Merry Christmas, From Your Friends at Northwestern!

All-American Jeff Budzien and Northwestern send their regards. - Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

It was a lean year at Ryan Field, but we've got a few blessings to count and a whole lot to look forward to.

We hope this finds you well! Looking up from the bottom of the Legends Division, we can see that you all look healthy (well, besides you, Michigan), happy (are you though, Nebraska), and ready to ring in 2014 with a bowl game! Just to give you a little update on your friends from Chicago's Big Ten Team:

You may have heard of our All-American kicker, Jeff Budzien? While he was jobbed out of yet another Groza Award, Buddy Z made us all proud, and we're sad to see him go.

And how about DE Tyler Scott? Second-team all-B1G DL, and a high-motor guy who anchored a defense that held its own for most of the season. Special mentions to Ibraheim Campbell and Brandon Vitabile, both of whom garnered Honorable Mention status from both the coaches and the media.

We're sad to lose Kain Colter, who leaves us for bigger and better things. The stress of senior year got to his body, but we know this won't be the last you all hear from him.

Say a prayer for Venric Mark, if you're into that sort of thing. Poor guy needs to get well soon, though he's never down in spirits. Hopefully you'll all be able to celebrate his talents with us next year!

Same goes from Trevor Siemian. He was a bit of a lost soul this year, but you know college kids as they try to figure out where life is taking them :) We're sure he'll be good as new when Cal rolls into town next August.

Don't worry, though, we kept our Hat. You hear that, Illinois? OUR HAT.

Oh, and the places we traveled: all the way to California this year! While our guests proved less than hospitable at times, we found our trip to be rewarding. We had some guests, too! While they were less than reciprocal in returning our hospitality by picking a Wildcats win, they still seemed to enjoy their stay.

With the trip to California and the big new addition we're putting onto the house this year, we just couldn't make ends meet to get us somewhere warm for the holidays. No matter, though, as we expect to be back to our busy-on-January-1 ways next year. We figured 3 out of the last 4 years had gotten a little selfish of us, and our friends to the west decided to deserve their own chance to visit Florida. Have a great time in Jacksonville, Cornhuskers! We left it in good condition for you; we expect you to do the same. Iowa, it's been a little while, but remember that you're expected to behave yourselves when you're guests in someone else's house.

In the true spirit of giving, then, we decided that this year, we'd give all the teams in the Big Ten (that we saw) a nice gift, all their own:

To Ohio State, the gift of not being embarrassed by us on a national stage.

To Wisconsin, all those stats for Melvin Gordon and James White to pad.

To Minnesota, hope that this year might actually be the year.

To Iowa, ... well, actually, that wasn't supposed to happen. But you're welcome anyways!

To Nebraska, Bo Pelini not being fired. What, you didn't want that? Well, you got the opportunity to gaze upon Jordan Westerkamp's glorious mustache. We know you only wanted the one, but it was a package deal, and we Northwestern folk are nothing if not thrifty.

To Michigan, a new threat on the basepaths in Drew Dileo! Someone tell your baseball coach about him. And we've got something else for you--one of those blocking tunnels for offensive lineman! This way, they won't FALSE START ON A FIELD GOAL anymore.

To Michigan State, a punt on 4th and 1 from your 37, along with the remainder of Pat Fitzgerald's testicles.

And finally, to Illinois, not a damn thing. Because that would be nice.

Happy Holidays to you and yours, Big Ten!

MNWildcat and the Northwestern Family

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