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This is my game preview.

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For all intents and purposes, the disproportionately large faction of Northwestern fans in this community would have you believe that the HAT game is already over and they are already victorious.

Unusually, it seems that now that they've won nine games in a season and maintained a consistent AP Top 25 ranking throughout this season, they want to be taken seriously and not viewed as The Little Engine That Could.

Contrary to the educational practices of you common Big Ten folk with state governments backing your schools, Northwestern is a place where the truly elite prepare to be your bosses and govern your state; no riff-raff, please.

Knowing this to be the case, I'm expected to find it cute when little old Northwestern puts together winning sports programs despite being unable to enroll the best athletes (because they are cretins, you see).

Northwestern is always sold a feel-good story; the little private school that wanted to compete on the big stage with the cool kids to show that even the academically elite (and more to the point, the privileged) can compete with the big boys if they just work their precious little hearts out!

Of course, they've never made the NCAA men's basketball tournament, but it's unfair to compare them with their conference peers; after all, they are just cute little Northwestern, and being the nearest Big Ten school to the epicenter of American basketball talent is no excuse to bash Northwestern's adorable little sports team.

Right, so that's basically how the narrative is always packaged when Northwestern isn't winning, which makes the opposite scenario quite confounding.

This year, I'm supposed to fear Northwestern and take them seriously as a big-time program?

How is it that the Northwestern cabal here can sling so much crap at Iowa fans for pretending they've been 100% behind Ferentz all along, yet nobody criticizes the purple people for questioning Fitzgerald's future and writing off a 47-33 loss to Tim Beckman?

Wait a second; maybe it was Old Pat that coached that game and Illinois stands no chance against New Pat.

Enough about New Pat/Old Pat though; Northwestern fans don't want to hear that.

See, they're far too busy furiously polishing their purple helmets over the position that Illinois is in: having to hire a football coach with an interim AD, chancellor and provost.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune went to Northwestern, which you probably didn't know about because graduates of Northwestern's journalism school rarely let on that they went to Northwestern.

Entertaining as Illinois' administrative turmoil is to the North Shore-minded Northwesternites, it lays bare the fact that the University of Illinois is at a massive disadvantage against Northwestern by virtue of being run by the most corrupt and ineffective state government in the Midwest.

Rather ironic, isn't it, that Northwesterners like to claim Chicago but not the state of Illinois despite the fact that Chicago produces much of that state government about which they love to whine even though the administrative turnover at Illinois is a side effect of mismanagement by the state government via the board of trustees.

Never mind all that though; we'll play along as Northwestern imagines it, eternally damned to be subjugated by the mighty Purple Helmets of Doom. But I'll send along a message:

You'd better watch the damned!
They're gonna break their chains!
You can't stop them!
They're coming to get you, and then,

You'll get your balls to the wall, man.

P.S.: before you post your comment to counterattack the only hate piece anyone's ever done against Northwestern, even if it's just to laugh at my admittedly questionable choice to use a hair metal song about balls as a metaphor, you should call your personal assistant on your Bluetooth headset and cancel your appointments for next week, cash out the rest of your trust fund into traveler's cheques, put them in the trunk of your Mercedes S Class, douse them in gasoline and light them on fire, get in the car, activate the massage seats and then drive it into Lake Michigan, then file a fraudulent insurance claim, take that money, go buy a new BMW X6M, don't signal to change lanes, and then crash it into the side of New Trier High School.