Friday, September 21, 2012

The Northwestern Wildcats are an Unstoppable Juggernaut of Harrowing Victory

I don't want to alarm anyone here, but Northwestern is 3-0 and the only school in the country to defeat three opponents from BCS conferences.  And the only cost was years of our lives.  The quick start, bolstered by a stout run defense and impressive running game, has Northwestern in great position for another berth in a prestigious bowl that will be located somewhere in Texas.  Even if the Wildcats fail to cash in another three wins or make it to a bowl outside of Texas, I'm guessing a consortium of Texas businessmen will swoop up and somehow force the team back into the Lonestar State and then call each other bastards and sons of bitches and erect tiny oil derricks behind them  like so many petroleum Hansels.

Grainy surveillance photos reveal powerful Texans behind a sinister plot to move Northwestern to
a reconstructed Southwest Conference by 2015

The Wildcats survived another close call against Boston College for their third win as they treated both endzones as like the Wrigley Field Forbidden Endzone and kept a respectful distance of several yards.  Much like that Illinois game, Mike Trumpy was the only Northwestern offensive player to laugh in the face of danger and break the goal line.  Trumpy, who had an excellent comeback game with 99 yards on the ground, trained in the offseason by swapping footballs with sandbags of equivalent weight, dodging blowdarts, and laughing at a perforated Alfred Molina.


The 'Cats ended up with nearly 300 rushing yards and 267 more in the air from a variety of quarterbacks, but only managed 22 points.  The Eagles took advantage of some NU turnovers and timely passes from quarterback Chase Rettig to keep it close.  Also, the BC coach has a pretty spectacular mustache and I am sure that inspired his team.  With only minutes to go, the 'Cats held onto a two point lead, but it proved to be enough as the defense gave another inspiring performance.  They held the Eagles to only 25 rushing yards, which has to be some sort of school record.  I bet even Chicago Dental College managed more than 25 rushing yards, although to be fair the forward pass had not yet been invented and at that point they were probably firing fullbacks out of cannons at the line of scrimmage until they got a first down or the players decided that they had put on a manly enough display of being shot out of things and decided to repair to their smoking lounges to savor a brandy and reattach their limbs.

Jeff Budzien was the most impressive Wildcat.  Football kickers are like washing machine repairmen or exterminators in that you do not want to see them because your team can't score touchdowns or your house is flooded and/or large throngs of aggressive millipedes on a civilizing mission. When they do show up, though, you would like them to be thorough and professional, and Budzien got the job done with five field goals on Saturday. And I got the job done with a hokey sportswriter-grade simile right there, here's an unnecessary reference to teeth.

You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you would need to call the 
A-Team because that invariably means you've gotten yourself into trouble with 
a group of a group of vengeful yokels, but if you must fend off a swarm of 
marauding hillbillies by assembling the contents of a barn into a machine 
capable of firing produce at speeds violent enough to throw a man from a tractor 
without causing him severe injury, you're probably glad you selected this 
particular group of soldiers of fortune in the Los Angeles underground

The scoring frustrations masked an impressive outing from the Wildcats.  Venric Mark has emerged as the most exciting diminutive Northwestern tailback since Tyrell Sutton.  Chi Chi Ariguzo has quickly become a game-changing defensive presence.  But there is still plenty to work on.  The front seven, which have looked dominant against the run, still have trouble pressuring the quarterback, and the 'Cats remain vulnerable to long passes.  Also the Northwestern players need to practice proper chest-bumping form.  Frankly, it's shocking to see an errant chest-bump from a Pat Fitzgerald-coached team.


Northwestern will host South Dakota on Saturday.  The Coyotes are an FCS squad, and Wildcat fans expect victory.  Veteran 'Cat watchers, however, know not to assume anything with this squad.  I would not be surprised for Northwestern to be up by one with three minutes remaining after allowing a 99 yard touchdown bomb and then all of a sudden the arena goes dark and an Orson Welles impersonator starts warning about an alien invasion while the Wildcat noise goes off in the background and the scoreboard keeps flashing pictures of Air Willie devouring helpless Wildcat Alley patrons and all of the seats turn into vibrating Mant seats then everyone has a good-natured laugh over the scare and Northwestern scores eight unanswered touchdowns and Lake Michigan turns into a sweet fizzy substance resembling lemonade.

Northwestern fans react to another thrilling Wildcat Victory


British elections before the 1832 Reform Bill had managed to streamline campaigning to avoid long, costly elections in many areas.  That is because several local constituencies, the so-called "rotten boroughs" only had a handful of voters, so the key campaign strategy usually involved buying the seats directly from the landholder at reasonable wholesale prices.  That system ran smoothly for centuries, especially in the days when British men resembled nothing less than an interchangeable assembly of collar ruffles and mustaches.  Occasionally, there were hiccups in the system.  The two seats in the borough of Gatton were controlled by Sir Mark Wood who canvassed the electorate consisting largely of himself and returned himself to Parliament along with his brother-in-law (James Dashwood.  Wood and Dashwood sounds like a horrible synth pop duo that scored a top 50 hit in 1984 and then died attempting to escape a small hut made entirely from cocaine).  They successfully fended off a challenge for a seat in 1803 by disallowing their rivals only vote.

Another by-election may have caused Wood some trouble.  According to an unreliable source, Wood attempted to elect his son to the second seat.  The only eligible voters were Wood, Wood's son, and their butler, Jennings.  I'll let Henry Sooks Smith set the scene:
The son was away and Jennings and his master quarrelled upon which Jennings refused to second the son and proposed himself. To get a seconder for the son, Sir Mark had to second Jennings, and it was ultimately arranged, and the vote of Sir Mark alone given. This was the only contest within memory.
I'm really disappointed that there was not a fourth voter (perhaps a foot-man or another wastrel son lying around) to see a full campaign pitting man against butler.  I'm assuming that Wood, the clever political operator, would have spent a small sum on pamphlets attacking Jennings's character, knowledge, and above all butling skills. 

Jennings says he polished the silver tea service before rushing 
off to fetch me some gout leeches.  But upon inspection, it only 
seemed like he put on one or one and a half coats.  Is this the
 man you want representing the five people in this household 
in the Parliament of the United Kingdom and also chasing 
away that dreadful vicar when he pops by?  Is this a man you 
want voting on the supply bill and also locating my hunting 
chaps?  Jennings.  Wrong for Britain.  Wrong for this house.  
I also think he has been in the sherry again.


Northwestern's out of conference success against BCS conference teams has earned some attention, and the Wildcats have pushed to the fringes of the AP Poll.  With another victory on Saturday, they will be in a strong position to begin Big Ten play against Indiana.  Beating South Dakota with limited moments of terror would be a feather in the cap for the program.  Northwestern fans know that victory is never assured.  As we have seen so far in the season, there are no rotten boroughs in college football and no victories that can be guaranteed by making a deal with a quarrelsome butler.  This young team is eager to show improvement against the pass and prove it can maintain a lead.  With the rest of the Big Ten unexpectedly reeling from tough out of conference losses, this could be a year to make some noise in the LEGENDS conference, especially if that noise is to change the conference title to something less embarrassing.

1 comment:

Kenesaw Moutain Landis said...

You're in rare form today, BYCTOM.