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The Rivalry, Esq.'s 2009 Closing Argument - Northwestern Wildcats

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But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. 

-Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird

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We, The Rivalry, Esq. place before this college football court, the 2009 season of the Northwestern Wildcats.  This is a dangerous team that has made its bones by being over-looked, discounted, and under-appreciated.  I say to you, ladies and gentlemen of the college football jury, ENOUGH!  Let this court give them the fair assessment that they deserve.

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I. Case History

The 2008 Wildcats entered the season with little hype and low expectations.  As is their custon, they were better than anticipated.  Northwestern went 4-0 through an easy non-conference schedule and 5-3 in the Big Ten.  Their loss to Indiana was their only truly disappointing performance.  

The 'Cats were rewarded with an Alamo Bowl berth, and they nearly stunned double-digit favored Missouri.  In the end, the Tigers won by a touchdown in overtime.

 

II. Factual Summation

A. The Rivalry, Esq. Says

Here's some of what we've written about the Northwestern Wildcats over the off-season

Spring Preview

Lake the Posts Responds

Thoughts on Kafka

Was 9-4 a Fluke?

Evaluating the Mechanics of Kafka

Will PatFitz Ever Go?

Thursday NightsWildcatsLaking the Posts

B. Michael Jackson Says

Because all blogs are required to compare athletic teams to some random entertainment icon, we're equating Big Ten Teams and Michael Jackson songs.  The quality of the reading improves if you listed to the barely justified song choice as you continue.

That's right.  Stay away from that young coaching prodigy.  Don't bring up 60 years without a bowl win.  Forget about the losing streak.  Just leave them alone.

 

III. Emotional Plea

A. I Hate Northwestern

Maybe its because he's lived too long in the South, where hatred is a tangible commodity, but Bama Hawkeye has felt his hatred for Big Ten rivals boiling.  Here's why he hates Northwestern.

I hate Northwestern because they thought that dressing like a bruise was an acceptable color combination.  I hate Northwestern because they shouldn't beat Iowa.  Ever.  And yet...and yet...I hate Northwestern because my high school classmates who went there were every bit as pretentious as the stereotypical Wildcat...I hate Northwestern because they can't win a bowl game...I hate Northwestern.

B. Why You Should Love Northwestern

Because nobody, and I mean nobody, does more with less.  Because there is no reason that they shouldn't be Duke, except that they found men who cared.  Because Pat Fitzgerald was a badass as a player and seems to be ridiculously cool as a coach.  Because they decided that there is nothing lovable about being a loser.  Because they're in the Big Ten.

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IV. Verdict

A.The Rivalry, Esq. Calls the Games

Opponent

Graham Filler Picks

Law Buckeye Picks

Bama Hawkeye Picks

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Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

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Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

@ Syracuse_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Minnesota_medium

Minnesota_medium

Minnesota_medium

Minnesota_medium

@ Purdue_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Eastern_michigan_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

@Michigan_st_medium 

Michigan_st_medium

Michigan_st_medium

Michigan_st_medium

Indiana_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Northwestern_medium

Penn_state_medium

Penn_state_medium

Penn_state_medium

Penn_state_medium

@ Iowa_medium

Iowa_medium

Iowa_medium

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@ Illinois_medium

Illinois_medium

Illinois_medium

Illinois_medium

Wisconsin_medium

Wisconsin_medium

Wisconsin_medium

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FINAL RECORD

6-6 (2-6)

6-6 (2-6)

7-5 (3-5)

B. Bama Hawkeye Calls the Bowl Game

The Big Ten has nine bowl eligible teams by the end of the season.  Northwestern gets bypassed for the Motor City Bowl.  They don't complain. They get the spot reserved for Army in DC...

Congressionalbowl_2008a_sm_mediumvs. Maryland_medium

V. On Appeal

Words from an SBNation blogger on their team.  Since Northwestern doesn't have an SBNation blog, we turn to frequent commenter Chadnudj, who gave us this opinion about Coach Fitzgerald:

Pat Fitzgerald has the chance to be the "Purple Paterno," i.e. Northwestern’s version of JoePa. He’ll be doing up the El line from a football-crazy city in one of the top 3 media markets in the country, with tremendous exposure for his team/conference through the Big Ten Network/ESPN. He’s already increased/improved NU’s recruiting SIGNIFICANTLY in just 3 years.

Yes, it’s crazy, but you almost have to ask if Fitzgerald, of all coaches today, has the best shot at one day unseating (or making a run) at JoePa in terms of wins…..

I, at least, won’t count him out….