UI football looks ahead

The Big Ten released all eight league games Illinois will play during the 2015 season on Monday. So, with the exception of two nonconference games for 2015, we know who all of Illinois’ opponents are for the next three seasons. Beat writer MATT DANIELS offers his take on Monday’s news, along with a look at the next two seasons’ worth of schedules:

  2013
Date    Opponent    Time
Aug. 31    vs. S. Illinois    TBA
Sept. 7    vs. Cincinnati    TBA
Sept. 14    vs. Washington+    5 p.m.
Sept. 28    vs. Miami (Ohio)    TBA
Oct. 5    at Nebraska    11 a.m.
Oct. 19    vs. Wisconsin    7 p.m.
Oct. 26    vs. Michigan St.    2:30 p.m.
Nov. 2    at Penn State    TBA
Nov. 9    at Indiana    TBA
Nov. 16    vs. Ohio State    TBA
Nov. 23    at Purdue    TBA
Nov. 30    vs. Northwestern    TBA
+Soldier Field, Chicago

Comment: Illinois won’t leave the state until October. The Illini will take their two farthest Big Ten road trips in the span of a month — Nebraska on Oct. 5 and Penn State on Nov. 2 — to places where they are a combined 2-12. The start to the Big Ten schedule is not kind. If Tim Beckman’s squad can pull off an upset of Cincinnati (new coach Tommy Tuberville inherits a program that is 47-18 the last five seasons) in only the second meeting between the schools, it’s not too much of a reach to say Illinois could head into October with a 3-1 record. That’s a big if, though.

2014
Date    Opponent
Aug. 30    vs. Youngstown State
Sept. 6    vs. Western Kentucky
Sept. 13    at Washington
Sept. 20    vs. Texas State
Sept. 27    at Nebraska
Oct. 4    vs. Purdue
Oct. 11    at Wisconsin
Oct. 25    vs. Minnesota
Nov. 1    at Ohio State
Nov. 15    vs. Iowa
Nov. 22    vs. Penn State
Nov. 29    at Northwestern

Comment: Visits by Iowa and Penn State make up for an otherwise-lackluster home schedule. The five road dates aren’t favorable, either, except the trip to Seattle. And we’re just listing that one for the view from Husky Stadium of Lake Washington and the mountains. Breathtaking. Especially since renovations to the venerable stadium will be finished in time for the 2013 Washington season opener. The Western Kentucky game is one to keep in the back of your mind. Bobby Petrino, despite his personal problems and seeming inability to stay in one place very long, has a track record of turning around college programs. The Hilltoppers could be next.

2015 (incomplete)
Date    Opponent
Sept. 12    vs. Kent State
Sept. 19    vs. Western Illinois
Oct. 3    vs. Nebraska
Oct. 10    at Iowa
Oct. 24    vs. Wisconsin
Oct. 31    at Penn State
Nov. 7    at Purdue
Nov. 14    vs. Ohio State
Nov. 21    at Minnesota
Nov. 28    vs. Northwestern

Comment: Nebraska fans became familiar with Champaign last December, passing by on Interstate 74 en route to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game. Expect a lot of red in the stands at Memorial Stadium because Nebraska fans travel in droves. Plus, it’s the Cornhuskers’ first trip to Champaign since 1986, Tom Osborne’s team rolling 59-14. Appealing home games against Wisconsin, Ohio State and Northwestern should help the gate. Darrell Hazell rocketed his success at Kent State, which will play Illinois for the first time, into the top job at Purdue this season. Beckman & Co. get their second crack against a Mid-American Conference school. The first one went all right. Illinois beat Western Michigan 24-7 in last year’s season opener.
 

Comments

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Illini1973 wrote on June 04, 2013 at 3:06 am

Will Beckman & Co. even be around in 2015?  Or 2014 for that matter??  I think/hope not.

jjohnson wrote on June 04, 2013 at 10:06 am

What a great fan to be hoping for failure in '13. History: new head coaches at Illinois have had some disastrous first years; if you were really a '73 Illini, you would recall that. (See, e.g., White, Mike; Turner, Ron;  Zook, Ron.)

Bear8287 wrote on June 04, 2013 at 11:06 am

From an irrational, emotional level, I "get" why some Illini fans are hoping for a trainwreck season in football.

From a logical standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense.  Ron Zook's teams were coming off of two bowl winning seasons and look at the difficulty that Mike Thomas had in finding a new coach.  If the Illini tank this year, do you think that job becomes any easier?  What will happen to recruiting?  How many different sets of coaches can a program take in a 6 year time period?

If the hole gets deeper this year, the hole just gets deeper.  It will only take longer to climb out of it.

Let's get behind this team and hope for the best this season. Any movement in a positive direction is a good sign.

calvin wrote on June 04, 2013 at 2:06 pm

can we even beat SIU this season?............if not, it doesn't matter, he must go.....probably couldn't have beaten them if Jerry Kill was still there......who knows, maybe Thomas learned something from this fiasco

pberg wrote on June 05, 2013 at 7:06 am

Mine is not irrational thought.  My opinion is borne out of watching Illinois Football for 5 decades and the results pretty much all the same.  Up for a season maybe two but nothing consistent.  The only consistent thing about Illinois Football is the inconsistency.  Please pardon me for being underwhelmed by this program who can only recruit players who more successful programs dont even consider.  The Illini football program better be able to get a coach who can come in here and get recruits to come to Champaign to win on a consistent basis.  I have tried being positive for 50 years pardon me once again if I cannot get hyped for a season where the wins will be few and far between

TheChiefLives wrote on June 07, 2013 at 9:06 am

I'll go to every game for at least a half, but it's a no-pressure sort of year.  Tailgating is gonna be the bigger draw than the games by far!

Bookworm46 wrote on June 05, 2013 at 11:06 am

Matt, the NG is no longer saying cities when talking sports, but actually supporting the UI in general.  Under 2015, you say Nebraskas is coming "to Champaign."  It should be to campus, to Illinois, to Champaign-Urbana, to University of Illinois, ....  The entire several week NCAA tennis coverage managed never to use the word Urbana except at the beginning of the article: Urbana.  ....  Once that woman with the ghastly hair did say Urbana:  "Champaign and Urbana park districts"....  Otherwise, even in the full-page A-Z section, the U word was never mentioned.  It was nice to see that the sports department and the NG is no longer trying to be so divisive and villifying, if not actually ignoring, Urbana.  So no more "Champaign's Memorial Stadium in Champaign".  The NG is going to support the ENTIRE campus and just not the SW part of it.

TheChiefLives wrote on June 07, 2013 at 8:06 am

Yeah!  That's right!  I'm going to start calling the Hall the house of 'Bana!  That sounds WAY better than the House of 'Paign!

You go to tOSU, you're going to Columbus.

Going to Lincoln?  You're in Huskerland.

Madison has its Mad House.

How 'bout Happy Valley in University Park?

The 12th Man in College Station?

Gainsville?

Tuscaloosa?

Ann Arbor?

ESPN, CBS, and BTN say, "Welcome to the Assembly Hall/Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois."

Sports fans know AND follow the cities that the teams are in.  Just the way it is.  Pick your battles.

Nice Davis wrote on June 09, 2013 at 5:06 pm

What a weird rant. Huh.