Memorial Stadium Game Day Experience

#476      
Mrs. Illiniguy74 and I have been residents of Georgia for 22 years now. We've learned to appreciate great pork barbeque. We've considered trying Black Dog when we get back to Champaign. How does it stack up?
In my opinion its as good of barbeque that you can find in this part of the country. I've never found better in this state. Though I cannot say if it isn't basically average when you compare it to the major BBQ hotspots of the country.

I doubt you'll be disappointed if you go though. Its quite good stuff.
 
#477      

Konnie

Western Suburbs
In my opinion its as good of barbeque that you can find in this part of the country. I've never found better in this state. Though I cannot say if it isn't basically average when you compare it to the major BBQ hotspots of the country.

I doubt you'll be disappointed if you go though. Its quite good stuff.
I have been to both Black Dog and Hickory River Smokehouse and both were very good.
 
#478      
Yep! Black Dog is good. After that, I would head on down to the Custard Cup with the kids. Man, they have good I.C.
 
#479      
In my opinion its as good of barbeque that you can find in this part of the country. I've never found better in this state. Though I cannot say if it isn't basically average when you compare it to the major BBQ hotspots of the country.

I doubt you'll be disappointed if you go though. Its quite good stuff.
As a BBQ connoisseur, I can confirm. Just as good as 90% of anything you'll find down south. Far better than anything I ever found when I was living in AZ or now in CO.
 
#481      
I agree. I really respect Robert and love his work, and I admit that he probably has as good of an understanding of the state of Illinois athletics as anyone. But him simplifying this issue down to a faction of fans that said "not a cent" for whatever condition and somehow convincing the masses to go along with them sounds like a bit of a conspiracy theory. Not all Illinois fans are on message boards or Twitter or Facebook consuming toxic reactions to Illinois athletics.

Rather, I think we need to look at this as a perfect storm that has crushed enthusiasm for our football team due to many, many factors, some more easily controllable than others. Poor performance. Lacking amenities for the stadium. Sometimes odd ticket prices. Depressed student attendance leading to generations of alumni that have no desire to come back down to attend football games (a point that I hadn't really realized but I think it makes all the sense in the world). The list goes on and on.

Two points I'd make about the students as well. I know picking a college for their sports team can be a relatively silly reason for a decision that will shape the rest of your life. But for some, it happens. Building excitement from following a college team can build your enthusiasm for going to that school. Maybe you still have many good, practical reasons for choosing that university other than sports. But it could be the sports that makes some fall in love with a school. To that point, these prospective students out there who prioritize football and would end up showing great enthusiasm and support for our football team are getting, are getting captivated by other teams. Compared to schools in some other regions of the country, there are countless options for high level academic institutions in our region that have excellent football culture. Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Michigan, OSU, even Iowa. I just think that the huge football fans over the past 20 years are going to be more likely to go to one of those schools because they grow up cheering for those teams because they have been good. I know my experience in high school in the Chicago area there were barely any known Illinois fans. Every supported one of those teams I mentioned. This isn't the problem. Its one of many.

On a related point, and one that I think has a huge effect that is rarely talked about (out of a fair concern from the conversation turning xenophobic): international students. It looks like currently 1 out of 5 students at Illinois are international students. That is a massive number. These students come to Illinois with no experience in American football culture. It is a completely new thing to them. Surely, I'm sure many come with baffled with our country's obsession with the sport. Now maybe its not impossible to get them to buy into coming to games. But I imagine its a whole lot harder to get them to buy in if the team stinks and the hype is down. So we probably have been looking at 10-15 years of one fifth of the student body coming in, maybe going to one or two games their freshman year, and then never returning, because why would they? This isn't the problem. Its one of many.

But why do I think its a major problem for Illinois in particular? Look at other schools. We've been comparing ourselves to Kansas this whole season. Why does their attendance snap back up to capacity so quickly? Look at the numbers. We have one in five students being international students. They have roughly one in twenty. Robert has compared us to Iowa State. Why has their attendance improved so quickly when they are good and our doesn't? They have 8% international students, we have 20%.

Finally, why do I think this has a lot to do with it when we are only talking about a fraction of our student body? Let's compare ourselves to a few other schools. If I were to say "think of two other schools in a similar boat to Illinois that are massive flagship state institutions with very good academics and a massive international student population," I think we would all think of the same two schools: Cal, and UCLA. What do these schools have in common with Illinois? Terrible football attendance. In fact, we have spent so much time comparing ourselves to Kansas, but UCLA has had just as much of an incredible resurgence this season that we should be comparing Illinois to. Lets look at their attendance numbers at the 90k+ seat Rose Bowl: 27,143, 33,647, 29,344, 41,343, 42,038, 43,850, and 44,430 as a top 12 ranked team with hopes of reaching the CFP. Those are Illinois numbers. Yes their stadium is off campus, but I'm sure if we were talking about Cal we'd see the same thing. Rather than Kansas and Iowa State, Cal and UCLA are our peers in facing these kind of football problems.

So while Robert has had an exorbitant amount of interactions with adult Illinois fans over the past 15 years, I guarantee you he is not mingling with the students that much. The students aren't failing to show up do to some "Team Eyeball" campaign over the past 10 years. As I have demonstrated, we are now a university with a massive population who have no interest in American football culture and who leave the state and country after graduation, and another large chunk of the population who are more academically focused and did not come to Illinois to support the sports, and suddenly we are talking about a school with a fraction of the football-interested population that you would expect. Their lack of interest to coming to games as students and spilling over to post-grad years, combined with all of the other logistical issues we face are the collective reason we have the lack of support that we do.
There was an effort among academia (think liberal arts) who tried to make UI into a U of Chicago model. They were anti chief etc. So, it looks like from the outside that this may be turning around. Add on to that an effort to recruit IL kids this will eventually make a difference.
 
#483      
There was an effort among academia (think liberal arts) who tried to make UI into a U of Chicago model. They were anti chief etc. So, it looks like from the outside that this may be turning around. Add on to that an effort to recruit IL kids this will eventually make a difference.
Yep, I will never forget meeting a (then-) current Illinois student a party in college, and he was literally practically bragging that Illinois "isn't a sports school." This was around 2014, so it could have been an understandable defense mechanism against the Illini being terrible at everything, but I remember thinking how bizarre any Big Ten student would say something like that. The "UChicago Model" you referenced - which I have ZERO problem believing was present at U of I at one time! - is so incredibly pretentious, annoying and most of all counterproductive. Go to the University of Michigan's campus and see how many people think their intense backing of athletics takes away from their academic prestige.
 
#485      

MoCoMdIllini

Montgomery County, Maryland
Yeah, my good friend lives in Downtown Pasadena. He said there are at least 15 USC fans for every UCLA fan ... it would literally be like if Bradley were a Big Ten rival and we played our basketball home games in Bloomington, lol.
I remember driving through Malfunction Junction on my way to Santa Monica and found myself wondering how UCLA students put up with going up that way for a game.
 
#486      
I once considered UCLA to be a pretty good comparison to Illinois as far as "dynamics" go (academics, state population, media markets, pressure for instate recruits, etc.) ... but the more I learn about their situation, the more unique challenges they seem to face. I also used to think "big cities" just generally didn't care about college sports, but the more I have traveled around the country the more I have realized that Chicago actually has a TON of college football/basketball fans compared to places like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, LA, San Francisco, etc. We should be thankful of that, and that our students don't have to go to a stadium that far away!
 
#487      

Shief

Champaign Area
In my opinion its as good of barbeque that you can find in this part of the country. I've never found better in this state. Though I cannot say if it isn't basically average when you compare it to the major BBQ hotspots of the country.

I doubt you'll be disappointed if you go though. Its quite good stuff.
redwing, Black Dog is good but have you ever had 17th Street down in Marion? I travel down to Kentucky and Arkansas a few times a year for work and try to stop at 17th St, if time is available.
 
#488      
redwing, Black Dog is good but have you ever had 17th Street down in Marion? I travel down to Kentucky and Arkansas a few times a year for work and try to stop at 17th St, if time is available.
17th Street BBQ is in Murphysboro. They have do have a satellite in Marion. I am a big fan. They lean a little Carolina BBQ--more vinegar and mustard.
 
#491      
In my opinion its as good of barbeque that you can find in this part of the country. I've never found better in this state. Though I cannot say if it isn't basically average when you compare it to the major BBQ hotspots of the country.

I doubt you'll be disappointed if you go though. Its quite good stuff.
I can think of two places in Chicago with better BBQ than Black Dog.
 
#495      
Good barbeque doesn't need sauce.
After going to New York and, more importantly, Italy lately ... this is how I feel about pizza. I like sausage or veggie or whatever, but if a place is ACTUALLY known as a great pizza joint, I'll just get cheese. That's THE pizza that has for some reason been branded as like "boring" by Americans, which is really lame, lol.
 
#497      
Good barbeque doesn't need sauce.
Correct, but good sauce is enhancing and crummy sauce is . . . degrading. Same is true of cake/frosting, fries/Mayo, bean soup/cornbread, burgers/cheese, bourbon/cocktails and many other combinations. In all cases if the base component is poor, the combination is too. A pig with lipstick is still a pig (and still good for BBQ).
 
#498      

Ransom Stoddard

Ordained Dudeist Priest
Bloomington, IL
Correct, but good sauce is enhancing and crummy sauce is . . . degrading. Same is true of cake/frosting, fries/Mayo, bean soup/cornbread, burgers/cheese, bourbon/cocktails and many other combinations. In all cases if the base component is poor, the combination is too. A pig with lipstick is still a pig (and still good for BBQ).
But does the lipstick add flavor and/or carmelization??? :)
 
#499      

pruman91

Paducah, Ky
But does the lipstick add flavor and/or carmelization??? :)
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There you go Ran ....................got me into a pondering mood again....I really didn't want to ponder today as I am in a pissed off mood from all the $$$ questions regarding the playoffs and then you had to post that ponderlicious post.........Uh oh.............................noooooo.....

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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........................

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Weakness regarding the fairer sex is and has been my downfall for soooooooooo many decades......I guess I need to give in to the pondering wandering temptations and enjoy what little life I have left here on this circular rockpile called Earth ......I really really should...........

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yes pru , that's what you should do as the experiment is in it's final chapter.......it's been fun and we all appreciate all the excitement this board and the Fighting Illini has brought us but we too are ruled by the mighty $$$$$$......and the check is cuming due , so party hearty as much as you can dear pru.

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Wow , now I've got something else to ponder !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!