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The season's over, but it was still an eventful day for Northwestern football. The Wildcats revealed their 2010 schedule, TV ratings for the Outback Bowl were released -- records were broken -- and Mike Kafka and Sherrick McManis were picked to play in the East-West Shrine Game. Details from NU Sports...

Northwestern's 2010 schedule...

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern has finalized its 2010 football schedule after adding Mid-American Conference champion Central Michigan to its upcoming home fall slate. The Chippewas, who have won the MAC crown three of the last four years, will visit Ryan Field on Saturday, Sept. 25 to close out the Wildcats' nonconference portion of the season.

The Wildcats also play FCS foe Illinois State on Sept. 11, NU's home opener. Northwestern visits SEC foe Vanderbilt on Sept. 4 to open the season and Rice on Sept. 18. Northwestern will play the same eight Big Ten teams that it played in 2009, beginning with Minnesota on Oct. 2 in Minneapolis. The Wildcats also play league road games at Indiana (Oct. 30), Penn State (Nov. 6) and Wisconsin (Nov. 27).

Northwestern's four Big Ten home contests include Purdue (Oct. 9), Michigan State (Oct. 23, homecoming), Iowa (Nov. 13) and Illinois (Nov. 20).

Six of next seasons's 11 FBS opponents played in bowl games this year. Northwestern will announce season ticket plans in the coming weeks.

2010 NORTHWESTERN FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

September
4 -- at Vanderbilt
11 -- vs. Illinois State
18 -- at Rice
25 -- vs. Central Michigan
October
2 -- at Minnesota
9 -- vs. Purdue 16 -- Open
23 -- vs. Michigan State (HC)
30 -- at Indiana
November
6 -- at Penn State
13 -- vs. Iowa
20 -- vs. Illinois
27 -- at Wisconsin

Outback breaks ESPN TV viewer mark

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's dramatic, down-to-the-wire Outback Bowl finish drew a record number of television viewers in Chicago on New Year's Day, continuing the Wildcats' presence as a strong television draw in the 2009 season.

ESPN recorded a 7.1 rating in the Chicago designated market area (DMA) for the Outback Bowl, the network's highest Chicago rating for a bowl game. The previous DMA record was Northwestern's appearance in the 2000 Alamo Bowl, which attracted a 5.2 rating.

Nationally, the 2010 Outback Bowl attracted a 4.06 rating, a strong number for a 10 a.m. CT kickoff. The national rating is a 32% increase over the 2009 Outback Bowl between Iowa and South Carolina, and the bowl's highest rating in four years.

The Wildcats' exciting fourth quarter rally from a 14 point deficit attracted additional viewers to the broadcast, which held a 5.8 rating at the end of regulation and a 6.3 rating in overtime. An average of nearly 250,000 Chicago-area households tuned in to the telecast.

Northwestern football attracted record television numbers on several occasions during the 2009 campaign. The Wildcats' come-from-behind victory at Purdue on Oct. 3 was part of the most-viewed day in Big Ten Network history, and NU's dramatic victory over Wisconsin on Nov. 21 also scored a strong rating on BTN.

Kafka, McManis to play in East-West Shrine Game

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Cornerback Sherrick McManis has joined quarterback Mike Kafka on the East squad for the 85th East-West Shrine Game, benefiting Shriners Hospitals for Children, on at 2 p.m. CT Jan. 23, 2010, in Orlando, Fla. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Kafka and McManis were invited to the game on the heels of Northwestern's 8-5 season in 2009, capped by a trip to the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. Kafka broke Bowl records for pass completions, attempts and yardage in the game while McManis recorded his fifth interception of the season to go along with a fumble recovery.

Tyrell Sutton played in the East-West game last year, and this season will mark the first time for multiple Wildcats appearing in the contest since Brett Basanez, Barry Cofield and Tim McGarigle played in 2006.

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