When Penn State joined the Big Ten as an 11th team, one of the suggestions for a new name that was published in the Milwaukee Journal was, “the Big Ten and Northwestern.” Students at the conference’s only private school averages roughly 740 of 800 on each section of the SAT and 33 of 36 on the ACT, but like Stanford (Pac 12), Vanderbilt (SEC) and Duke (ACC) have produced many more “All-Academic” players than “All-Conference” players over the years.
The Wall Street Journal noted last season that all four were playing very good football. However, even after going 9-3, skeptics reigned as the Wildcats went into a New Year’s Bowl game against a Mississippi State team from the SEC that had won five straight bowl games including a 52-14 win over the Big Ten’s Michigan just two years earlier. However, Northwestern broke through with their only bowl win ever except for a 1949 win over Cal in the Rose Bowl, handling Mississippi State relatively easily, 34-20.
After defending Legends champion Nebraska gave up 70 points in the Big Ten championship and Michigan lost half of its starters, the 10-3 Northwestern Wildcats look like a potential favorite as teams go through their Spring Games.
For the AP story on just how close Northwestern came to going 13-0, click on the AP story here.