What would winning a bowl game mean for Northwestern?
It has some implications aside from recruiting. Maybe one that most might not think of.
It may help push along a plan to rennovate and upgrade NU's football facilities. Athletic director Jim Phillips spent several weeks last spring and summer travelling to campuses nationwide to get an idea of what top-notch programs have in terms of football ammenities. Phillips presented the recommendations to the Board of Trustees in November, but there hasn't been any action.
Part of Pat Fitzgerald's contract extension includes a stipulation that there will be a football facilities upgrade. Many of those facilities are on landlocked property around Ashland and Central Streets in Evanston that sometimes make you forget you're on a Big Ten campus.
"We're not running from our past," Fitzgerald said. "For the seniors, this has been on the goal board since they got here. It's not that we haven't been in the [bowl] games, but we just have to finish them."
* Reliant Stadium has a retractable roof and Phillips thinks it might be open for the Meineke Car Care bowl Saturday in Houston. Officially, though, it will be a game-day decision.
* Ticket sales were strong for this bowl game, maybe a bit stronger compared to the TicketCity Bowl last season in Dallas. Phillips said they sold "close to 9,000" tickets.
That may be a good number for NU, but Phillips said he has talked to athletic directors at other schools who have noticed a drop in ticket sales for bowl games.
"Even schools who are going to BCS games are really having a hard time," Phillips said.