College football is as much a part of fall as raking leaves and picking out the perfect pumpkin. Chicago area fans are fortunate to have three teams-Northwestern, Illinois and Northern Illinois-within a (long) Hail Mary pass of the city limits. However, football is not just for the men of the house; these three schools have made spending a Saturday on the gridiron a true family experienceYou might also like:
Self-proclaimed as ™Chicago's Big Ten team,∫ the Wildcats have been to three straight bowl games and seven since the start of the 2000 season. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald is a local product from Orland Park who played for Northwestern from 1993-96, twice earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Three hours before kickoff, adults and children alike can enjoy the festive and free Wildcat Alley, featuring face painting, inflatable games, food and drink to buy, plus appearances by the school's marching band along with current and past Northwestern athletes. Eighth-graders and younger receive a certificate if attending their first Northwestern game. Fans can join the school band, cheerleaders and Willie the Wildcat in greeting the team when it arrives to the field 2 ½ hours before kickoff.
Fans can buy a $10 lap ticket for children 2 and younger. Available only on game days.