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The Anti-Preview: #4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS Northwestern Wildcats

Evanston is basically Chicago — right?

NCAA Football: Navy vs Notre Dame Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to November! The Notre Dame Fighting Irish debuted at #4 in the initial college football playoff rankings, and it’s a familiar spot. The Irish had a #3 ranking last year to start the madness, but a failed (to put it kindly) trip to Miami quickly put an end to all of that noise.

Anti-Preview The wonderful @phillykelly

Although the Northwestern Wildcats aren’t in the Top 25 CFP Rankings, they do sit atop the Big Ten West division, and control their own destiny in something called a “conference.” While this is a huge game for the Wildcats on their home field in Evanston, many on their side of things will claim that this “conference” race is far more important than any game against the #4 ranked team in the country.

The Irish will be looking for a win and to make an impression as they could (technically) move up a spot or two after this week. But before all of that, we have to take care of business.

Your Anti-Preview:


I don’t normally tell people what beer they should drink because that’s as personal as telling someone what deodorant to wear. This week, however, I make a special exception because CHICAGO!

Golden Leaf Lager

You probably know it better as Chicago’s Beer... Old Style.

Back in the 1890s Old Style was called Golden Leaf Lager, and I can’t think of a more appropriate drink when it comes to Notre Dame. Chicago is a Notre Dame town, so please... enjoy Chicago’s Beer and feel that refreshing pride.


Chicago is well-known for its culinary offerings. While many Notre Dame fans would probably urge you to eat a steak like at one of their favorite steakhouses (reserved of course), I tend to lean more in the “fair-food” of the Windy City.

Take your pick

You heard me right. Choose:

  • Chicago deep-dish pizza
  • Italian beef
  • Chicago hot dog
  • Chicken Vesuvio
  • Cracker Jacks & Twinkies

I chose the Italian Beef, but there is no wrong answer here — this isn’t a quest for the Holy Grail.


While the Old Style and the Italian Beef feel very blue-collar, we can’t forget the nature of Notre Dame vs Northwestern... it’s a bit nerdy, but in a good way. I just can’t shake a ceryain image out of my head. Clothes that would do well with blood, and yet remain sophisticated enough to represent these fine institutions.


Yes, yes... let’s go on a hunt in the morning and watch an American football game in the evening. Jolly good.


Dropping the “key points” so I can ramble on about a broader range of things.

  • Notre Dame is battling some injuries this week. Alize Mack is out against Northwestern due to a concussion. Drue Tranquill is “kind of practicing” after suffering an ankle injury against Navy.
  • Northwestern kicker Drew Luckenbaugh will miss the game due to injurt that has nothing to do with his Bar App that he is developing.
  • How much will Notre Dame even miss Tranquill if he doesn’t play? The Irish will most likely be in Nickel for a large portion of the game, and although Drue would be out there, I think Asmar Bilal can slide over to the BUCK and perform well enough.
  • NICKEL PLAY IS KEY. Yeah there’s that key point. Notre Dame still hasn’t really figured out exactly what they want to do with the NICKEL.
  • I’m just excited to see round 2 of Jafar Armstrong and Dexter Williams. The offense is good, and could still get much better because of some new things that they can do... in November (pause for fist pump).


Ryan Field is probably going to be a cow pasture before, during, and after the game. It’s a terrible surface and will be tricky enough to cause a few issues. Both teams have to play on it, so it is what it is. Ian Book will remain efficient and spread the ball around to his long list of playmakers, while Dexter and Jafar pump up the classic jam “Hey Mr. DeeJay” all night — all night. More importantly, the Northwestern offense is just too one-dimensional, and between that fierce Irish pass rush, and a stellar secondary; the Wildcats won’t find many points. Here comes 9-0: IRISH 34, Wildcats 16

“Forward to the playoffs and FREEDOM!”
Twitter @ND_Phil