A Public Service Announcement to Wildcats Everywhere
Once upon a time there was a student who couldn’t name a single player on her university’s football team. Once upon a time there was a high school recruit sitting at the kitchen table with his parents, comparing the merits of Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Once upon a time there was a fanbase that expected only academic excellence. Once upon a time there was a team that lost 34 straight games.
This, of course, is the beginning of every story you’ve ever heard about the Northwestern Wildcats, the team born to get either utterly crushed by superior competition or blow it all in the last 10 seconds. Our history, if you want to call it that, covers mostly failure and futility. Our fans have the lowest expectations.
But the last time I checked, this irrelevant team was good and getting better. They were ranked, they were recruiting, and they were getting noticed. They were building a program and becoming a destination.
And so this plot twist has now brought us to a defining moment in Northwestern football’s history. The Cats play No. 4 Ohio State this Saturday, under the lights, with GameDay in town, and in front of the nation. The stakes couldn’t be much higher.
A win this weekend means a huge boost in fan support, name recognition, and recruiting potential. It could be the moment that puts Northwestern over the hump from flash in the pan to sustained athletic success, to say nothing of the likely top-10 ranking and path to the Big Ten Championship that a win would bring. In short, it could arguably be the most important game in this school’s history.
But the Wildcats have a nearly impossible mountain to climb. Ohio State, on paper, might outclass them in every way. They have speed, size, talent, athleticism, money, history and a massive supporting fanbase. They’ll probably be favored to win by at least 10.
Now let me ask you a question: who the fuck wants to see these frontrunning douchebags win this game? Who goes to see the movie where the rich, powerful villain wins the day, all according to plan? No one. Because fuck that.
So where am I going with this?
In college football, fans can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of a game, possibly more so than in any other sport. The proximity to the field, the intimacy between the student body and the team, and the school band all combine to create an atmosphere that can make an underdog feel invincible. And this Saturday, our boys need all the help they can get.
So this is what I need you, the readers, to do: I need you to wear purple and go to the game. And then I need you to spend 60 minutes of game time screaming until your lungs puncture. I want Braxton Miller to burn two timeouts because his line can’t hear the calls. I want the Buckeyes to expect a stadium packed with scarlet and instead get a raging sea of purple and white. I want the underdogs to feel a whole student body supporting them.
Because we, the fans, are a part of this moment. We all bleed purple, whether we like sports or not. We’re a part of something bigger than ourselves, and we have an opportunity to show the Buckeyes, the Big Ten, and the entire country just what the fuck we’re made of. We can help rewrite the storyline of an entire program.
This is Reggie Miller vs. the City of New York. It’s the 8-8 Giants vs. the 16-0 Patriots. It’s the 1980 U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. It’s David vs. Goliath.
It’s Winning Time.