A senior-laden Northwestern team could be just as strong next season if Pat Fitzgerald gets his way. The Wildcats head coach wants them to all come back.

To paraphrase Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, fitting since Northwestern plays in Chicago, ‘Let’s play two senior seasons.’

Due to COVID-19, this season does not count against player eligibility, meaning that Fitzgerald’s senior laden team could return the core of his two-deep next year. Northwestern came into the season with 19 returning starters (10 on offense, nine on defense), the most of any Big Ten team.

That is quite the spine to build around this offseason, especially since the Wildcats are 5-1 on the season and No. 15 in Sunday’s AP Top 25 Poll.

Northwestern didn’t play this past weekend as the spread of the coronavirus within the Minnesota program forced the cancellation of that game.  Northwestern has had a tremendous 2020, the lone blemish of their fantastic season coming two weeks ago in a 29-22 loss to Michigan State.

This Saturday, they play in-state rival Illinois before heading to the Big Ten Championship Game, where they will become just the fourth program in the game’s history to make multiple appearances in the conference championship.

A returning senior class for 2021 would be big for Northwestern, a program that seems to overachieve ever couple of seasons in the Big Ten. Not only would it make Northwestern a favorite to again make the Big Ten Championship Game next year, but returning that experience could help the Wildcats reload and develop their depth to sustain the success of this season.