Kain Colter went down in a dazed heap several minutes into the game. Venric Mark spent a lot of time surveying the field from an exercise bike. Jared Goff emerged from his football pupa and sprouted wings to the tune of a record passing day. And somehow, the Wildcats prevailed in Berkeley for their first win the season, Pat Fitzgerald's eighth consecutive opening victory, and further movement down the college football rankings.
Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian dodged Cal defenders and airplane
attacks as he stepped in for an injured Kain Colter to lead a new Northwestern
option offense where the only option is passing all over the place
Fans spent all day waiting for the game, which started on the other side of the International Date Line and had managed to wrap up the first quarter by Labor Day. Fortunately, the time slot garnered the game a lot of attention for late-night East Coast revelers who wanted something on in the background to drown out the sounds of vomiting.
The Northwestern defense looked at times on their heels against the Bear Raid, but were led by linebacker Collin Ellis. Ellis plucked two passes out of the air and scampered into the endzone, debuting a scoring method known in the NFL as the Chicago Bear Raid.
Unfortunately, the victory was marred by accusations of gamesmanship, chicanery, and cheatfulness. Sonny Dykes, who nearly broke the Heston Scale of Incredulity, accused Fitzgerald and the coaching staff of instructing the 'Cats to feign injury in order to gain precious seconds of rest and slow the fast-paced Cal offense.
An angry Sonny Dykes demands a giant globe to place on his
shoulders so he can demonstrate that, like Atlas, he has to carry
the burden of alleged timeclock tampering by the Northwestern
SO YOUR FOOTBALL TEAM HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF MALFEASANCE
A few points about the fake injury allegations that we are not going to shy away from as we Embrace Debate:
1. Cal fans are angry, upset, and offended by what they see as a clear case of false injuries. RING THE CHURCH BELLS, LIGHT OFF FIREWORKS, CALL YOUR GRANDMOTHERS! You know you have arrived as a football program when opposing fans are accusing your team of cheating, when opposing coaches allegedly claim that your coach has made a mockery of the sport, and when people on the internet call the team gutless, disgraceful, and other words that professional wrestlers use to disparage other professional wrestlers. Sonny Dykes is sitting in a dark room right now that he has painted purple, hoisting a goblet full of grape soda, and plotting elaborate revenge fantasies against Northwestern. Northwestern! Tim Beckman just sent him a Northwestern-hating starter kit from his warehouse full of Northwestern-hating starter kits that have been collecting dust in an unidentified Champaign-area grain silo.
2. If the allegations are true, we may be witnessing a transition to Evil Pat Fitzgerald. That would mean that he lets his hair grow unkempt by moving up a notch on the crew cut safety guard, and instead of butt bumps and fist pumps, he spends the duration of the game cackling at the opposition like a villain from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out. Soon, Fitz will replace the team with His Young Men, who shockingly take it two or even three games at a time. He will refuse to talk to beat reporters unless they refer to him as Fist Pumpgerald. He will change the team motto to "Whatever is Nefarious."
Evil Fitz performs villainy outside Ross-Ade Stadium
Unfortunately for Northwestern fans, there is only one way a program led by Evil Pat Fitzgerald program will develop: he inevitably threatens the Prime Minister of New Zealand, absconds with her on his hydrofoil yacht, and provokes a war between the United States and the British Commonwealth of Nations that ends when America is invaded and grateful citizens celebrate their long-awaited return to the bosom of empire. With the exception of an Evil Pat Fitzgerald, those are all things that happened in former New Zealand Prime Minister Julius Vogel's 1889 novel Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman's Destiny which presciently predicted several technologies on the horizon but failed to anticipate that Victorian mustache twirling would no longer be in vogue at the dawn of the twenty-first century
3. Dykes's post-game handshake/admonishment with Fitzgerald was greatly disappointing. Instead of glaring at him, Dykes should have registered his disgust by hitting the turf, clutching his hamstrings, and then rolling around on the ground, much like how Australian comedians protested World Cup diving at the Italian Consulate.
4. No one wants to see injury-faking, diving, flopping, or what FIFA refers to as "simulation" become a major part of college football. Soccer fans have been complaining about it for years; the NBA has attempted to identify, fine, and publicly shame floppers. But while I wish players would conform to the letter of the law in all sports, I can't deny that I secretly enjoy flopping in the NBA because instead of pretending they are merely injured, players react like they are Western stuntmen perched precariously on a balcony.
The Assassination of Chris Bosh by the Coward Carlos Boozer
5. Earlier today, ex-Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher revealed that the Bears had a fake injury program where a designated player would go down when a member of the coaching staff pantomimed Olympic diving motions. No former offensive player has yet come out of the woodwork to report the signal used to let a defensive player charge unmolested into Jay Cutler's solar plexus.
6. I hope that further Wildcat triumphs are free from controversy unless it is comfortably in the realm of ridiculous, such as by successfully convincing an opposing coach that the forward pass has been outlawed by having students haunt his room dressed as a Christmas Carole version of Walter Camp.
Last year, Northwestern traveled to the Syracuse and required a gutsy drive from on-demand folk hero Trevor Siemian to pull out a win. Things have changed. The Orange are without head coach Doug Marrone, quarterback Ryan Nassib, and the musty, fetid Carrier Dome which is defended by a moat made of sweat. The schools have played enough to cultivate a decent non-conference rivalry beyond ESPN personalities that want us to care where they went to journalism school. Syracuse lost to Penn State in the opener, and playing two Big Ten teams in the preseason has made them an Official Unofficial Associate Honorary Big Ten Member as the Big Ten Network prepares its retrospective on Big Ten Legend Jim Brown.
Syracuse should test the Northwestern run defense as they return backs Jerome Smith and Pierre-Tyson Gulley. Kain Colter plans to play, but his status is uncertain. Venric Mark remains day-to-day with unspecified injuries. Syracuse fans will nonetheless be unexcited to see Siemian. Some claim that he embellished a late hit that helped keep the final drive alive. It is also entirely possible that Marrone, who remains in the upstate New York area, will be secretly coaching the game from a windowless Buffalo Bills facility and unknown mustachioed walk-on quarterback "Bryan Bassin" will unexpectedly show up in the second half to fling passes at the depleted Wildcat secondary.
THE VIEW FROM THE TOP TWENTY
With all of the hoopla surrounding the Northwestern-Cal game, I should only hope that no one can accuse the 'Cats of trickery in a win against Syracuse. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and hope that no one in the upcoming contest gets hurt, injured, or shaken up. The Northwestern Wildcats should win the old fashioned way: with the sudden realization that the opposing quarterback this whole time has been a cleverly-disguised Kain Colter only at the precise moment when he lofts a pass into the arms of Ibraheim Campbell, removes his wig, and disappears into the cheering purple throng at Ryan Field.