|The best crest U-M's faced this year|
LOCATION - Evanston, Illinois. The village was named for Northwestern's founder, John Evans and has some lame nicknames like E-town, the City of Homes and -- wait for it -- Heavenston (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit). In the 1960's, the university changed the shoreline of Evanston by dumping landfill into Lake Michigan to allow more land for campus buildings. Recently, the relationship between the village and the university has turned frosty as, per the founding charter, Northwestern does not have to pay property taxes. Ever. Sweeeet deal if you can get it (No, Exxon, you're not a college).
And although it's more a 'burb than a "college town," it's still a great place to live. A lively downtown, easy access to Chicago, and a beautiful beach (when it's warm enough) make Evanston one of the more desirable and expensive suburbs of Chicago. It's also home to numerous famous people, including the Cusacks, Jeremy Piven, Charles Gibson, Donald Rumsfeld, and Eddie Vedder. Not bad for a town of about 75,000.
NICKNAME - Wildcats, named by a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1924 (and thus not in honor of that shitty Goldie Hawn movie). Some of the school's previous nicknames include the Fighting Methodists and the fear-inspiring Purple. In 1972, with a nod to popular culture at the time (and probably just the overwhelming urge to get high), the student body voted to change the school nickname to "Purple Haze". It never stuck.
|He looks like a Looney|
COLORS - Purple and White (which replaced Black and Gold in 1892). In the '90s (1990s, that is) they went trendy and added black to their unis. Black and purple are not a good combination. Unfortunately, this also corresponded to the time Northwestern stopped being a laughingstock on the gridiron, so they kept the black well beyond its sell date.
Logo - After struggling through the '70s to find a logo, Northwestern settled on their current version in 1981 and have not changed it since. The stylized bold N is sometimes adorned with a snarling wildcat, but the N is the symbol of the university and has been the only adornment to the football helmets for 25 years.
While the current N is solid, and has provided the university and its sports teams an identity for a long time, I think Northwestern made a mistake in 1967 when they went away from using this guy.
(Bottom logo from Chris Creamer's SportsLogosNet).
FIGHT SONG - The Northwestern fight song, Go U Northwestern, is a solid middle of the pack song for the Big Ten. Theodore Van Etten, inspired by a 20-7 victory over Indiana, wrote the song in 1912. It's pretty sad when your fight song was written because of a victory over Indiana - in football. The song was originally titled Go Northwestern Go but was changed soon after.
By the '80s, students and fans began yelling "Go 'Cats!" at the end of the song's chorus repeat which, if you ever witnessed N'Western football in the '80s was probably just a clever way of calling the team pussies.
ACADEMICS - Quite simply, Northwestern kicks some serious academic ass. They are currently the top school in the Big Ten according the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings, coming in at #12 (ahead of the second-ranked school in the B1G, #28 Michigan).
Maybe it's because of these high academic standards that NU has some traditions that sound as boring as they do intellectually inspired. Take for example, Mayfest and Dillo Day. According to the school website, "the roots of Northwestern's end-of-the-year celebration, Mayfest, reach back to the 1890s, when students would celebrate the 'renunciation of the May Queen of the temporal world for a spiritual one.'" Uh...yeah. I'll take Hash Bash, thank you very much.
Wait it gets
Woo hoo! Games?! Go U Northwestern!
ATHLETICS - The Wildcats had a decent year last season, with 12 of the 19 varsity sports advancing to post season play, and winning the National Title in Women's Lacrosse. Historically, it hasn't been as good. Northwestern is a charter member of the Big Ten, and promptly called dibs on the cellar. Though their women's lacrosse team has won 6 national titles, and their 1931 basketball team was proclaimed National Champs by the Thrifty Nickel, there have been few brights spots. Several low lights, including basketball and football players charged with bribery and point shaving, as well the infamous soccer hazing incident.
|Hef attended for a semester of grad courses|
(which was a good enough excuse for this pic)
THE GAME - Dan Persa should be back, and this could be a test. I'm doubting it. If you'll pardon me, it's hard to type while I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. I believe in the D. I believe in super Denard. We stay undefeated.
Michigan - 34
Northwestern - 10
ED. NOTE: That was Ron's pick above. With a prediction like that, I think he had to have been drinking something and I'm not sure it's Kool-Aid. I'm also drinking the Diet Hoke but think that a) we were very lucky to beat ND and b) too many are putting too much stock in a 58-0 blitzing of the Corpse Posing as Minnesota. But I love the staff and this team. But with Persa back, it's going to be very tough. I'm torn. I want to believe. But I've been hurt by 5-0 Michigan teams in the past.
These aren't those teams.
Michigan - 30
Northwestern - 28