Northwestern will have to beat a pair of bowl bound division opponents to avoid the worst record in 14 years under Pat Fitzgerald. As it is, even with two more victories, the Wildcats have lost eight games for the first time since Fitzgerald’s first season in 2006.

Yet, the long-time Northwestern head coach said Monday that “our program’s never been in a better place.” That’s the pitch he will be sharing with recruits this offseason.

This isn’t to say that Northwestern football is necessarily in a bad place or that the program won’t be able to rebound next year, but it’s hard to believe Fitzgerald’s statement when the team has zero Big Ten wins and only two victories all season. The last time Northwestern didn’t win at least three games was 1993.

If the Wildcats don’t win at least one of their remaining two contests, it will be the first time since 1989 that Northwestern has reached double digits in the loss column.

In order to avoid those embarrassing stat lines, Northwestern needs improved quarterback play. On Monday, Fitzgerald identified the problems the Wildcats have been experiencing at quarterback, citing both offseason preparation and coaching.

Without T.J. Green, junior Aidan Smith and sophomore Hunter Johnson have filled in at quarterback since Week 1. Both have struggled mightily, as neither one has a completion percentage higher than 50 or more touchdowns than interceptions. In fact, Smith and Johnson have a combined four touchdowns versus 13 interceptions.

Northwestern will face an angry Minnesota team, who just lost for the first time this past Saturday against Iowa, and then visit Illinois in the regular-season finale.