The Wildcats will certainly have a better chance this season. It is conceivable that had Dan Persa been on the field, not the sideline, during the Ticketcity Bowl, there would have been a different outcome. Persa was not positive about the experience of watching games.
"It's tough because I didn't like it too much. I didn't really learn anything," Persa said.
With his increased efforts to keep his body healthy this season, Northwestern will likely have Persa available for a potential 2011/2012-bowl game.
"I think anytime you're in a bowl game, you want to win. Especially in our case, we've been to a bunch but we haven't won any in a long time," Persa said. "Unfortunately, I couldn't help anything with that last year, but I think when we get there we'll address that."
Persa leads a group of seniors with the potential to reach unprecedented heights this year. Not only have the seniors been to 3 consecutive bowl games, but also NU has been bowl eligible each of the last 4 seasons.
Including fifth-year seniors, this group could leave NU having been eligible each season they hit the field. According to senior offensive lineman Al Netter, however, bowl eligibility and bowl game appearances are no longer enough.
"Especially being a senior, Dan [Persa], Jordan [Mabin], and I have talked, and all the other seniors as well. It's our ultimate goal to win a bowl game this year," Netter said. "It's been way too long, and I think in order for us to solidify ourselves as one of the best classes to ever go through here, we need to get that done. It's been way too long."
Once NU get's the bowl monkey off it's back, the sky is the limit. According to head coach Pat Fitzgerald, there is no goal too high to set for NU – even a national championship.
"Do I believe that we can win a National Championship at Northwestern? Absolutely," Fitzgerald said. "Especially now, where this conference is—the parity that goes across the league, you have the two divisions and a championship game. It's going to be played out on the field. You win this conference; you're playing for the National Championship. I don't see how you can't be, I really don't. We just have to play better, and blah, blah, blah, but this is a good a time for anybody in this league."