Pat Fitzgerald: There is no such thing as a meaningless game

Oct 1, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald looks on before the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Northwestern won 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Fitzgerald will be participating in his ninth bowl game when Northwestern battles Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28.

As a player, Fitzgerald was a member of the Northwestern teams that landed in the Rose Bowl in 1995 and the Citrus Bowl in 1996. Since taking over the Wildcats, he’s lead the team to seven postseason appearances.

So when he caught wind that some considered bowl games “meaningless,” he set the record straight:

No disrespect to anybody that would call any bowl game ‘meaningless,’ but if you’re making that kind of statement, you never played in one and you never coached in one,”Fitzgerald said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “The opportunity to play in the postseason in Power 5 football is earned. You’ve got to go through the gauntlet of your conference schedule, you’ve got to find a way to make your team successful, and that is not easy

With the rise in the number of postseason games and some of college football’s most notable players sitting out (LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey), “bowl mania” has come under some scrutiny. Many have labeled the games as unnecessary and meaningless.

But for Fitzgerald, the opportunity to play in the postseason is a great reward for teams that have found ways to be successful throughout the year:

There is no such thing as a meaningless game. You’re only guaranteed X amount of games in college.

Northwestern finished the year 6-6 after opening the campaign with a 1-3 record. This is the second-straight year Northwestern has gone bowling. The Wildcats will play Pitt (8-4) in Yankee Stadium in the Pinstripe Bowl.

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Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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