Brewster, as the head Gopher couldn't even make it past midseason and Zook's inspired-looking new hires at both coordinators' positions got the Illini out to a surprising 5-3 start. But if you can take the Zook out of the hot seat, however, temporarily, you really can't take the hot seat out of the Zook; his Illini handed the coach-less, hapless Gophers their first Big Ten win of the season today, falling 38-34 at home.

Making the loss even more brutal was how close the Illini came to another comfortable victory, going up 34-24 with 8:14 to play in the fourth quarter on a 55-yard Mikel LeShoure touchdown run. But the Gophers answered back with a 90-yard kickoff return for a DeLeon Eskridge touchdown run just 19 seconds later, and an expertly-executed Gopher two-minute drill resulted in a second Eskridge score with just 16 seconds to play.

Let's be clear about this: Zook is probably still safe at Illinois. There won't be a long list of better candidates available for the Illini, and even after today, 2010 has still been a dramatic improvement on the program's crushingly disappointing 2009.

But Illinois has now whiffed twice on the sixth win necessary for a bowl invite, and in two eminently winnable games. Now they'll need a big road win at either Northwestern or Fresno State , or the Illini will stay home for the third straight season. Improvement on 2009 or not, weak pool of candidates or not, there's a breaking point even at Illinois, and more than ever it seems like Zook's tenure is simply determined to find out where that is.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 12:22 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 11

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's definitely fall these days, and the wind will be whipping across the heartland. All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

No. 13 Iowa at Northwestern , 12:00, Evanston, IL: Mid 50s, scattered showers

Indiana at No. 6 Wisconsin , 12:00, Madison, WI: Low 50s, scattered showers

Kansas State at No. 20 Missouri , 12:30, Columbia, MO: Mid 40s, cloudy, windy

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 15 Utah at Notre Dame, 2:30 , South Bend, IN: Low 60s, scattered thunderstorms

No. 16 Virginia Tech at North Carolina , 3:30, Chapel Hill, NC: Mid 60s, clear

Penn State at No. 8 Ohio State , 3:30, Columbus, OH: Upper 60s, partly cloudy

Georgia at No. 2 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear

Texas Tech at No. 19 Oklahoma , 3:30, Norman, OK: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy

San Diego State at No. 3 TCU , 4:00, Ft. Worth, TX: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy

Evening kickoffs

No. 23 Texas A&M at Baylor , 7:00, Waco, TX: Upper 40s, clear, breezy

No. 22 South Carolina at No. 24 Florida , 7:15, Gainesville, FL: Upper 50s, clear

No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Alabama , 7:15, Tuscaloosa, AL: Upper 50s, scattered showers

USC at No. 18 Arizona , 8:00, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, clear

Late night kickoffs

No. 21 Nevada at Fresno State , 10:15, Fresno, CA: Mid 50s, clear, breezy

Posted on: November 12, 2010 4:47 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 11

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

I know you couldn't tell if you have been following the news in college football this week, but there are actually games to be played on Saturday.  I know, I didn't believe it either, but it's true.  There's more to college football than just off the field issues concerning agents, players asking for money, and the NCAA possibly punishing those players because the only people allowed to make money from this sport are the NCAA, not those punk kids who make it for them.

But I promise you, there are games ON the field as well.  Here are some of the best ones for you to watch on Saturday in between updates on what Cam Newton may or may not have done.

Breakfast

Main Course - Northwestern vs. #13 Iowa - Noon - ESPN

Looking at this game on the surface, it doesn't seem all the impressive.  Northwestern is currently in eighth place in the Big Ten, and has lost three of its last four games.  What's the big deal?

Well, Iowa isn't out of the Big Ten title hunt.  This game means a lot to the Hawkeyes for both their BCS aspirations and it provides therapeutic value.  You see, Northwestern has been a thorn in Iowa's side for years now, as Northwestern has won four of the last five meetings.  That includes last season when the Wildcats knocked Ricky Stanzi out for the last three games of the regular season, and handed Iowa its first loss.  Which eventually led to Stanzi missing the Ohio State game and a chance to win the Big Ten.

Side Orders: Not a lot of great choices this morning, but not as terrible as it has been in recent weeks.  There's Missouri and Kansas State who both have a remote chance to win the Big 12 North, but a loss in this game would kill either's chance.  There's also Miami taking on Georgia Tech, and the 'Canes can't afford to lose if they want a chance to play for the ACC title.  If those don't do it for you, I guess you could watch West Virginia and Cincinnati in the latest installment of "The Big East Presents: Something That Is Supposed to Resemble Football."

Lunch

Main Course - #2 Auburn vs. Georgia - 3:30pm - CBS

Listen, you've spent all week hearing about Cam Newton anyway, so why wouldn't you want to actually watch him play this week against Georgia?  I mean, when you think about it, you can't really be sure how many more chances you'll get to see Newton play at Auburn, so you should probably take advantage while you still can.

Oh, and there's also the fact that Auburn is still alive for a national championship, and with a win against Georgia, the Tigers would wrap up the SEC West and a trip to Atlanta.

As for Georgia, hard as it is to believe given the way it started the season, is only one win shy of being bowl eligible.  What a better way to do it than by knocking off the top team in the conference and destroying any chance they have to play for a national title?

Side Orders: There are some other quality non-Cam Newton related games going on during the afternoon as well.  Ohio State hosts Penn State, looking to keep hopes alive for a Big Ten title and trip to the Rose Bowl.  Oklahoma looks to right the ship at home against Texas Tech, and Virginia Tech can just about wrap up the ACC Coastal with a win at North Carolina.

Dinner

Main Course - #24 Florida vs. #22 South Carolina - 7:15pm - ESPN

The SEC East has been wide open all season long, but finally, it all comes down to one game on Saturday night in Gainesville. 

Even though it's been a down season for Florida compared to recent standards, the Gators still have a chance to get to Atlanta and win another SEC title should they get past the Gamecocks. On the flip side, Steve Spurrier still has a chance to win the SEC East and the SEC for the first time as head coach at South Carolina.

South Carolina hasn't played well since knocking off Alabama last month, but it still has a chance to salvage the season if it can knock off the Gators.

Side Orders: Plenty of other good games going on Saturday night if you prefer to look elsewhere.  Alabama can shake off the disappointment of last week's loss against LSU by knocking Mississippi State down a peg, and speaking of disappointment, Texas can boost its morale with a win over Oklahoma State as well.  There's also Oregon looking to stay undefeated at Cal, Arizona hosting USC and Stanford rolling in to Arizona State in the Pac-10.

Late Night Snack

Listen, I've developed a slight infatuation with Colin Kaepernick this season.  It's just every time I see him running down the field I can't help but think of an ostrich, and this amuses me to no end.  Why?  I don't know, it just does.  Tune in to see Kaepernick and Nevada take on Fresno State on Saturday night and find out if you see it too.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:34 am
 

Photos: Take me out to the (college foot)ballgame

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This being Veteran's Day, it's worth noting that one of the highlights of this year's service academy football schedules is the Nov. 20 meeting between Army and Notre Dame in New York, the first-ever college football game at the new Yankee Stadium. With the game now just nine days away, it was time this week to give the stadium its gridiron makeover, and we'd say the new look looks mighty fine on it :


For video of the process that produced the above, click here . As fascinating as the venue promises to be, however, it won't even be the only traditional baseball stadium hosting college football that day. Also playing that day are Northwestern and Illinois , and they'll be meeting at Wirgley Field. How does Wrigley look like with its football lines in place? Like so :


Neither game promises to match up ranked teams or have much bearing on any conference or BCS races. But with settings this unique, we'll be tuning in all the same.
 
 
 
 
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