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Will Chicago’s Big Ten team lose to Chicago’s MAC team?

LAF Purdue NIU

Only about a 30-minute drive from the Windy City, Northwestern portrays itself to be Chicago’s Big Ten team. If that is the case, then perhaps Northern Illinois should start making a claim to be Chicago’s MAC team. This weekend  the two schools will meet each other on the field for just the eighth time in the series history. Northern Illinois could be ready to score its first victory in the series.

Northwestern is coming off a home loss to California, in which all of the weaknesses the Wildcats have this season were completely exposed. The lack of depth and inconsistent quarterback play doomed Pat Fitzgerald‘s team. Northwestern put up a fight late in the game, but only after digging a 31-7 hole at home against a team that failed to reach the postseason last year. The offense managed just 354 yards against a team that finished next to last in all of FBS football (123rd) in total defense in 2013. Northwestern can either take its lumps and improve from this, or show that what was seen in week one is a true testament to what Northwestern football may be in 2014.

NIU may have opened against a cupcake in week one (thumping Presbyterian 55-3), but the Huskies showed signs of being able to move on in the post-Jordan Lynch era with the same basic formula and identity. The Huskies wasted no time in establishing dominance over an inferior opponent, jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and owning a 34-0 lead at the half. Northern Illinois churned out 424 rushing yards as a team, and will look to wear down Northwestern on the ground as well.

Northwestern leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1975, with a record of 6-0-1. The lone tie came in 1987. The two schools have faced each other just twice since 1991 (2000, 2005). With the Big Ten trying to get its members to shy away from scheduling games against programs from the MAC, games between the two schools may be few and far between for years. That may be why winning this game would be critical for a program like Northern Illinois. There are no future game son the schedule between these two schools, although Northwestern does have future dates against FCS schools Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois and Illinois State.

Many seem to have fallen on the Northwestern bandwagon in recent years. After this weekend, they may be found jumping off the bandwagon as it bursts into flames and goes crashing off the highway.

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9 Responses to “Will Chicago’s Big Ten team lose to Chicago’s MAC team?”
  1. drummerhoff says: Sep 1, 2014 12:09 PM

    Evanston borders Chicago and the city newspaper, the Tribune, covers the B1G, ND, Illinois & Northwestern … Pretty much in that order.

  2. bostonfrogs says: Sep 1, 2014 12:27 PM

    Ha ha–gotta love the “Chicago’s Big Ten team” marketing gimmick. Northwestern is about as much “Chicago’s team” as the Boston Red Sox.

  3. thermanmerman99 says: Sep 1, 2014 12:32 PM

    Dekalb, illinois is Chicago now? Dekalb is 65 miles away. Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana is 70 miles away and gets way more coverage in Chicago. I guess ND can be considered “Chicago” too since they are as close to Chicago as Dekalb.

  4. chicagocane says: Sep 1, 2014 2:10 PM

    Northwestern is important to one group and one group only- Northwestern alumni.

    Just let them exist in their insulated little Northwestern world and stop trying to make anybody else care.

  5. huskerzfan says: Sep 1, 2014 2:18 PM

    Surely we’ll get another crap article about East Carolina taking on one of the SEC’s best in an in-state bragging rights game and coming off a tough loss, right?

    How about aTm taking on Lamar, and Rice, and SMU?

    Tennessee plays Chattanooga later this season. Expecting a monster preview of that one.

  6. dmcgrann says: Sep 1, 2014 2:39 PM

    Dekalb is considered to be part of the Chicago MSA (“Chicagoland”) and CSA. South Bend is not in either.

  7. niubears says: Sep 2, 2014 11:45 AM

    I prefer the title of Illinois’ best college football team.

    Finally time to prove it on Saturday. 2005 game vs. NU was a heartbreaker (failed 2-pt conversion). The close game against U of I in the Harnish era was even worse.

    As an NIU fan, it’s easy to say we’re the better team. But we’ve yet to prove it. If NIU wants to continue demanding respect, this is a must win game.

  8. manik56 says: Sep 2, 2014 2:38 PM

    This union deal made Northwestern so unlikable. I cannot pull for them anymore, and I have a sibling that went there.

  9. kansacity88 says: Sep 2, 2014 11:35 PM

    NIU has been Illinois’ best college football team for sometime now. I have no doubt that they can dispatch of NU Saturday! Go Huskies!

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