Pat Fitzgerald has had quite a season so far. He has a team that started off the season with their top running back on the bench with a knee injury. They were forced to start the season running a two-quarterback system once again because both men deserved to be on the field. He was hoping for a shot at a Big 10 title.
Fitzgerald has now seen his two-quarterback system morph into a very efficient offense and one that sees Kain Colter playing not just quarterback but also running back and wide receiver for the Northwestern Wildcats. Venric Mark came back and looked to be returning to form as a premier rusher for the Wildcats but his return proved to be a bit premature. Throughout all of this Fitzgerald has had to hear rumors about his name as a potential head coach at some of the premier college football programs around the country, two may be open after this season.
Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, the Wildcats are sitting at 0-2 in conference play after taking on two of the top contenders in the Big 10 in their first two games. The Wildcats gave the Ohio State Buckeyes everything they had to come up just short. Against the Wisconsin Badgers, regrettably, the Wildcats were overwhelmed by the rushing attack of the Badgers.
All of this drama aside, the Wildcats are still serious contenders to win the Big 10 this season. The Leaders division was expected to come down to two teams at the beginning of the season and unfortunately those two teams met at the beginning of the season. The Buckeyes came out victorious over the Badgers. This means that should both teams win out the Buckeyes will play in the Big 10 Championship game. If each team has one loss the Buckeyes will still participate in the championship game. The only chance for the Badgers to play for the Big 10 title once again is if the Buckeyes were to drop two games to any combination of Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
The Legends division, which the Wildcats play in, has three serious contenders this season. The Wildcats, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Michigan State Spartans. It is completely conceivable that the Wildcats could win out this season and see themselves playing Ohio State once again for a Big 10 Title. If Northwestern goes into Lincoln and takes down the Huskers on November 2 and can defeat the Spartans at home on November 23, they will have done all they can to control their own fate. They will then have to hope that the Huskers drop a game possibly at Michigan and the Spartans possibly loss a game to either the Huskers or their in-state rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.
There are some things that the Wildcats cannot control but there is one thing that they definitely must do and that is not have another repeat performance of their game against Wisconsin. The Wildcats need to win the rest of the games on their schedule and not let up at all for the remainder of their season to earn an opportunity for the rematch against the Buckeyes. If this happens the Wildcats really do have a team that possess a lot of problems for the Buckeyes and would make it a very interesting championship game.