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2022 Illinois Season Predictions: Make Your Own Horseshoe!

Is Illinois the Big Ten’s new CHAOSTEAM?

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

We apologize for the lack of Illinois Fighting Illini Potluck-related content. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked. The bloggers of the blog hired not paid to continue the Potlucks after the other people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been sacked.

We return to an artery-clogging classic (because it’s Saturday and I wasn’t prepared to do potlucks this week): the Horseshoe Sandwich, invented in Springfield, Illinois.

“The people of Springfield are proud of this simple dish that can be found on menus throughout the city. A horseshoe sandwich consists of two pieces of toasted white toast covered by two pieces of hamburger patty or sliced ham covered by a heaping portion of french fries covered by a cheese sauce.”

Really depressingly, I’ve had one of the horseshoes in this rundown of the 9 best places to get a horseshoe in Illinois, but Richard’s on Main no longer exists:

In my defense, I was at least .25 when I had that sandwich at Tricky Dick’s. RIP to the legend.

Writers: Invent a your-school-themed horseshoe sandwich.

WSR: The Minnesota version of that has to be a Juicy Lucy topped with tater tots, right? Because if it’s not, I’m not sure I want it.

MaximumSam: Is this a Principal Skinner meal? How can you substitute sliced ham for hamburger? Those are two very different items.

Jesse: Nebraska would have to make it some form of Runza theme. Maybe we actually just stuff the Runza with crinkle fries? Actually, I’d eat that.

MNW: I’m fairly sure you’ve asked this question in the last two years, MNW, you lazy sack of shit. But I’m all for Jesse’s Runza horseshoe, though I’d split the Runza in half, lay it open face, and slather it in cheese sauce. Same for WSR’s Jucy Lucy horseshoe, which I’m fairly sure somewhere in Greater Minnesota has to be serving.

I’m fairly sure there’s a take on a Chicago-style pizza somewhere in there: start with a flattened deep dish crust and bake it. Patty some Italian sausage and pepperoni, sear it in a pan. Lay it flat on the crust, then slather it in pizza sauce, but if you say Lou Malnati’s, so help me god, just go eat a tomato if that’s the “sauce” you want. Liberally apply crinkle-cut fries like those from Portillo’s, then top with a mozzarella cheese-based sauce like you’d use for macaroni and cheese. Enjoy, and get me the paddles.

Poll

Which of these horseshoes are you eating?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    WSR’s Jucy Lucy horseshoe
    (26 votes)
  • 12%
    Jesse’s Runza horseshoe
    (8 votes)
  • 28%
    MNW’s Chicago-style horseshoe
    (18 votes)
  • 18%
    ...I’ll stick to the original, thanks
    (12 votes)
64 votes total Vote Now

The Football: Illinois—The Big Ten’s New Chaos Team?

That’s...that’s an interestingly ambitious non-conference. Wyoming in Week 0 is certainly a choice that is going to be UGLY early-season manball, but UVA at home is a fun little test, too. It’s the B1G schedule, though, that...well, could Illinois be regretting a non-conference loss again? The Friday night crossover game with Indiana could be telling, because Michigan State and Michigan in November are going to be rough.

1. How do the Illini finish in 2022?

2. Describe your ideal Week 0 game. Why is it definitely not a frisky opponent in Wyoming, and why is it also not a shitty Big Ten game in Ireland?

3. Is Illinois the new Big Ten chaos team, with Bert willing to do just whatever the fuck he pleases?

WSR: How does Illinois finish? With a bowl game after beating Northwestern to go 6-6.

Is there actually an ideal week 0 game? Mid-to-late August in Minnesota can be unfun (A moment of silence for all who cooked to death at the 6 PM TCU game, please). And is there really a good opponent? (Reminder: Do not schedule Dakota Territory schools.) It just seems like week 0 is a dumb idea. But I would be OK with a double-header with my favorite teams in other countries if the Gophers wanted to open their season at Old Trafford after a United match in Manchester or the Optus after a West Coast Eagles game in Perth.

But no, Illinois is the newest Iowa/Northwestern where you need to avoid beating yourself while suffering through the game.

BoilerUp89: Week 0 is dumb. My ideal week 0 opponent is bye. Purdue is your chaos team. Illinois can take that title from our cold dead hands if they ever manage to lose to Rice and beat OSU in the same season. They finish 4-8.

He was a high school quarterback: Illinois will finish 3-9. Like picking Iowa to go 8-4, always pick Illinois to go 3-9 and you’ll be right a lot. Wyoming returns five starters on O and two on D, so Week 0 is the right time to play them.

Bert wants Illinois to be Nern/Wisky/Iowa so bad. However, I just saw an interview with Lunney today where he said we would run a tempo-pro style offense. (I hate when people say tempo to mean fast pace. Every team has a tempo, whether it is slow or fast, it’s still a tempo.)

MaximumSam: Week Zero games should be in Ireland, and they should start at 9 am Eastern. There is nothing better a morning kickoff of a game I have little interest in.

Illinois feels more like an Iowa rock team, which will win a couple games in mildly surprising fashion, and lose a couple in mildly surprising fashion, and at the end you are not surprised at all by their record: so 4-8 seems reasonable.

Jesse: At least the non-con games are home? I’m going 4-8 but honestly, who knows. There are wins on that schedule if they (looks at roster). Well... let’s stay with 4-8 without trying to explain too much more.

I hate Week 0. It’s ugly, it’s usually a good way to get people injured, and honestly, I hate all the matchups. Ideally, week 0 is final scrimmages before the season.

B1G West chaos means winning games you have no business winning and losing extremely winnable games, right? So uh... That’s BERT? I dunno. I hate that I’m mostly judging this on the awfulness of the division than if I think Illinois is actually chaotic but here we are.

MNW: I want to apologize to Illinois, upon looking at the schedule again, because I don’t think I truly appreciated, the first time, just how chaotic this schedule is. Want to get ready for a probably-bowl-determining game with Indiana on a Friday night Week 1 game? Better throw a Mountain West team in there notorious under Craig Bohl for playing bizarre non-conference games against bad teams. That game is the best Week 0 game of the year (more on that later).

But then, after a Friday night Big Ten opener, a visit from Virginia with a first-year head coach? MAYBE! And then a break, because you’re tired, before you gas up for FCS Chattanooga...

...on a Thursday night during Week 4?

God bless you, Bert-era Illinois. You beauty.

I’ll take the Illini to navigate the non-conference at 2-1—not sure which of Virginia or Wyoming does it, but that means it’ll definitely be Chattanooga.

Taking these questions out of order, that’s the beauty of post-wisconsin Bert. Sure, my colleagues have noted that he’s going to be little different than Iowa or Northwestern, picking up his rock and trying to beat on other Big Ten West teams. But look at his time at Arkansas, and take his high-water mark of 8-4 in 2015: beat LSU by running the ball 40 times for 299 yards and only throwing 16 times? Better follow that up with a 51-50 loss to Ole Miss in which you throw it 43 times! Beat UNLV 48-13? Better toss it 53 times in the next game, a 16-12 loss to Toledo!

Run it 49 times in a win over Nebraska, throw it 43 times in a loss to UTSA. Bert’s quest to win games leads to amazing content, and I am here for it. He is not just content to pick up a rock and bludgeon James Franklin with it over 9 overtimes while throwing the ball a TOTAL of 21 times (!!!), he will also throw it 27 times in a 13-9 loss to Purdue. In the “nothing matters” world of the Big Ten West, BERT is a breath of stale, horseshoe sandwich-laden air.

Anyway, the Illini will need to sweep the should-wins (vs. Indiana, vs. Minnesota, vs. Purdue, at Northwestern) to go bowling. They do not: 5-7 (3-6).

The best Week 0 game is Vanderbilt’s decision to play at Hawaii, because there are three requirements for a Good Week Zero Game(TM):

  • Must involve westward travel for at least one team, or
  • Must be a higher-division team traveling to a lower-division team OR playing a lower-division team at a neutral site west of its campus.

Acceptable games in the last 10 years thus include:

  • 2022: Vanderbilt at Hawai’i
  • 2022: Nevada at New Mexico State (I count the Aggies and UConn as lower-division teams because, I mean, c’mon)
  • 2021: UTEP at New Mexico State
  • 2019: Arizona at Hawai’i
  • 2018: Wyoming at New Mexico State
  • 2017: Hawai’i at UMass
  • 2017: South Florida at San Jose State
  • 2017: Oregon State at Colorado State
  • 2016: Cal vs. Hawai’i (Sydney, AUS)

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Poll

How many Big Ten games does Illinois win in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    0-9
    (3 votes)
  • 5%
    1-8
    (7 votes)
  • 23%
    2-7
    (32 votes)
  • 41%
    3-6
    (56 votes)
  • 16%
    4-5
    (23 votes)
  • 7%
    5-4
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    6-3 or better
    (5 votes)
136 votes total Vote Now

Poll

And overall, Illinois finishes...

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    3-9 or worse
    (10 votes)
  • 23%
    4-8
    (30 votes)
  • 31%
    5-7
    (41 votes)
  • 26%
    6-6
    (34 votes)
  • 10%
    7-5
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    8-4
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    9-3 or better
    (1 vote)
129 votes total Vote Now