Have the Cats won any of their games at Wrigley Field? I think they’ve lost 3 in a row.
Not enough offense, terrible playcalling on a first and goal situation, a critical special teams mistake and a defense that couldn’t stop the 2 minute drive at the end, something that seems to be a Northwestern trademark lately. :sigh:
Yea to 3 in a row
And a better NU team doesn’t have all those negative perfect storms that you highlighted line up against them . They will remember not being able to punch it in 3x from inches out. A win would have had NU tied for first. ( amazing just thinking how close we were ! )
I think having to play at ‘neutral’ sites for two full seasons is a huge negative for the stadium project, and they’re likely to price a bunch of long-time seat holders out in the bargain.
I hate the Wrigley sellout, especially vs. Io_a, but I thought we played competitively.
After Rutgers and Duke we were so close to being 7-2 which is much better than I expected after the preseason debacle.
I’m not disple
This year has been a pleasant surprise, despite the losses to Nebraska and now Iowa, but the longer it takes to name a permanent new coach, the worse the upcoming signing class will be. Right now it’s not very deep, and if a new coach isn’t named until after the Illinois game, the new coach won’t have a lot of time to assemble a team and build a recruiting class. Yeah, there’s the transfer portal but Northwestern probably can’t do a Colorado there.
I would suggest that that is why it would be really a big plus to go to a bowl game; to offset somewhat the disadvantage of no official head coach. It would at least give NU football some positive PR ,particularly to the local area of the game ( wherever that could be)
Speaking of negative PR, recruiting and a future head coach…
If we had an engaged administration and BOT that really cared about the success of the Football program, I would hope they would offer Braun a contract right now, contingent on him remaining DC and finding a new OC in the offseason. This would strengthen Braun’s ability to recruit. But NU continues to suffer negative publicity, see the recent comments by Noah Herron. Journalists these days in their articles do not lead with these experiences are 20 years old and were a part of the former coaching staff’s leadership. Rather they lead with headers like “Black athletes subjected to racial abuse” https://theathletic.com/5028039/2023/11/03/northwestern-football-racism-hazing/ and then tie these allegations to the broader allegations.
All of these negative repercussions are the directly tied to failed crisis management, with the biggest looming issue…NU is looking at paying out a big sum to Fitz. I don’t think the athletes have a case that will stand up in court, but as long as it remains in the media, it hurts our football program.
So I have very little faith this regime will make wise choices regarding the future of NU football. Gragg has not proven any ability in the role. And Schill does not seem to really care of NU football at all.
Someone needs to stand up and take some leadership here, so that our program has a future, and we can sell some of those seats in the new stadium they are about to dump a lot of money into! Please NU do the right thing!
One can only hope some kind of active search is underway for a new head football coach, but I doubt ordinary people like us will ever hear anything about it until they announce the new coach’s name, some time between now and next August, I guess.
There were names being bandied about in the media recently, but it isn’t clear if that was accurate information or just speculation by sportswriters with a blank screen to fill.
I suspect the NU administration is far more interested in pursuing the stadium project, which may get final approval from the Evanston City Council in a few weeks, though that may not quell the anti-stadium crowd. Are lawsuits next?
And if they get the approval for it, I doubt the AD will be changed mid-project.
Braun has done a very good job and the players really like him. But remember these aren’t his recruits. I think his biggest liability would be in recruiting as he has no name nor unlikely much of a pipeline to the high schools Plus Im not sure how good he would be with attracting talent from the portal ( at least in D1)
Offering Braun the job would be an easy out for Gragg and Schill but would delay a program recovery for quite a bit. I would think their best shot would be to hire a fired at the end of the year coach who has a name but didn’t measure up to some schools lofty standards in the Win / Loss category
I also wonder if David Shaw would have any interest? He stepped down at Stanford because he felt the new landscape with the portal and NIL wasn’t in his space ( sound familiar?) Would he consider one more big challenge? He was highly regarded as a person
Having a coach at a Big Ten school who doesn’t think he can deal with the Transfer Portal or NIL sounds like a bad idea (Fitz 2.0?), because NU’s academic standards already restrict the pool of available players.
Actually, I strongly believe Gragg will be let go, given the baseball coach scandal. If you ask me, it’s a question of when. I just hope it happens before a new coach is chosen.
I’m hopeful that Schill will be shown the door also, once it becomes apparent his crisis mismanagement will cost NU tens of millions of dollars.
Unless there’s someone who can take over for Gragg immediately, an AD search followed by a (resumed or restarted) coach search probably means no new coach until some time in 2024. That means the 2024 recruiting class will be pretty much a lost cause, if it isn’t already. Even a great coach might take years to recover from that.
I’m sympathetic to not wanting Gragg making the coaching hire, but I’m not sure we want Schill making it, either.
This is a Hobson’s choice situation, I fear.
I’m beginning to believe the best option might be to promote Braun or hire someone else NOW, though not with a long-term contract at first, if it’s Braun.
But I really suspect that the stadium project has been taking priority over the AD/Coach issues.
Well many of us would have been happy to have Fitz stay even with the issues he was facing with the new landscape The kids graduated and generally stayed out of trouble off campus. The hope ( at least from my end) was the Fitz would learn the new rules and figure out what was needed to do better in recruiting
I suspect Shaw would do similarly as he did at Stanford . His west coach connections might also help once the conference goes west next season. Again just a thought being thrown out there as a possibility
I think the hazing issues were too great for Fitz to have survived for long, and even then, I think he had about two seasons to turn things around before a new President and AD would have forced him out anyway.
But it would have been interesting to see just how good the defense could have been if David Braun had only that on his plate. But we’ll never know how much of this year’s defensive improvement was David Braun and how much was an ‘NU against the world’ mentality among the players that might not have existed if Fitz hadn’t been fired.
Barnett, Walker and Fitzgerald were all great promoters of NU as a viable football school in their day, Shaw would have many of those characteristics as well. But I’m not sure that’s enough to succeed any more, especially in the bigger and much stronger Big Ten.