Before all you go out and write our roadie to Northwestern in as a victory, think again.
King Barry went 7-7 against Northwestern. Think about that. In 1992 the 'Cats denied Barry his first bowl game with a late November 27-25 win. In '95 Gary Barnett's squad DESTROYED us, 35-0. Are you freakin' kidding me!?! (they went to the Rose Bowl that year, we went 4-5-2). In '96 Ron Dayne fumbled away a 2nd and 2 with under a minute to play (for the record, we couldn't have simply run out the clock), and the 'Cats converted a touchdown for the improbable 34-30 win at Camp Randall. In 2000, the 'Cats survived a late 4th and 8 while down by a touchdown, then down 3 with under 10 seconds to play converted a 3rd down from about the 50 to get into field goal range, force overtime, and win 47-44 in the second OT, again at the Camp. In 2003, the sub-.500 Wildcats dealt Wisconsin a 16-7 loss. Then in 2005, in a game that ultimately may have prevented Barry's last team from a BCS Bowl (though in hindsight I'm happy with the win over Auburn), Northwestern exploded for 27 points in the 3rd quarter and hung on for a 51-48 win -- Wisconsin's first loss of the season.
Moreover, the 'Cats gave heavily favored Missouri all they could handle in last season's Alamo Bowl mostly due to a solid defense coached by former Badger coordinator Mike Hankwitz. Have I mentioned our road record under Bielema? In fact, this looks like our second or third toughest road game of the season (Minnesota is the other; I concede our road schedule doesn't look that tough). That said, the 'Cats will bring a whole new cast of skill players to their offense, so there is hope.
In preparation for all this, and admittedly still struggling to get my head around taking Northwestern seriously, I sent the world's best Northwestern football blog, Lake the Posts, an inquiry about what to expect next year, below is their response:
(1) The stereotype is that Northwestern is good when its brainy quarterbacks have two to three years of starting experience. That description doesn't fit 2009. How much confidence do you have in this year's offense and the whole new set of skill players? What's the story on the o-line?
(2) Best Northwestern defense ever? (ed. note: this was a reference I saw in some preview somewhere on the web.) If that works out for you, can we have our defensive coordinator back? No, really. Would if help if I said please? Seriously, tell me what I should know about the Northwestern defense. How are the injured lineman coming, and how is the depth behind them?
(6) What campus legend, little known fact, or other random piece of information should everyone know about Northwestern?
There are plenty. Many don't know about defending "The Rock" which is a fixture in main campus. Nearly every night of the year a different campus group camps out to paint the rock for its organization for group of friends. You claim it at daylight and must retain a foot in the base throughout the day to keep the rights. The first Final Four was hosted on the Evanston campus but we don't like to go there since we've NEVER made the NCAA Tournament.