Don’t tell Pat Fitzgerald the Wildcats are supposed to take a step back in 2019.

Northwestern was one of the surprise teams last season after rolling off an impressive string of wins. Fitzgerald and the Wildcats finished with an 8-4 record in the regular season and captured the B1G West title.

A common thread throughout the year was that Northwestern was seemingly an underdog in every game it played. That theme is likely to continue this year as ESPN’s FPI is favoring the Wildcats in just four of their games to start 2019.

Fitzgerald’s squad is likely getting used to the underdog role. However, that doesn’t mean they have to like it. He spoke with the media on Wednesday about expectations, and Fitzgerald made it very clear that this team believes it will keep on winning despite a lack of respect nationally:

If that wasn’t clear enough, Fitzgerald went on to say that the internal expectations for this Northwestern team do not match the expectations nationally:

It should be noted that Northwestern has finished with a winning record in four consecutive seasons. The Wildcats have won at least nine games three of those years and are currently on a three-game bowl winning streak.