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.
Game 292: #16 Michigan @ 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”
Game 279: Illinois @ #20 Wisconsin
Game 277: Illinois @ Rutgers
Game 208: #19 Washington vs. Illinois
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.
Game #191: #17 Wisconsin @ Illinois
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.
Game 188: #16 Illinois @ Indiana
“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.
Game 177 – Illinois vs. Northwestern (Wrigley Field)
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.
Continue reading “Game 177 – Illinois vs. Northwestern (Wrigley Field)”
Game 156: Illinois @ Northwestern
On this late November day, the curtains closed on a very historic college football trophy. Northwestern and Illinois have played for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk trophy for over six decades. However, the Illini had recently been stripped of their mascot due to its perceived disrespectful nature to the surrounding tribal nations. Anything bearing any reference to Indian culture had to be removed from the campus or they would suffer probation. Included in this cleaning process included the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk trophy. This would be the last game where the trophy would be awarded and even if Illinois won, they were not allowed to keep it.
Game 152: Illinois @ Wisconsin
With the big presidential election coming up, so many vital questions are nagging the nation: Will America have its first African-American president in Barack Obama? Is Sarah Palin enough to lift John McCain’s numbers in the polls? Will the Wisconsin Badgers end their four game losing skid on homecoming to Illinois? I’m happy to say I was able to report on one of these highly anticipated questions this past Saturday…