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Posts Tagged ‘Kyle Prater’

No. 59: Northwestern

Unlike a certain quarterback’s Achilles tendon, Northwestern is firmly attached to its current location: six or seven wins in the regular season, followed by a loss during bowl play. This is Northwestern football as run by Pat Fitzgerald, the legendary middle linebacker who has lifted N.U. into a position where a postseason run isn’t merely a nice surprise but a designated expectation. Unfortunately, those who have seemingly forgotten the Wildcats’ dire past — you wouldn’t think it was possible — are no longer satisfied with six or seven wins; to this slice of the fan base, six or seven wins should have already been used as a springboard to Rose Bowl contention. I can think of three things wrong with that point of view: Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska — and that’s just in the Legends division. It pays to be pragmatic, especially when your pragmatism involves Northwestern football.

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    No. 111: Rice

    Since the start of the 2003 season, Rice has allowed, on average, 36.7 points per game. So it’s not too surprising to find that the Owls are 39-69 over the last nine years; what’s surprising is that Rice has made two bowl trips over the last nine years. Rice has allowed at least 40 points in a game 44 times since 2003: eight times in 2007, when the defense allowed 515 points, and another seven times in 2009, when the defense allowed 517 points. The Owls have scored 40 or more points in 24 of their 39 wins since 2003, including seven such victories in 2008, when the program scored more points than it allowed for the only time since 1997. The goal of football is to score more points than your opponent over the span of 60 minutes; for Rice, that quest is waylaid every fall by a defense that is reaching a historical level of ineptitude.

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      The 2011 Spring Alphabet

      I had grand plans of giving a series of storylines for each F.B.S. program heading into the spring, but after doing so for the A.C.C. I came to a few conclusions; one, no one was reading them; two, it didn’t make much sense, as by the time I got to the end — the Sun Belt — those teams would have closed their doors on the spring; three, doing 40 days of spring coverage prior to picking up the Countdown in early May was nonsensical; and four, the breakdowns called for more work than I was really prepared to do at this time of the year. So instead of going piece-by-piece throughout the country, I’ll just pick and choose as the days go by. For now, however, let’s break down the upcoming — at some stops in progress — spring practices as a child would: letter by letter.

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        The Countdown

        A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.