A couple of weeks back I mentioned the scariest part of this game was heading into Northwestern during a “sleepy” 11AM start time in Evanston. I have been to multiple games at Northwestern in my life, and it clearly is a hard place for opponents to play. It is always windy, dreary, and not what you would call an “electric” environment. Teams tend to sleepwalk through the first couple of quarters, as we have seen with both the Michigan Wolverines and the Wisconsin Badgers. The thought of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish heading into an afternoon November game in Evanston was less than ideal. However, the Prime Time start definitely amps this up and calms my nerves significantly.
If both teams are up for this game, the Irish absolutely have the advantage. A game under the lights immediately makes this an intense environment, and I am sure the “wildcat roar”** will be pumped up a few decibels. As we have seen this year, Notre Dame has shown up for Prime Time games as opposed to afternoon games. The Irish have outscored our opponents 151-79 in these contests (Michigan, Stanford, VT, and Navy). Kelly’s players have shown this is a team that LOVES the big-time environment, even if they tend to sleep a bit through the down games. Northwestern has not been in these types of games so far, and I am interested to see how this impacts their rhythm. Also, the game being in Chicago makes this more of a neutral site game despite the location.
This will undoubtedly be one of the biggest games ever hosted by the Northwestern Wildcats, but the question is.....Who will benefit more?
Who will benefit more from the environment?
This poll is closed
Vote and Embrace Debate Below!
**Bonus Sounds of the “Roar”
Late Addition “Arnie’s Corner”
As many readers are aware, one of my main article consultants is my Dad, a former NCAA finalist for Notre Dame in Track and Field. He wanted to add in the following: “You should point out that Northwestern has nothing to lose in this game. It has no bearing on their Western Division Title hopes. The Irish, on the other hand, have their season on the line in each remaining game.”
Great point to throw in here. People who are worried about Notre Dame getting up for the remaining games should calm down. Even if other teams can “spoil” this run, their desire to spoil will not be as intense as Notre Dame’s desire to win. This isn’t to say the Irish can’t lose, but if they lose, they will get beaten, not sleepwalk through a contest.