Somewhere amid the cornfields of the midwest lies Champaign, Illinois. It’s a great college town with mounds of enthusiasm and passion for their team. On gameday, tailgating takes place in open fields where music blasts, games are played, and footballs are tossed. You might even catch the band performing a quick drumline or “Oskee Wow Wow” before they make their march into Memorial Stadium.
The opener for Nebraska and Illinois has already been billed as a must win for each team. The Illini don’t have many expected wins on their schedule and need to take advantage of every opportunity they have. Nebraska head coach Scott Frost cannot afford to lose any games that the Huskers are expected to win or his seat will continue to boil.Continue reading “Game 302: Nebraska @ Illinois”
“There will be a team that will come from nowhere and will have an outstanding year. We plan on that being us.” These were the words of Coach Lovie Smith at Big Ten Media Days this past July. Now, sitting at 2-4 including an ugly home loss to Eastern Michigan, one might wonder when that “outstanding year” will start.Continue reading “Game 292: #16 Michigan @ Illinois”
A very promising day was building for the Illini.
Coming off a Big Ten victory.
Great crowd near capacity.
An early touchdown that gave Illinois a 7-0 lead had the Orange and Blue rattling the columns that align Memorial Stadium.
But, that would end the thrills. Purdue, led by QB David Blough, obliterated Illinois from that point forward.
Daaaaaaaaaaa Illini. That sure doesn’t have the same ring to it, but with tonight’s game taking place at Soldier Field – it’s quite fitting. Add Ditka administering the pregame coin toss, and it’s practically a scene on SNL. This game really wasn’t supposed to be a threat for the incoming Huskies. But, a surprising 2-0 start had Illinois fans imagining the possibilities. A strong contingent from Seattle filled the south loop bars while Illinois fans combated with their ILL-INI chant.
Another typical Illinois football afternoon was shaping up in Champaign. The tailgating didn’t miss a beat despite frigid temperatures. It’s never too cold for Big Ten football. The Illinois band boomed “Oskee Wow Wow,” and fans appeared geared for a big game. A casual observer might not be able to detect that Illinois is battling a four game losing streak that has caused the media to grumble and put Coach Zook on the hot seat. Perhaps it wouldn’t leave such a bad taste in the mouth had they not ignited hope with a six game win streak.
“Hoosier Football” are two words that go together about as well as “Lite Syrup” or “Economic Stability.” Combine one bowl in 17 years and six different head coaches in the same time span. Add to it a 45 year Big Ten title drought and you have the Indiana football program. Memorial Stadium in Bloomington has been recently expanded, which just means more empty seats. We got to the stadium early and stood in the expanded horseshoe area attempting to catch a few pregame practice kicks that lofted high enough to land in the stands.
As soon as the announcement was made that College Gameday would be live from Wrigley Field, my mind began to create signs for this historic matchup. The best I could come up with was “Go ‘Cats!” with the “C” being the Cubs logo. The magnitude of my sign’s creativity decreased once gameday arrived. We hopped the Clark Street bus at around 6:30am and began to venture toward Addison. The bus stopped at the corner and the College Gameday stage and bus appeared at the right, while the classic “Wrigley Field” sign came into view at the left. Only this time, its red hue had been replaced with purple.