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Pat Fitzgerald tackles Vanderbilt, Northwestern schedule spat: 'We thought we were peer institutions'

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Nerd fight! Former linebacker Pat Fitzgerald commented with great vigor Friday on his Northwestern program losing a scheduled series with Vanderbilt, essentially accusing NU's high-minded SEC counterparts of cowardice. Thursday, the Dores dropped both the Wildcats and Ohio State from their football futures, which Fitzgerald's framing as a sign of how mighty Northwestern has become:

"I'm disappointed," he said on The Mully And Hanley Show on 670 The Score Friday morning. "We thought that we were peer institutions, and obviously we were mistaken. I think it just shows where our program is heading in comparison to theirs."

"I've had a lot of respect for their coach and what they're trying to get done there, but obviously we are in totally two different places as a program and to have them do it the way that they did, which I'll let Jim Phillips handle all that, he's the boss. I'm just disappointed," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald gets to use the situation to sell Northwestern football, as is part of his job -- and he's very good at pretty much all parts of his job. Vandy is going to look like it's operating by the SEC DOESN'T PLAY ANYBODY manual whether that has anything to do with what happened or not, and them's the breaks sometimes. It probably didn't help that Vanderbilt allegedly conducted its business via snail mail.

Even though Vanderbilt says it wasn't ducking anybody. Here was the explanation given to SB Nation's Steven Godfrey by a Vanderbilt official:

With the addition of the two new league members, existing football schedules were essentially erased and a new schedule was created. This was a long and complicated process for the conference and when it was complete, Vanderbilt was playing Ole Miss on August 31, when our Ohio State game had previously been planned, and is traveling to South Carolina on Sept. 14, 2013, when we had expected to play Northwestern. We understand this development comes as unwelcome news to both fine institutions and regret any inconvenience it creates.

Northwestern quickly replaced Vanderbilt with Western Michigan.

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