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It’s almost Northwestern Week! Here’s how you can prepare.

Next week B1G 2023 kicks off!’s time to talk about Northwestern football. But also this stuff!

Syndication: Arizona Republic Patrick Breen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good morning, wherever you are.

Next week begins the [/coughs] Annual Big Ten Previews, or what we like to call B1G 20XX.

This year, I’m told, it’ll be B1G 2023! That doesn’t seem legal, but here we are. It’s 2023, Off Tackle Empire has been around over a decade, and somehow some of you people have continued reading this website.

What is B1G 2023?

Thirteen years and you still can’t write a preview piece?

Look, I’m just here as a plot device. Tell the people what’s next.

B1G 2023 is a team-by-team preview to lead us into the 2023 Big Ten football season. As we here at Off Tackle Empire are your Punting is Winning leaders, you deserve to know exactly who is going to kick your team to a title this season.

We help you navigate all the nonsensical listicles (new band name, called it), breathless recruiting updates, and overly-sunny rehashings of coaches’ press conferences with in-depth*, hard-hitting**, voice-of-the-fan*** analysis of how your team will fare in 2023.

Each week, there’ll be approximately^ five articles:

  • Monday: Cocktail Party Preview — your quick overview to help you navigate conversations with your boss, who likely went to Northwestern but also wisconsin grads own meat lockers sometimes and we’re proud of them, too.
  • Tuesday: Coaching Updates — who’s new? who’s fresh? who’s gonna get fired? who’s related to your head coach and can only be fired by the athletic director? We walk you through what to expect on the sidelines.
  • Wednesday: Offense? Defense? Special Teams? Your team has it! (Maybe.) We talk about it! (Probably.)
  • Thursday: Potent Potables Probably more defense and special teams.
  • Friday: HATE. Did you know that not everyone in the world loves Ohio State football? That not everyone thinks James Franklin is a genius and great coach? That some people don’t buy PJ Fleck’s schtick, no matter how many edgy things he tells boosters behind closed doors before finishing second in the West again? Someone might just stop by to remind you of that. We call it Hate Fridays—and you can join in! Write a FanPost about how much you hate that week’s team, and we’ll likely front-page it!
  • Irregular: Potlucks! Mostly, these’ll happen on weeks where I have time—we’ll serve up a dish from that team’s state and talk about regional cuisine, weird dialects, whatever a Wawa or Sheetz or Kwik Trip is, enjoy a ButterBurger, and maybe talk football accidentally, too.

Wow, that’s a lot. Your bosses must be so proud of you!

Next question.

OK, so who’s up first?

We go in reverse order of finish and make slight adjustments as needed for writers’ availability. Here’s the schedule, beginning each Monday:

**Our Maryland coverage has been ad-hoc and/or done by email for the last two years. If you’re a Maryland fan interested in blogging (ir)regularly about Terps football and don’t mind a loosely-organized Slack channel, drop me a line at minnesotawildcat (at) gmail (dot) com.

Sounds great. What can I do?

Read articles! (Or skip to the comments. The clicks count either way.) If you have thoughts you want to share, write a FanPost! Assuming it meets baseline readability and appropriateness, it’ll get front-paged!

We’re just happy you’re here at Off Tackle Empire.

OK, but you mentioned getting ready for Northwestern Week. And there’s a softball player on the article’s image. What gives?

Well I’m glad you asked!

First, that’s Northwestern softball legend Danielle Williams. The grad student southpaw is the ace and all-time winningest pitcher for the ‘Cats: lifetime she’s 98-28 with a 2.14 ERA, and in 2023 that’s included a 15-1 campaign and a 2.59 ERA for Kate Drohan’s 33-10 (18-2) and 18th-ranked squad.

Last weekend, in a rain-soaked affair, Northwestern pounded Nebraska 22-4 in the opener, then got late comebacks (8-6 in 9 innings, 10-9 in a rain-delayed game) to sweep the Huskers and claim at least a share of the regular-season Big Ten crown. One win at Rutgers this weekend, and Northwestern will clinch the outright title—they won’t stop there, though, because a Big Ten Tournament title will likely push the ‘Cats into the Top 16 and make them a host site for a Regional Final in the NCAA Softball Tournament.

Full Big Ten Softball Weekend Schedule (all times CT, on BTN unless noted):

  • Friday, 4:30pm: Maryland at Illinois
  • Friday, 6:30pm: Iowa at wisconsin
  • Saturday, 11am: Michigan at Minnesota
  • Sunday, 11am: Michigan State at Indiana
  • Sunday, 1pm: Michigan at Minnesota

But I thought Northwestern Week was abou—

How we’re a lacrosse school? You’re right!

The national #1 Northwestern Wildcats women’s lacrosse team has not lost since a season-opening 16-15 loss at #5 Syracuse, rolling up a 16-1 (10-0) record and clinching the outright regular-season title with a 13-6 drubbing of #10 Maryland in Evanston on April 22. Attacker Izzy Scane continues to rewrite the Northwestern record books, with 77 goals this season to add to her 266 career tallies.

They’ll play in the Big Ten women’s lacrosse championships in a rematch with the Terps on Saturday evening.

Full Big Ten Lacrosse Championship Schedule (all times CT, on BTN unless noted):

  • Saturday, 4:30pm (men’s): [4] Michigan vs. [3] Maryland (at Johns Hopkins)
  • Saturday, 6:30pm (women’s): [2] Maryland vs. [1] Northwestern (at Ohio State)

You didn’t mention my favorite sport, though!

Sorry, those are the only spring sports. Thanks for playing, though!

See you all next Monday morning for the Northwestern Cocktail Party Preview! I’m sure it’ll be even-handed and not dripping with sarcasm and/or thinly-veiled contempt.