In the fall of 1969, George R.R. Martin was a senior at Northwestern. The Wildcats football team went 3-7. That was progress from a 1-9 record the previous year.
In 2015, Northwestern is 6-2 with hopes for a New Year's Day bowl game. A lot has changed in Evanston since the writer of A Song of Ice and Fire (you know it as Game of Thrones) earned a B.S. in 1970 and an M.S. in 1971, both in journalism.
This weekend, Ryan Field welcomes Martin. After being honored with the Medill Hall of Achievement alumni award Wednesday, he is expected to be on the field during Saturday's game against Penn State.
And Northwestern is going all out.
The student section will be provided with these Game of Thrones-themed long sleeve T-shirts:
— NorthwesternWildside (@NUWildside) November 4, 2015
Facebook's temporary Northwestern profile picture design looks like this (Pat Fitzgerald not included):
There is this ...
The current cover photo for the Northwestern Athletics Facebook page looks like this:
And there's also this:
— #B1GCats Football (@NUFBFamily) November 3, 2015
You get the point …
— Northwestern (@NorthwesternU) November 4, 2015
Martin also wrote a blog post about his return to his alma mater. People may assume Martin is just some crazy British fantasy writer (see: J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien), but he actually grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, and went to college in Chicago.
A few years ago, Northwestern self-proclaimed itself "Chicago's Big Ten Team." For this week, it is calling itself "Westeros' Big Ten Team."
Remember, this is a school that has worn a gothic uniform twice ...
... and gave away these "Late Show" shirts earlier in the season against Ball State (Stephen Colbert is a Northwestern alum and David Letterman is a Ball State alum):
— NorthwesternWildside (@NUWildside) September 25, 2015
Although it won't be as a fierce as a Game of Thrones episode, the Northwestern-Penn State game should be a defensive grind between two teams near the top of the Big Ten standings. Northwestern is No. 21 in the College Football Playoff Rankings and Penn State received votes in both the AP and Coaches polls. Last season, the Wildcats upset then-undefeated Penn State, 29-6, in University Park.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.