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HATER’S GUIDE: NORTHWESTERN

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Traveling to watch IU is the only acceptable reason to voluntarily spend time in Evanston

Illinois State v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Indiana travels to Evanston to face Northwestern this week. It’s been four years since the Hoosiers and Wildcats battled on the gridiron, but I’m not here to talk about the game. As the closest thing this blog has to a Real Chicago Guy, it’s my duty to provide you with another edition of the Hater’s Guide.

“CHICAGO’S BIG TEN TEAM”

If you live in the Chicagoland area, it’s hard to avoid seeing this slogan. When it was unveiled in 2010, officials said it was partially to make sure the Wildcats didn’t get lost in the shuffle of the Chicago professional sports teams. In other words, it’s the “Please like my team” of slogans.

Any way you slice it, calling Northwestern “Chicago’s Team” is laughable. Evanston could not be more different from Chicago. Northwestern is basically that Lisle guy on your floor in McNutt who claims to be from Chicago. And it’s not like Northwestern has a lot of fans in Chicago (or anywhere). All the other Big Ten teams that have been in the conference since 1950 have more fans in the Chicagoland area. Hell, even the three teams that have been added since then aren’t far behind.

THE FOOTBALL TEAM

Lost to Illinois State. Illinois State is 2-4 against FCS teams.

Get ready for an exciting, high-flying attack of Justin Jackson rushing 30+ times and Clayton Thorson attempting to master the forward pass. The Wildcats routinely play their home games in front of a crowd featuring predominantly opposing fans, which is never something Indiana has experienced no sir.

THE FANBASE

Virtually nonexistent; no one is born a Northwestern fan. It’s something you feel obligated to become after going there or from being related to someone who did; enough exposure makes you sympathetic to the cause—not unlike Stockholm Syndrome. Only two of my friends are Northwestern fans—one who grew up with Tim McGarigle as a babysitter, and one whose uncle works in the athletic department. I asked one of them to honestly assess Northwestern football: “They’re never going to compete with the Big 10 unless the whole conference is Rutgers and Purdue”. A little wordy, but a much better slogan than “Chicago’s Big Ten Team”.

Northwestern fans are guilty of living in the past just as much as Bears fans, perhaps the one thing Northwestern has in common with Chicago sports. The Rose Bowl appearance after the 1995 season is always highlighted as the pinnacle for Northwestern football, which is appropriate because that game ended in a loss.

BUT THERE ARE AT LEAST SOME FUN THINGS TO DO IN EVANSTON, RIGHT?

Ehhhhhhhhhhhh no. Evanston combines the pretentiousness of the North Shore with an unwillingness to admit that Prohibition is over. Fun! Pretty much all the “bars” in Evanston are just restaurants that happen to have a bar in them. Here is an exhaustive list of entertainment options in Evanston:

8. Look at a lighthouse

7. Go to something called a “Rock Shop”

6. Throw those rocks at New Trier kids

5. Chili’s

4. Buffalo Wild Wings

3. Go to the one real bar

2. Light yourself on fire

1. Leave and go to Chicago

FAMOUS NORTHWESTERN ALUM

As we said earlier this year, Northwestern wins help Darren Rovell feel the human emotion of joy. That simply can’t happen.

JOURNALISM SCHOOL

Actually, are we sure Northwestern has one? I’ve never heard anyone talk about it.