Northwestern brings excitement to bowl games like Pitbull brings non-alcoholic parties to highway overpasses (via drpeppervideos)
Yesterday, Graham shared why Wisconsin-Oregon is the B1G's biggest bowl game this year.
I'm a Northwestern fan. Look at Ryan Field. I could care less about "biggest." All I care about? Entertainment. Sexiness (hey, we are the university that introduced the f*#$saw into the vernacular). And having a real good time.
And no B1G team...hell, no FBS team period....has played in as many exciting/sexy/real good time bowl games as Northwestern has recently. Heavy underdogs in each of the past 3 bowl games they've played, Northwestern has covered the spread each time. Two OT games (2008 Alamo Bowl vs. Mizzou, 2010 Outback Bowl vs. Auburn), an 7-point loss in an offensive shootout (2011 TicketCity Bowl), hell, even the 2005 Sun Bowl (a 50-38 loss to UCLA) featured not one, but TWO on-side kicks returned for touchdowns. (Yes, you read that right).
Don't believe me? Watch the insane highlights of the 2008 Alamo Bowl here....and the even crazier 2010 Outback Bowl highlights here. (Yes, that is Drake Dunsmore in the latter clip, proving once and for all that one man cannot tackle Drake Dunsmore....and yes, that clip leaves out the painful "Fastball" failed fake FG attempt. Just don't wanna see it again)
If that doesn't have you convinced, below the jump are 5 reasons (not including the chance to end Northwestern's 63 year-long bowl winless streak) the Northwestern-Texas A&M matchup in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Saturday, December 31, 2011, at 11 am CT on ESPN and ESPN3) will be the B1G's most exciting game of this bowl season:
1. Passes. Passes. Passes all-day long. If you watched any Northwestern games this season, you realize that they are, shall we say... challenged on defense. And that was before they lost DT Niko Mafuli, and CB Jordan Mabin (arguably their best defensive player -- all those TD passes on the NU secondary were AWAY from Mabin) to injury for the bowl game. So Texas A&M's 18th ranked passing attack led by Ryan Tannehill (3415 yards passing, 28 TDs) should have plenty of opportunities to throw against the Wildcats. (Although, having seen what the Big 12 calls "defense" in the Alamo Bowl this year, I'm not so sure A&M's passing numbers are a bit inflated from throwing against porous secondaries).
Oh, and Northwestern has a guy named Dan Persa, who can kind of throw the ball around in case you didn't notice....in fact:
Dan Persa currently sits at 73 percent. Which means, if Dan Persa throws 19 passes in this bowl game (he needs to throw 19 passes to qualify for the record), he obliterates the NCAA record for career completion percentage. Seriously, he could throw 19 passes straight into the ground/stands a la Joe Bauserman, and he'd set an NCAA career record that might not be broken for quite some time.
In case you missed it, Persa had a phenomenal season this year: in conference games only, Persa was first in total passing yards (1791 yards), completions (168), and completion percentage (73.7); second in passing efficiency (154.1, behind Russell Wilson's absurd 179.2) and total offense (232.8 ypg, behind Denard's 255.4); and 3rd in passing TDs (13, tied with Vandenberg behind Wilson with 17 and Cousins with 16).
This will also be the goodbye for record-breaking (at least Northwestern record breaking) Jeremy Ebert and Drake Dunsmore....man will I miss those guys.
3. A No-Risk Chance to Own the SEC. Yes, I realize Texas A&M is technically in the Big 12. But they start SEC play next year, so, frankly, this game counts towards asserting B1G dominance over our oversigning brethren south of the Mason-Dixon line. Win this one, and we're 1-0 before the three big showdowns on January 1.
And here's the beautiful thing -- there's no way we as B1G fans can lose! If Northwestern falters...well, Texas A&M is a Big 12 team. If Northwestern wins, the SEC went down!
Don't think that logic works? Watch for similar tortured rationale from the mouth-breathers in regards to the Capital One Bowl. If South Carolina wins, it means the B1G can't keep up with ESSS EEEEE SEEEE speed. If Nebraska wins? They're not a real B1G team -- they were just imported because the B1G couldn't compete against the SEC without them.
4. Neither Team Will Be Out of This Game. Ever. Northwestern was 6-6, and so was Texas A&M. But neither team was "terrible"....in fact, they both seemed to lose in painfully similar manners -- by losing second half leads.
Northwestern had a 2nd half lead or tie in 4 of their 6 losses. And Texas A&M blew 2nd half leads in 5 out of 6 losses this year.
In other words....stay tuned to this game in the 2nd half, regardless of the score. Also -- Northwestern's penchant for trick plays (see both the Alamo and Outback Bowl games) means it may get weird.....often.
5. It's 11 am CT on New Years Eve....you need to be drinking and watching football. Northwestern football has driven many a man to drinking.....throw in the fact that it's New Years Eve, it's early, it's Saturday, and frankly the question becomes -- why AREN'T you watching this game?