As the years pass, a rivalry between the Huskers and Wildcats looks more and more legit. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald knocked in a round-winning putt to win a charity tournament.
Then he discussed a rough offseason that dealt with talk of college players forming unions.
Then, he encouraged everyone on hand to show up for Homecoming as the Wildcats clash with Nebraska that day. Then came the pipebomb.
“It’s a pretty boring state, so they’re really excited to see Chicago,” Fitzgerald said. “I talked to the state senator about putting state troopers out on I-80 (to block them).” – Chicago Tribune
Interesting commentary. Personally, I dig Fitz. He loves his alma mater, so he’s not going anywhere. However, at a school with larger resources, I think he could excel. That said, let’s examine the evidence that’s building to back my case that Northwestern’s changing from Big Ten Spoiler to Big Red Nemesis.
First, the Wildcats came into Memorial Stadium and welcomed the Huskers to the Big Ten with a 28-25 upset. The following year, Nebraska travels to Evanston, IL. and leaves following the fourth-largest comeback in school history, a 29-28 decision.
Next, a Hail Mary crushes the soul of every Northwestern player, coach and fan in Memorial Stadium.
All fantastic games and all three decided by a total of seven points.
Now Fitzgerald’s tossing out verbal barbs, if only half-kiddingly. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Bo Pelini got wind of that. The Wildcat commander’s comment isn’t even the most stunning piece of evidence I’ve recently added to my figurative briefcase.
No, Your Honor, take a look at what we have here:
— Lonny blair (@blair_lb) July 23, 2014
— Brian Kamp (@B_Kamp) July 22, 2014
— Drew Deras (@deras322) July 22, 2014
I could add more, but some tweets aren’t exactly family-friendly. As Nebraska formally introduced itself to the Big Ten, Wisconsin seemed the logical choice for a potential new rivalry. Iowa might blossom, regardless of Jim Delany’s attempt to dub it official.
While Wisconsin matches due to the Midwestern charm of the states and the Big Red blood that seeps deep into the Badgers’ program, a rivalry’s not there. Not yet.
Iowa’s technically a “border war”, but at this point, it’s more of a “border annoyance”. If the Hawkeyes beat Nebraska this season, then it’s a topic worth bringing up again.
Northwestern, though, is starting to get testy with Nebraska and the feeling’s mutual.
This season’s matchup has every opportunity to solidify, dare I say it…hatred.
As Fitzgerald said, the Huskers visit for Homecoming and while Nebraska’s defense looks formidable on paper, the duo of Trevor Siemian and Venric Mark. Can and will frustrate Pelini and John Papuchis. For a little while, at least.
Can they do it to the point of victory? Tune into The Battle For NU to find out.
What’s your take on an eventual well-established Nebraska – Northwestern rivalry? Leave your thoughts below.
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