Illini Football 2022

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#1      

Dan

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Illini Football 2022
Roster | Schedule | Tickets


2022 Illinois Football Schedule

DateOpponentTime/TV
Sat, Aug 27Wyoming3:00pm BTN
Fri, Sep 2at Indiana7:00pm FS1
Sat, Sep 10Virginia3:00pm ESPNU
Sat, Sep 17--bye--
Thu, Sep 22Chattanooga7:30pm BTN
Sat, Oct 1at Wisconsin
Sat, Oct 8Iowa
Sat, Oct 15Minnesota (Homecoming)11:00am
Sat, Oct 22--bye--
Sat, Oct 29at Nebraska
Sat, Nov 5Michigan State
Sat, Nov 12Purdue
Sat, Nov 19at Michigan
Sat, Nov 26at Northwestern

All times CT
 
#3      
Should win: Chattanooga, Wyoming, at Nebraska, at NW.
Tall order: Michigan, at Wisconsin
Toss ups: MSU, at Indiana, Virginia, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota

Barring any stupid losses in the "should win" column, I think winning at least two out of the six toss ups is doable which would result in a bowl.

I'll pencil in wins for Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota for a 7-5 record and an appearance in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
 
#4      
Should win: Chattanooga, Wyoming, at Nebraska, at NW.
Tall order: Michigan, at Wisconsin
Toss ups: MSU, at Indiana, Virginia, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota

Barring any stupid losses in the "should win" column, I think winning at least two out of the six toss ups is doable which would result in a bowl.

I'll pencil in wins for Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota for a 7-5 record and an appearance in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
Sorry, but Nebraska is not a should win.

I know people say it every year, but Nebraska should be very good.
 
#7      

ILFaninFL

Nature Coast in Florida
Sorry, but Nebraska is not a should win.

I know people say it every year, but Nebraska should be very good.
I guess until they prove it, I will say that we have their number. ;)
 
#9      

illini80

Forgottonia
I was more than willing to give BB a long leash for turning the program around and I have no problem with what he has done. However the changing landscape seems to significantly increase the pressure to get better quickly. So far we have added 2 teams to the conference that would likely be losses if we played them this year. USC will always be a tough game to win, but UCLA is a level we need to get to soon if we are to be what I expected when BB was hired. (Yes I know they had a few rough years, but I think that is mostly behind them.) I really want to see 6 wins this year.
 
#10      

Joel Goodson

dawgville
I was more than willing to give BB a long leash for turning the program around and I have no problem with what he has done. However the changing landscape seems to significantly increase the pressure to get better quickly. So far we have added 2 teams to the conference that would likely be losses if we played them this year. USC will always be a tough game to win, but UCLA is a level we need to get to soon if we are to be what I expected when BB was hired. (Yes I know they had a few rough years, but I think that is mostly behind them.) I really want to see 6 wins this year.

No guarantee that we're gonna be playing either of the newcomers (or other new adds). Have to wait until the dust settles. But, yeah, it's not get easier.

Our staff has good (or better) coaching chops. Recruiting is the key. As long as we keep moving up the recruiting food chain, we'll be competitive. Every fan wants it be quicker, but we were in a deep hole and staff aren't magicians. Most 18 yos are gonna opt for a sure thing over risk (older folks too, lol). We definitely need to move the program into more stable territory. Breaking out of doormat mode is job 1 (I consider this a multi-year process). Agreed, 6 wins minimum this season is really important. Need that momentum.
 
#13      

Cook

Richmond, VA
:ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

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#14      

My pet peeve
I believe excitement inside the stadium starts outside the stadium. Grange Grove is a step in the right direction. There are other schools that would kill to have the parking situation that we have. Yet in a money grab they create a situation where we are spread far apart. Often in small lots. I shake my head in disgust as I walk by these practically empty feeling season pass lots. Reserve only enough that you sell then open the rest to game day. Bring everyone closer and pack them in. The excitement and energy it will generate will not only carry into the stadium but it will excite people to come back to more games. Which in turns means more ticket sales that more than makes up that lost revenue.
End rant
 
#15      
if I were single, I’d be down there for every game. Alas, I’m married with 2 under 2. If I make it down once I’d be lucky. (I am planning to support the team in Ann Arbor this fall.) I imagine this is the common reality when your alumni base is 3 hours away. The spirit is willing. The time/money/family/other obligations make it difficult.
 
#16      
Whether you like the old curmudgeon or not, he ain't wrong here. During my college years at Illinois and while still living in Illinois 25 years thereafter, I rarely missed a home game. Since I I moved south, I learned I'm an SEC kinda fan. Very vocal. GO ILLINI!
 
#17      
This is a really hard ask. It’s been 30 years of rotten football. Of the 70 current Power 5 conference members, Illinois is 66th in winning percentage in that span. Basically two generations of football fans have been lost due to an unrelentingly awful product.

Football games aren’t fun to go to. A ton of work could go into making the fan experience better. From concessions to entertainment before, during and after the game to the game day music (hint: you have a world class marching band), but in the end none of that really matters until the product on the field is fixed.

This isn’t a “chicken and egg” mystery. When Illinois consistently puts bowl teams back on the field, the fans will come back. Until then it’s just trying to put window dressing around a car crash.
 
#18      
Tate has a point that Illinois will need to make head way in recruiting. I think Lovie brought better and bigger athletes than his predecessor but not significantly enough. BB seems to be hitting the instate targets but not really the stars. Consistent recruiting rankings in the 50-60 range without impact players is going to get you in the 4-6 win seasons at best.
 
#19      
Tate has a point that Illinois will need to make head way in recruiting. I think Lovie brought better and bigger athletes than his predecessor but not significantly enough. BB seems to be hitting the instate targets but not really the stars. Consistent recruiting rankings in the 50-60 range without impact players is going to get you in the 4-6 win seasons at best.
You can't really pull much better talent than BB has with how horrible this team has been, eventually he's going to have to get his recruits old and win 9+ games. Lovie showed promise in year 4, but ultimately failed in what should have been his best season in year 5. There is a very small window in years 3-4-5 where BB will need to win a whole lot of games to turn this ship around for good.
 
#20      
A few thoughts RE: fan support...

1) At the end of the day, it starts with winning. The fact that we can even mathematically COMPARE our fan support to a school like Iowa or Wisconsin is astounding and speaks to (A) just how many Illini fans there actually are out there numerically and (B) how loyal a good chunk of us are. Those two schools have experienced the type of success over LITERAL generations that breed love for their teams to the point that people revolve their social lives around their football programs. I am desperate for us to get there, but it will take a lot of bowl games in a row.

2) With that said, it WILL NOT take that much for our fans to come back in pretty significant numbers. Even just HIRING Lovie led to a sold out and electric Memorial Stadium vs. UNC in 2016. How was this support rewarded? A demoralizing beatdown and several years of barely any progress. Our fans are willing to get just as into Illini football as our rivals are with their programs, but you simply cannot expect more than about 30-40k to consistently sign up for psychological torture, lol.

3) The whole population argument is absurd. Even forgetting that the Chicago Area is not very far (I have made the trip more than a few times now in 2 hours and 30 minutes with a stop, and folks in the western/southwestern sides of the metro would have an even easier trip), people just do not plan a road trip like that and spend that kind of money to watch your team get smoked. If we were good, those people would make it work. Even with that said...

4) The Central Illinois population is much bigger than anyone seems to want to acknowledge, and we have more than enough fans in this area alone to fill a 60k-seat stadium if we had an okay product. The Champaign metro alone has over 220k people (compared to 175k in Iowa City or 160k in State College...). Bloomington adds 170k, Springfield is over 200k, Decatur is 100k, Danville is 75k and Peoria is almost 400k. Even before counting truly rural populations that are even closer to the stadium, you have several combined metro areas within in a VERY reasonable drive with a total population of 1.2 million people. Once you add on the one-weekend-a-year fans from Chicago, Rockford, the Quad Cities, the Metro East, etc. who will trickle in for games here and there, there is just no way a good Illini football program wouldn't fill a 70k-seat stadium almost immediately if fans actually had hope.

5) The one thing we CAN control YESTERDAY is the tailgating atmosphere, and as others have said ... that matters. A lot. People need to view going to Memorial Stadium as being about WAY more than Illini football itself. Talk to anyone who has tailgated at Indiana while they're bad, and they'll still say it's a great tailgating setup. Grange Grove was an astonishing improvement from what existed before, but it is just one step in the right direction. An epic tailgating setup with plenty of places to buy beer and food all around the stadium is good for, at minimum, 5k extra fans per game either buying tickets just in case (since they'll already be there) or deciding they'll just buy one last minute and go in since they're already tailgating. To put this last point in perspective, an Iowa City police officer once told me that if a game is sold out (at their 65k-seat stadium), estimates are usually that approximately 120k people are tailgating ... you build an epic enough atmosphere, and SOME of those people will wind up in the stadium.

In summary, the potential has always been there ... beautiful stadium, tons of space, huge student body, large population within driving distance and DEMONSTRATED passionate fandom in other sports like basketball. For all of this talk about football being a tougher nut to crack, I have literally never met an Illini basketball fan that had a different favorite football team (a problem Indiana faces with reversible jacket Notre Dame fans). We first have to continue to make the gameday experience at Memorial Stadium desirable enough that fans just want to be there because it's fun (I sat at a packed Wrigley Field last Saturday, and it was not because the Cubs are good!), and we have to continue to improve the product on the field. BB has the chops for the job, IMO, but it doesn't look like we will be taking the Zook route of an infusion of talent "above our station" ... we will have to scrap a few surprising bowl seasons over the next 2 or 3 and hope this staff's recruiting improves proportionately.
 
#22      
Tate has a point that Illinois will need to make head way in recruiting. I think Lovie brought better and bigger athletes than his predecessor but not significantly enough. BB seems to be hitting the instate targets but not really the stars. Consistent recruiting rankings in the 50-60 range without impact players is going to get you in the 4-6 win seasons at best.
Lovie dug a pretty deep hole - he alienated a lot of HS coaches and more or less ignored Illinois HS players toward the end, was terrible at PR and was just a bad coach who coached boring teams without any identity. BB is much better in every aspect.
 
#25      

mhuml32

Cincinnati, OH
Bill Connelly posted his Big Ten West preview today. It's behind a paywall so I'll only share his general record predictions and not all of the details (available to those with ESPN+).

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