Wildcats aiming higher in Big Ten, looking to build on 10-win season that ended with bowl win

Northwestern will try to take the next big step and assert itself as one of the best in the Big Ten on the heels of a bowl victory that ended a drought stretching back six decades.

Running back Venric Mark notices a different mentality, that the Wildcats no longer are underdogs.

While Ohio State is widely viewed as the best in the Big Ten coming off an undefeated season, the Wildcats believe they at least belong in the discussion with the top teams in the conference.

They went 10-3 last season and beat Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. The only other bowl victory for Northwestern was when the 1948 team beat California in the Rose Bowl.

The opener is Aug. 31 at Cal.