Redbox Bowl Pregame: Illinois vs Cal, Monday, December 30th, 3:00pm CT, FOX

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Illinois vs Cal
Redbox Bowl (Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA)
Monday, December 30th
3:00pm CT

Ticket Info

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"The Illinois team and travel party will embark to San Francisco on Thursday, Dec. 26 for preparation and team events leading up to the game on Dec. 30. The team will enjoy a visit to Alcatraz, participate in a community service event at St. Anthony's Dining Room, and have a chance to explore San Francisco."

Ticket info / travel packages-
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When do the official 15 practices begin? Any idea if Peters will play? Looking forward to the game. We will have most of the recruiting class signed. Go Illini.
Space Coast, FL
Just booked my flights, going out for the game!
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A bowl game is a great end to this season so I won't complain much but it would sure be nice to play in an actual neutral site bowl game. We gave LSU a home game in the Sugar Bowl, USC a home game in the Rose Bowl, Baylor a home game in the Texas Bowl, etc. now Cal a home game in this bowl.
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Good god.... $2300 per person for the Illinois offered packages.

Even if I schedule it all myself (flight, hotels, etc) it’s still like $1500 per person. It’d be nice to have a bowl game within a 3-4 hours drive of Illinois...
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There will have to be a lot of Illini alum to show up. San Fran is maybe the most expensive places.
Yes, I suppose technically a "home" game, but if I recall what the local Illinois alumni representative told me last summer, there is a greater number of Illinois graduates in northern California (or perhaps it was California as a whole) than there is anyplace else outside of the state of Illinois. A large number of alums are concentrated in the Bay Area; my sister and brother-in-law are both Illinois alums who live in San Jose. The imponderable is whether the many Illinois graduates who work in the tech industry have much interest in Illinois football. But I think it is reasonable to expect we will have a very good turnout.
I live in Sacramento and my wife and I will, of course, be there. If I can provide any information for anybody regarding their travel, let me know. For instance, those flying in may want to consider Oakland or San Jose over SFO depending on cost and flight availability. And San Francisco is still an interesting city, but the homeless population living in tents on the sidewalks (without "facilities" except the sidewalks) is a fact of life.
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Nice location for a minor bowl...would think players would prefer Cali to a number of the other potential locations. Interesting to see if Cal has much support...I know it's very close but Cal fans seem blase.
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So can we just tack on the unused practices onto spring ball and call it good? We earned those practices damn it!
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West Coast
Why wouldn’t we use all practices? Lovie always seems so blasé about such things...other coaches seem to fight tooth & nail for every possible hour of practice, no?
As far as the options available to us, I think this is probably the best we could have hoped for. I would have travelled to Detroit for the QL Bowl, but that would have been quite a drag. New York is fine, but Santa Clara sounds much better this time of year. Gator Bowl could be nice, but remember its Jacksonville... This should be a good game in a good stadium in a nice part of the country and it will be great to see our boys experience it. Plus I don't think it really is really below any of the other games as far as prestige, except for maybe the Holiday Bowl.

Just need to put together a great game plan to take down Cal!

As an aside though, it really is dumb luck that we keep getting bowl games that are so much closer for the other team. LSU in New Orleans, USC in LA, Baylor in the Texas Bowl, UCLA in the Kraft Bowl, Louisiana Tech in Dallas, now Cal in the Bay Area. I sure would like to see one of these teams come to Chicago or Champaign this time of year!
Paducah, Ky

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — For the first time since 2014, football still matters in December in Champaign.

The location isn’t as important to some players as the journey.
“I really don’t care, specifically,” senior linebacker Dele Harding said. “Good weather would be ideal, but a bowl game is what we’ve been preaching for. You can’t get really upset, picky or whatnot.”

Cal finished 7-5 and ended the year with back-to-back wins, over Stanford and UCLA. Illinois and Cal haven’t played since 2004, when the Golden Bears won 35-20. The Illini lead the series 7-3.

Even after back-to-back losses to close the year, Illinois has a chance to notch a winning record and play in a bowl game for the first time in five seasons. After the Northwestern game, Smith said the team had a bad taste in its mouth but has an opportunity to avenge that in a bowl game.
“We get a chance to make it right,” Smith said. “In a way we get a chance to start a fresh season, we have a one-game season coming up. How we go into the offseason, that’s not going to take away anything from what we did right now. We’re a bowl team. We want to finish off in the right way, and the chance to have a winning record is big.”
Considering that by winning out we’d have had a decent shot at one of the Florida bowls, this is a nice consolation. What’s crazy still is that any of the Power 5 conference champs could be denied a playoff berth. Way past time to use the 4 main bowls as Rd. 1 playoff games.
One question, is Peters playing

This is a very fair question and as another poster pointed out, with multiple concussions on the books, is he going to keep playing?
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Josh Whitman: "Really excited to be headed out west." Good for Illinois to be a conversation again on the great day for college football.

Josh Whitman: "We have not been in a bowl game for too long." Great to have a team back. This team went through a lot of adversity.

Josh Whitman: "Being happy does not mean being satisfied. We have bigger goals."

Calls Wisconsin and MSU "transcendent wins" for the program. Said the win at Purdue was one of his favorite wins.

Josh Whitman: We left some wins out there on the field ... but that may have changed the universie.

Josh Whitman: "We needed to get in the postseason. We knew that for a long time." Goal in a few years won't be to win 6 games. We want to win division, win Big Ten, play in NY6 games

But in order to do that, you have to follow a progression.

Josh Whitman: Lovie and I talk regularly. Always talk 2, 3, 4 times a week. We'll have a formal sit down at some point. New recruiting calendar makes that challenging. We'll reflect after that. But we're always sharing ideas both directions. Not a lot unsaid at end of yr

Josh Whitman: Bowl "is a great opportunity for us to say thanks" to donors, fans who believed. A lot of people stepped forward and showed tremendous amounts of faith without evidence.

Illini AD Josh Whitman: "I knew when we were sitting together at 2-4, I told you we had a group of people over there that were doing everything possible to turn it. ... It wasn't hard for me to have faith that the program was changing." Doesn't make it easier to watch struggles

Lovie Smith: Last night, we had a lot of our top recruits on campus. How we finished was watching the Big Ten championship game. We saw a team we beat out here play our champion in a tough game.

Lovie: The goal is to become Big Ten champs someday. Our program will eventually get there. In the meantime, we're going to keep building. It's a process we're going through right now. Part of the process was a bowl season. Won't apologize for six wins. We're excited.

Lovie: We get a chance to practice more. We're focused on recruiting and academics. We'll start prepping for Cal this week but hitting the road recruiting. About to get on a plane. The response we've gotten has changed.

Lovie: Don't know an awful lot about Cal yet. But they're a bowl team from a tough conference. That'll be a good challenge for us.

Lovie: No injury updates right now.

Lovie: The anticipation of the bowl reveal was there. Word started getting out. We still had a lot of excitement. It's something we'll remember.

Lovie: Last bowl game (with Ohio State in 1995) was against Tennessee and Peyton Manning.

Lovie: We just kept fighting. Every time we lose, I really take it hard. When you win, you enjoy those moments. During that time we weren't playing good football, you focus on what you have to do to get it right.

Lovie: Recruiting nonstop. had an excellent week last week. Lot of great prospects on campus this past weekend who are buying in to what we're telling them.

Lovie: The best football team I think we'll have in a long time is this one we have coming next season. But there's a big difference for us between 6-7 and 7-6.

Lovie: Bob Ligashesky is just a great coach, great man, know what you're going to get every day.

Lovie: We want to be a bowl team every year and have our program to where it's more than (just making a bowl). But in 2019, that's exactly where we want to be."

Lovie: I was involved a lot more as DC. Don't plan on making any changes as all.

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Kelso, WA
Probably about as good a bowl as the Illini could hope for. Cal will be a worthy opponent.
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