The New Era Of Northwestern Football

George SorensenContributor IMarch 28, 2009

In 1982, with a 61-14 loss to Michigan State, Northwestern set a new record for losing. 34 games in a row, that's how many times Northwestern faltered, creating a new NCAA division one record for the most consecutive losses.

Now, in 2009, the Wildcats from Evanston finished with a 9-4 (5-3 in the Big Ten) record, and an overtime Alamo bowl loss to the No.21 Missouri Tigers. 

Are these cats for real, or is the purple and white doomed to forever be the doormat o the Big Ten?

Northwestern has come leaps and bounds from it's "we're the worst!" days, as it's student section no longer chants this game after game.

In 1995, Gary Barnett was appointed with the head coach position at NU. With coach Barnet's new version of the spread offense, and stellar defense, Northwestern surprised many teams by upsetting 25-point favorite Notre Dame 17-15 in the season opener.

The Wildcats would finish the season 10-1 and suffer a Rose Bowl loss to a talented USC team. This was just the beginning of success as Northwestern would go on to earn a bid in the 1998 Citrus Bowl, only to lose 48-28 to No. 9 Tennessee.

By now, the "Cardiac Cats" were firing on all cylinders. Even with a coaching change in 1999, Northwestern never skipped a beat.

In 2000, the Cats would split the Big Ten title with a record of 8-4 (6-1 in the Big Ten), and played Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl.

In this time span, Northwestern picked up it's trademark style of football, that being offense, and picked up lots of it. In 2000 Northwestern's running back, Damien Anderson, broke the school record with 2,063 rushing yards in a season. Anderson also broke a school record with 138 points scored in a single season.

The NU offense brought many wins to the school over the early 2000's.
Under this same style of play used today by the Wildcats, Northwestern consistently finishes in the top 25, in total yards nationally, every year.

This program keeps growing no matter what, and it all started only 14 years ago.

With this year's recruiting class consisting of stars like of ESPN's #26 QB, Evan Watkins, Northwestern excpects to compete for a Big Ten title, just like they did in 2000. With the hiring of offensive coordinator Mike McCall, NU looks to keep putting pressure on their opponent's defenses with that spread attack.

Northwestern is here to stay, and will continue to perform at a high level because of great coaching, and a powerful offense.

Watch out in 2009, the Cats have come to play.