Big Ten College Football In Illinois Is Having A Golden Era
The bar for the "Golden Era" of Big Ten Football in Illinois is admittedly low, but both teams are definitely feeling it.
Northwestern has experienced more success than Illinois the past decade, but that's only because it's honestly hard to have a worse decade than what the Illini have gone through. Illinois made the Rose Bowl in 2006 but since then it's been pretty dire in Champaign with only a couple winning seasons since. Lovie Smith seems to maybe have turned a corner (more on that later) but it's been a rough ride. It's been a longer Rose Bowl drought for Northwestern but Pat Fitzgerald has generally churned out "respectable" teams. Both are playing well the past few weeks and have started to feel themselves on and off the field.
Let's start with Northwestern. They had a big weekend.
A win over a top-10 ranked Wisconsin team, had the Wildcats at 5-0 and looking at their highest ranking since the Gary Barnett Rose Bowl years of the 90s.
Earlier in the week before the matchup with Wisconsin. The team heard what the national media thought of them, in this ESPN clip that went viral, at least around the team.
The Illini are feeling pretty well themselves. They scored a win in Lincoln, Nebraska over the Huskers for the first time since 1923 for their second win in a row after dropping 6 straight going back to last season.
Then in a Tweet that since has been deleted. The official Illinois Athletics account tweeted this out.
This was a reference to before the season when Nebraska and its fans were VERY vocal about getting the Big Ten Football season back after initial reports of the entire season being canceled. Nebraska has since gone on to have one of their worst seasons with only one win on the year.
Illinois looks to continue the hot hand this Saturday but they will definitely be tested. The Illini are 4 touchdown underdogs to the Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday in Columbus. You can catch the game live on 1440 WROK. Kick-off is at 11 with pregame starting at 10.