To me trying to validate how good a program can be based off how good they were 40 years ago is useless. Should penn go back to being a dominant football program cause they were good a long time ago? Things change, sports change. It’s stupid to try and contrast a teams potential success based on its predecessors. Some programs improve and some fade, we are the latter. Other programs in our region has improved, it’s not the same landscape or even conferences that it was 30 years ago. So imo it’s useless to try and use previous success as some sort of marker for future success.
The Penn analogy is a really bad one, and the landscape has not changed in some way to disadvantage Illinois specifically vs. our peers. It's been our own incompetence, and that's what is frustrating. If you had told me 30 years ago that we'd be getting beaten like a drum by WI in both sports on a regular basis I wouldn't have believed it. It's high time for the pendulum to swing the other way.