I must begin this with a mea culpa.
I thought Fitz had a chance last season. Not because he’s great, but because the West was weak yet again. And the 2020 jNW team was competitive.
I was wrong and I HATE myself for considering jNW being worth a damn.
And I thought about just relabeling MNW’s 2021 Performance Review essay as my hate piece. That was a great piece of self-loathing.
But no, I need more than that. I need to actually rub your glasses-calloused noses in it. Northwestern sucks.
And you did it to yourselves. The school gifted Fitz a gold-plated ten-fucking-year contract. So, I decided to share some hate.
Because in this age of NIL, if you don’t compete, you are a farm team.
Northwestern is the Farm Stand of the B1G West
And that’s what Northwestern is now. A farm team. Your coach is just a jumped-up Jethro, rocking a buzz haircut and a faded pair of jorts, thinking he’s all that. Instead, he’s just a hick manning the Big Ten’s version of a roadside farm stand.
It’s not teams like Georgia and Alabama stealing your players. I mean, even Pitt’s guys get poached by UCLA.
Instead, it’s Florida also-ran UCF or Pac-12 bottom feeder Arizona, for crying out loud. Your team is so bad, these kids want to play in liquid heat, in Mickey Mouse Hell instead of playing for Fitz.
Let that sink in. Blake Bortles’ alma mater has a bigger draw than you do. These kids would rather go to a state school that’s basically one step above a Juco than play for Northwestern. To be fair, since 2017 UCF had 13 players drafted by NFL teams to Northwestern’s 7.
It’s probably nothing to do with football.
To bring this home a bit more (and make me feel even worse for not realizing 2020 was a fucking fluke of a year), let’s do a quick stat review.
In the Covid-shortened season of 2020, Northwestern looked passable. Good even. They started 5-0, with solid wins at Iowa and over tenth ranked Wisconsin. The only “regular” season loss was to eighth ranked Michigan State in East Lansing.
They blew up Illinois to keep HAT for another year. They managed to not get run out of the stadium by OSU in the B1G Championship and then blew Auburn out of the Citrus Bowl.
In all, a reasonable season. And, given that just four of their main contributors would graduate, one would reasonably expect the 2021 team to be at least competitive.
On paper at least, the two teams look relatively comparable.
What separated 2020 from 2021?
What you should see is a small decline across all the categories. Fewer average completions in 2021. Worse passing percentage. Fewer rushing touchdowns, and in general fewer offensive plays and yards.
“How could that be?”
You – dear reader – might ask yourself. “You said only four of their nine major contributors graduated.”
Yep. Of the nine players that generated more than 100 yards of offense in 2020, only ONE returned in 2021.
They lost four to graduation, one to injury and three to transfers. As I said, the destinations weren’t even noteworthy:
- Sophomore Running Back Drake Anderson took his 284 yards of total offense (he had 662 yards in 2019) to Arizona.
- Wide Receiver Kyric McGowan took his 507 yards of total offense to Georgia Tech (where he scored 7 touchdowns)
- Running Back Isaiah Bowser too his 282 yards of total offense to UCF (where he rushed for over 700 yards and scored 9 TDs in 2021)
Those three players accounted for 17 touchdowns and 1,725 yards of total offense for their new teams.
The only returning player from that team was standout RB Evan Hull. He racked up 1,273 yards and 9 touchdowns. While Stephan Robinson and Malik Washington both had respectable yardage totals, neither scored more than 2 touchdowns last season.
And in 2022, the next crop is ready. That begins (on offense) with Quarterback Hunter Johnson.
The former five-star recruit came to jNW instead of Clemson. He then lost the starting job in 2020 to Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey. Anointed starter in 2021, Fitz benched him after a bad (terrible) half at Duke after just 2 1/2 games. He finished 2021 as the second highest rated passer on the team. He’s (finally) headed back to Clemson.
Another piece moving on is Jordan Mosley. While he was quiet in 2021, this year should be his breakout. He’ll do that at Mississippi State.
And maybe the most Northwestern player ever is Jason Whittaker. He came in as a three-star pro-style quarterback. He’s transferring out as a tight end.
And while the 2021 offense returns mostly unscathed, it was a bad football team.
Their points per game ranked 125th out of 130. According to Sports-Reference.com, their simple ranking system put Northwestern at 98th out of 130 teams. So, maybe they don’t want that offense back?
But the defectors aren’t limited to the offense. Notre Dame pulled into the farm stand and left with the damn cash box. All American Safety Brandon Joseph traded purple for a golden dome.
That one hurts. But don’t feel bad. Northwestern deserves your hate.
They are that kind of farm-stand that sits on the wrong side of the road. The parking lot is a muddy hole. The proprietor has body odor so loud you can almost see it. His footwear are shit-stained purple crocs from the early 2000’s.
And the produce is questionable at best.
P.S. I wrote this at a 6th grade reading level so the Nebraska fans could read it too.