Whether or not the Illinois Fighting Illini win tomorrow’s game, I am finally living a dream I’ve had since I graduated college. I wanted to be excited enough about the team to go to Big Ten road games thinking we had a shot to win. It’s just not fun to go when you know and the other fans know that there’s absolutely no chance of any outcome other than the home team coming away with a crushing victory. My first season as a Post-College Adult, Illinois went on the road to Ann Arbor and lost 45-0, establishing that I would have to wait a while for this to happen.
My entire 20’s passed by without this opportunity. AND HERE IT FINALLY IS!
Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect Illinois to get slaughtered in East Lansing tomorrow. No matter how good Minnesota thinks they are, Illinois hasn’t played a defensive front like this, and they’ve struggled massively with really aggressive linebackers. Even when they’ve played vulnerable defenses such as Rutgers, the offense has been...oddly incoherent and unable to string together long drives. I know this. I know it’s also quite possible that the Illini lose out, exposing this three game stretch as a mirage born of unrepeatable circumstances.
However, I don’t care, because that hasn’t actually come to pass yet. I’ve always wanted to do this. Michigan State, by no means a great team but a respectable college football institution, could plausibly lose a home game to my beloved Fighting Illini. This is all I’ve ever wanted.
Honestly, I know that Illinois wins Big Ten titles in 20+ year increments, and may not win another. I know for sure that Illinois will never compete for the national title in college football as we know it today. That’s why I’m way more excited about indicators of good home attendance, or at least a good atmosphere, than I am about indicators of winning football games. Even if it completely blows up over the final three games and everything falls apart in spectacular fashion, it’s a dream come true to be this excited about an Illini football game in November, or any month for that matter.
I’ve finally caught the dragon...for at least another day or so.
hey guess what though Terry Shea was Lovie Smith’s offensive coordinator once