The 2016 season is fast approaching, but Northwestern football is already making plans for 2017.
Word got out Tuesday of the Wildcats’ third and final 2017 non-conference opponent. In addition to hosting Western Illinois and traveling to Duke, Northwestern will welcome Nevada to Ryan Field on September 16, 2017.
The Wolfpack have been a consistently solid program out west, reaching 10 bowl games in the last 11 seasons. They were especially potent in 2010, when they were led by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and ranked as high as 11th in the nation. Longtime coach Chris Ault retired three years ago, but Brian Polian (son of NFL Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian) has kept the program rolling with three straight winning seasons.
Nevada and Northwestern played a home-and-home a decade ago, with the Wolfpack winning in Reno in 2006 and the Wildcats rallying for a late victory in Evanston in 2007.
The Wildcats and Wolfpack got together earlier this year on the diamond, splitting a four-game, season-opening series at the Cubs’ spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Northwestern will pay Nevada $1.2 million to travel to Evanston, but the Wolfpack are no walkover pay-to-play opponent.