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UI Football's Biggest Rival(s)

View Poll Results: Who do you consider to be Illinois football's biggest rival(s)?
Northwestern Wildcats 67 60.36%
Ohio State Buckeyes 5 4.50%
Purdue Boilermakers 3 2.70%
Iowa Hawkeyes 25 22.52%
Indiana Hoosiers 2 1.80%
Missouri Tigers 5 4.50%
Other (Please comment below) 4 3.60%
Voters: 111. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Aug 9, 2017, 10:48 AM   #1
Fighter of the Nightman
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I think I'm going to do this poll before the start of each season to see if things change year by year ... the question of who our biggest rival(s) are or what teams our fans dislike/like to beat the most is always interesting, as there is no clear-cut answer. I included all of our "official" rivals and then Iowa, Indiana and Missouri for various reasons. Vote for one, but feel free to add other answers below!

Feel free to comment and elaborate, as that is the most interesting!

EDIT: For me, I think it's sad but true that our "biggest rival" (given all that the term entails) is probably Northwestern, but I hate Ohio State the most. If Missouri started up again, I think that would have the potential to morph into what basketball is, honestly.

Last edited by Fighter of the Nightman; Aug 9, 2017 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Added my own answers
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 11:07 AM   #2
Serious Late
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If we still played them, it would be Mizzou hands down for me. I really wish that game was a thing still.

We don't have a true rival as far as I can tell right now, so Northwestern gets my vote as the conference's cross division game.

Also, I would put Michigan before Ohio State, but I have a personal stake in that match up.

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Old Aug 9, 2017, 11:19 AM   #3
IlliniSox
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Northwestern, hands down. A bowl-less season can still be somewhat salvaged by beating them on Thanksgiving weekend.

With that said, I think the rivalry would be much more intense if the game were moved up earlier in the season to when it still means something for both teams (see 2011).
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 11:57 AM   #4
Illwinsagain
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When I was in school (the 80's), it felt like Michigan, though, they never would have felt the same way. Just like, back then, NW thought it was us, and we didn't. I don't think we have a "real" rivalry in football. Now, I guess NW would make the most sense, but it is hard for me to feel it.
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 11:59 AM   #5
ILL_INI
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This year, not historically, I would say Purdue because both teams are rivals in the battle to stay out of last place. Both teams have it circled as a "must win" game.

I usually dislike fans more than their teams/schools/coaches. There aren't enough NW fans to dislike them, but their love of the "Chicago's Big Ten Team" marketing slogan is annoying. I don't live close enough to Iowa, but I hear their fans are bad. Do they still throw things at games?

Without a natural rival for Illinois, I have a disdain for the SEC (and their insufferable fans), a conference I deem as the Big Ten's biggest rival, full of teams I love to see lose more than any of Illinois' rivals. Missouri might be my favorite SEC team, though.

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Old Aug 9, 2017, 12:22 PM   #6
UI2009
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It pains me to say it, but NW is probably our biggest (football) rival. I hate that it’s even a rivalry to begin with, though. When I was at Illinois, we didn’t even think about NW; it was a rivalry game in the same technical sense as OSU is a rivalry game (i.e., that we’re really not actual rivals). Then Captain Lasagna gets hired on and tries to make the IL-NW rivalry a thing, which bothered the crap out of me. Combine that with the “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” campaign, and NW has turned into the team that I am most annoyed with. It’s nothing to do with the school or fans, it just seems forced. Rivalries should be natural. So I’d be fine letting this game go off the schedule. I hate Ryan Field in late November anyways.

More natural rivals would be Iowa and Wisconsin, I feel. Large parts of the fan bases are from Chicago-land. We compete for recruits. What’s more, Iowa and Wisconsin students/alums always seem to have to tell Illinois students/alums how great their schools are (trying to justify their not getting into Illinois, most likely ). Unfortunately, they already have their rivalries, and we need to step up our performance to make those games matter. So B1G-wise, we are left with NW more out of a lack of options than actual hatred.
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 01:18 PM   #7
rbachhuber
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I voted for Iowa, but I must say the way Northwestern fans look down their noses at the supposedly inferior University of Illinois makes my skin crawl. Their childish "You'll work for us one day" chant makes me want to
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 01:21 PM   #8
LongLiveTheChief7
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Iowa or Michigan!! We are supposed to be superior to the kitty cats not on the same playing field lol! In all seriousness, even going back to the Darnell Audrey days, we've always had good intense games with them! And being our in state rival they are a main rival of ours! But the real bad blood IMO is with Michigan & Iowa!! Iowa would be my top choice ... But some of those Michigan games from the late 90's and early 2000's still resignate strong in the minds of a lot of Illini fans which always ruffles the feathers of the long time illini fans around here when we play the Wolverines
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 01:21 PM   #9
Illiini
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I voted the Mildcats mainly because they're a team that we must beat year in and year out. Team that I most like to beat? Ohio State. It rivalry must be two ways. At least their basketball sucks.

But back to Northwestern: I'm on a cruise ship in the Med right now and have obsessive my been wearing Illini stuff. In the process I've learned there are, in addition to my wife and me, there are at least two other alums on board and one current student. I've had several conversations with people from other schools, including a thoughtful--seriously--one with a Michigan State alum, plus some ribbing with a couple of Mizzou grads. But there are by what I've seen on t-shirts two Northwestern fans, when they've seen me coming, turn away and studiously avoid eye contact. Those people have problems.
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 03:26 PM   #10
james81
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Of course, the opposite side of this poll is to ask "Who is everyone's favorite homecoming opponent? That's one area we rank high in.
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 05:44 PM   #11
Lake Camelot
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I will vote for who I hate the most. Growing up when Iowa was good and we were for a while also. I hated the Iowa fans. They were idiots. I have to admit they have a good following and travel well. I will admit it is probably Northwestern now. But if we ever start winning again. Wait and see how the Iowa fans invade the message boards. We have been on vacation from it since we are irrelevant.

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Old Aug 9, 2017, 05:50 PM   #12
georgeuremovich
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University of Chicago Maroons.

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Old Aug 9, 2017, 10:01 PM   #13
IlliniCaboose
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While I have hatred for all things Wisconsin, and they are the team I want to beat the most each season in every sport I don't think I'd consider them our biggest rival. For football I voted for Iowa, strictly because things got so bad between the teams and the fans that they actually had to STOP PLAYING each other for over a decade. And this is before there were 87 teams in the conference and you could get away with not playing a team for 8 years at a time. Now that's intense.

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Old Aug 9, 2017, 10:12 PM   #14
bigtiny
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Fan in late 80s, student in early 90s, and the campus clearly got up and into the Michigan game more than anything else.

NW games were snoozers, even though they often gave us great fight (Lee Gissendaner).

Iowa and Mizzou games were much bigger deals than NW.

Fact is Illinois has to surpass NW first, and hopefully renew the Iowa and/or Wisconsin rivalry. But for now, NW is our rivalry. Accept it.
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Old Aug 9, 2017, 10:15 PM   #15
bigtiny
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I will add that I've seen the Indiana game as "the yardstick" over the last decade. Usually each time has gotten a few wins before that game and entered it with some hope. Alas, the loser of that game has tended to nose dive afterwards. So, i won't call it a rivalry, but it's been a great indicator of who is definitely NOT good.
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 08:10 AM   #16
redwingillini11
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To be a rivalry the hatred has to be mutual. I hate o$u more than any other team in the world, but they couldn't care less about us. The same goes for Michigan, they barely realize we exist. So it has to be Northwestern, as they are the only school where both sides circle the game on the schedule. Mizzou would be one (probably the biggest one) if we still played them.
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 08:21 AM   #17
Fighter of the Nightman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwingillini11 View Post
To be a rivalry the hatred has to be mutual. I hate o$u more than any other team in the world, but they couldn't care less about us. The same goes for Michigan, they barely realize we exist. So it has to be Northwestern, as they are the only school where both sides circle the game on the schedule. Mizzou would be one (probably the biggest one) if we still played them.
Wasn't there talk of this series renewing?

Anyway, RE: what others have said, how the question is phrased definitely affects the answers. I also hate Ohio State, and I really don't hate Northwestern all that much (though this recent NCAA Tourney berth has their fans SERIOUSLY delusional, and that is quite annoying from a little brother school); however, UI-NU is clearly more of a "rivalry," due to reciprocity.

For my personal reasons, the most important win each year is beating Iowa (and, as an Iowa alum, I certainly don't hate the Hawkeyes all that much!), simply because I have all Hawkeye friends; having bragging rights with your buddies is key!
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 09:47 AM   #18
Illini Parent14
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 10:03 AM   #19
drwillini
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Sorry to sound like such an old man, but this survey makes me realize I am. NW a rival... give me a break. I'm stuck in the John Cooper era at Ohio St. Believe me, they knew we existed then. I know its hard for you guys to believe, but we owned them for a decade.

Despite that I voted for Iowa. Hayen Fry and Mike White turned the programs around at about the same time. In those days NW was like Northwestern before Barry Alverez - an uninteresting game in Champaign, and a game you were very disappointed to lose on the road. I'm not sure we scared the UM fanbase, but I think we had the coach's and players attention. We just could not catch a break against UM like we did against OSU (I'm thinking of FGs bouncing off crossbars and horribly blown calls against UM, and miracle fumble recoveries against OSU) Even in those "glory days" I think the mutual animosity of the Iowa fan base makes it still the biggest rivalry for me.
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 11:43 AM   #20
IlliniJim20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IlliniCaboose View Post
While I have hatred for all things Wisconsin, and they are the team I want to beat the most each season in every sport I don't think I'd consider them our biggest rival. For football I voted for Iowa, strictly because things got so bad between the teams and the fans that they actually had to STOP PLAYING each other for over a decade. And this is before there were 87 teams in the conference and you could get away with not playing a team for 8 years at a time. Now that's intense.
When were things so bad they HAD to stop playing? I don't recall this in my time which has been since '83 or so

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Old Aug 10, 2017, 12:02 PM   #21
IlliniCaboose
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When were things so bad they HAD to stop playing? I don't recall this in my time which has been since '83 or so
From the mid 50s- late 60s. 15 years or so. Obviously not current but how many times have 2 conference teams not played for that long?

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Old Aug 10, 2017, 12:45 PM   #22
Illiswag
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We need to get the Illinois vs PJ Fleck rivalry going, get some revenge for last years embarrassment
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 01:59 PM   #23
RedRocksIllini
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Originally Posted by georgeuremovich View Post
University of Chicago Maroons.
Like this answer. Makes me think of Bugs Bunny.
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 02:20 PM   #24
RedRocksIllini
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Had to vote NU cause it seems like that's the only team we play every year. Hard to call it a rivalry if you don't at least play a team once in a while.
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Old Aug 10, 2017, 06:02 PM   #25
blmillini
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Originally Posted by drwillini View Post
Sorry to sound like such an old man, but this survey makes me realize I am. NW a rival... give me a break. I'm stuck in the John Cooper era at Ohio St. Believe me, they knew we existed then. I know its hard for you guys to believe, but we owned them for a decade.

Despite that I voted for Iowa. Hayen Fry and Mike White turned the programs around at about the same time. In those days NW was like Northwestern before Barry Alverez - an uninteresting game in Champaign, and a game you were very disappointed to lose on the road. I'm not sure we scared the UM fanbase, but I think we had the coach's and players attention. We just could not catch a break against UM like we did against OSU (I'm thinking of FGs bouncing off crossbars and horribly blown calls against UM, and miracle fumble recoveries against OSU) Even in those "glory days" I think the mutual animosity of the Iowa fan base makes it still the biggest rivalry for me.
I'm with you. I grew up thinking NW would eventually be kicked out of the Big 10 because they were so bad at everything. Even with their recent success I still think of them as the doormat of the Big 10 and it saddens me that we have sunk so far that younger people consider them our biggest rival. I voted for Iowa.
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