Beckman's team gets early start for homecoming
CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois football team became used to 11 a.m. kickoffs last season.
Seven of the team’s 12 games were among the first batch of games college football fans woke up to last fall on Saturdays.
The first known time for a home football game during the 2014 season was announced Tuesday, when the Big Ten set times for all homecoming games within the league.
For Illinois, that means an 11 a.m. kickoff Oct. 25 when Minnesota visits Memorial Stadium.
It is the 104th homecoming game for the Illini, who are 44-57-2 in the program’s history in homecoming games. Illinois has lost its last two homecoming games, last emerging with a homecoming win after a thrilling 38-35 come-from-behind win against Northwestern on Oct. 11, 2011.
Illinois has played Minnesota 16 times on homecoming and sports an 8-7-1 record in such games against the Gophers.
Illinois has lost three straight homecoming games against Minnesota in 2008, 2003 and 1999 by a combined score of 100-37, with the last homecoming win against Minnesota coming during a 24-3 triumph in 1991.
The network that will televise the game has not been determined.
Tuesday’s announcement gives Illinois its third game time this season. Illinois will play at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at Nebraska in a game televised by BTN before kicking off at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at Ohio State in a game that either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 will carry.
“Those atmospheres are going to be awesome,” Illinois coach Tim Beckman said of the two night road games. “Honestly, I’d much rather play at 8 at night than 11 in the morning, but maybe that’s because of my background. At Oklahoma State we had a lot of night games because of the heat. I don’t want to play on Tuesday or Wednesday night like we did at Toledo in the MAC because (some of the games) started at 9, and we didn’t get off the field until 12 or 12:30 in the morning.”
Time for homecoming
Illinois and Minnesota will meet for the Illini’s homecoming at 11 a.m. Oct. 25. The Big Ten finalized homecoming game times for its other 13 league schools Tuesday. College football writer Matt Daniels breaks down the rest of the league’s homecoming slate, from best to worst:
1. Nebraska at Northwestern, 6:30 p.m., Oct. 18
Since Nebraska joined Big Ten in 2011, three games between these two teams have been decided by a combined seven points.
2. Northwestern at Penn State, 11 a.m., Sept. 27
Chance for Wildcats to earn second win at Beaver Stadium and erase memories of rough Big Ten season last fall.
3. Maryland at Wisconsin, 11 a.m., Oct. 25
If C.J. Brown can produce plays and the Terrapins’ defense does enough to bottle up Melvin Gordon, Badgers could be in trouble.
4. Iowa at Maryland, 11 a.m., Oct. 18
Terrapins might fare better in second Big Ten home game after Ohio State visits Oct. 4.
5. Wisconsin at Rutgers, 11 a.m., Nov. 1
Badgers will make first trip to Piscataway as two programs meet for the first time.
6. Illinois at Nebraska, 8 p.m., Sept. 27
Illini will go in as heavy underdogs in night game as another sellout crowd full of red will greet them in Lincoln.
7. Indiana at Michigan, 2:30 p.m., Nov. 1
Hoosiers put up points last year at the Big House in 63-47 loss, but Indiana hasn’t won in Ann Arbor since 1967.
8. Rutgers at Ohio State, 2:30 p.m., Oct. 18
Welcome to the Big Ten, Scarlet Knights.
9. Indiana at Iowa, 11 a.m., Oct. 11
Kevin Wilson’s offense might have a few Hawkeye supporters fretting, but first home game in almost a month ends well for Iowa.
10. Purdue at Minnesota, 11 a.m., Oct. 18
Gopher fans should love this game against hapless Boilermakers.
11. Michigan State at Indiana, 2:30 p.m., Oct. 18
Usually a team’s guest for homecoming is one fans might see a win against. No chance that happens this day in Bloomington.
12. Iowa at Purdue, 11 a.m., Sept. 27
Purdue’s Darrell Hazell still searching for first Big Ten win.
13. Wyoming at Michigan State, 11 a.m., Sept. 27
Spartans only school to hold homecoming against nonconference foe. A mediocre nonconference foe at that.