Biggest Game:Â October 23 Michigan State
Predicted record:Â 9-3 (5-3)
Projected Big Ten standing:Â 5th Â Â Â Â Â
Returning Starters:Â 13 OFFENSE:Â 7 DEFENSE:Â Â 6 Lettermen return:Â 55 Â Â
Head Coach:Â Pat Fitzgerald 5th Season at Northwestern Last Season:Â 8-5Â SN Predicted 7-5 Lifetime:Â 27-23Â
Top assistant:Â OC Mick McCall
I have stated and stand by that statement that Kirk Ferentz is the most under-appreciated coach in the nation.Â Fitz is a close and I mean very close second.Â Fitzgerald took over for my great friend Randy Walker, and I know from personal conversations with Walker how much he loved Fitz.
Fitz had another amazing recruiting class and he can coach his players.Â Fitz teams are exactly like he was, no flash, but all substance.Â I recently was told about a great talk he had with a player that Northwestern desperately wants in recruiting.Â Fitzgerald told the young man, â€œWe donâ€™t give a crap what your star rating is.Â I was a no star and made the college football Hall of Fame.â€
I love the way Fitz coaches and the way he conducts himself.Â He truly loves NW and is the best young coach in the nation.Â He was thrust into a head-coaching job earlier than he was ready for, but has been nothing less than amazing.Â Notre Dame wanted him badly this off-season, and he wouldnâ€™t even talk to them.Â He has high moral character and integrity and will be a force wherever he coaches.
I think that his Wildcats will beat MSU, but an MSU win wouldnâ€™t shock me and that would propel the Spartans to 9-3 and into 4th place in the Big Ten.Â This should be a great year for the Cats, and 2011 should be even better.
September 4 @Vanderbilt WIN
September 11 Illinois State WIN
September 18 @Rice WIN
September 25 CMU WIN
October 2 @Minnesota WIN
October 9 Purdue WIN
October 23 Michigan State WIN
October 30 @Indiana WIN
November 6 @Penn State LOSS
November 13 Iowa LOSS
November 20 Illinois (Wrigley) WIN
November 27 @Wisconsin LOSSÂ