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F this team: Northwestern

It’s sad to come to the end of this series (assuming Illinois will not have a bowl game opponent to hate on, because I’m more realistic than optimistic), but at least we get to hate on Northwestern for the final installment.

In previous “F this team” articles I’ve taken issue with the entire state each school is located in. But Northwestern is in Illinois, and Illinois is the best goddamned state in the union (provided we’re ignoring corrupt politicians, extreme shortfalls in our public employee pension fund, or a school system ranked 30th overall by ALEC). However, NU likes to claim that it is “Chicago’s Big Ten Team,” and Chicago is nothing like the rest of the state of Illinois, so let’s torch that fucker.

Anyone who has ever driven around Chicago knows exactly how miserable of a town it is. Not only is the commute time horrendous, but the lengthy stops force you to look at the blights all over the town, such as foreclosed homes (1 in 229 houses in Chicago are foreclosures), outrageous gas prices (50 cents more than the national average thanks to municipal taxes), or remnants of gun violence (there were more than 500 homicides in Chicago in 2013, and that was the fewest since 1965). Yet, for all this, Chicagoans still think they’re God’s gift to Illinois and the world at large. It’s not the stiff breeze that led to the Windy City sobriquet, it was applied because its citizens brazen self-promotion — and it’s stuck since 1858. But Northwestern isn’t even in Chicago. Rather, the NUrds hang out in Evanston and just claim to be from Chicago because no one gives a shit about Evanston.

Northwestern thinks it’s hot shit. If you don’t believe me ask anyone who’s attended. In fact, you probably don’t have to ask them, they’ll tell you. They’re so proud of the fact that they went to Northwestern because Northwestern is known for being a good school. But why is it known for that? Maybe because its produced several well-known journalists, like David Barstow, Christine Brennan, and Michael Wilbon. It’s my theory that these media elites are propping up NU with their blatant support of the school. It’s not actually that great of a school, it’s just more visible because of these jerks. Get over it already, Wilbon, any asshole can work at ESPN.

If NU were really full of smart people, would its players have been caught gambling, in two different sports? But really, though, that’s the highlight of the Northwestern athletics program in recent years (unless you count the women’s lacrosse team winning six national titles, and you know I don’t).

In basketball, Northwestern plays in a modified high school gym and has never (ever!) earned a berth in the NCAA Tourney. There’s a sad line in the history of the football team that says “they achieved an all-time high rank of #1 during the 1936 and 1962 seasons, which has thus far not been duplicated,” which tells you what you need to know about the NUrds on the football field and in any athletic endeavor because there is really nothing else (mean or nice) to say about them.

This year, NU has looked a lot like Illinois (that’s not a compliment!, compiling a 5-6 record while looking great one week and terrible the next. These guys lost to the worst Michigan football team in God knows how long and then went out and beat Notre Dame. This is all really a testament to Pat Fitzgerald and his shitty reign as head coach of Northwestern. In his 9 years he’s eked out a record slightly above .500, but has watched his team go from bad (4-8 in 2006) to pretty good (10-3 in 2012) to miserable (5-7 and 1-7 in conference play in 2012).

You can’t blame Fitzgerald, though, because he’s stuck at a university that is garbage. They don’t even know which city they’re from.

Illinois and Northwestern kick off in Evanston (not Chicago) at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNU. Barring some kind of miracle this will be the last “F this team” of the year, thanks for reading!

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