In my happy haze of the B1G Basketball Media Day this morning, I nearly forgot that we were still playing football. Luckily, the upcoming game on Saturday at home against Indiana is just what the doctor ordered to cure the downward spiral the Illini are currently suffering from.
After a much-needed bye week, Coach Beckman and the Illini can return to the comforts of Memorial Stadium and face the one opponent in the conference that is arguable worse than we are: the Hoosiers.
Both teams actually have the same overall record of 2-5, and both have yet to win a conference game. Clearly someone is going to be happy Saturday evening with their first conference win, and it better be Illinois.
Indiana has wins over Indiana State and Massachusetts at home. Though Charleston Southern is probably worse than both those teams, Illinois did beat Western Michigan, a team that might be a notch better than the other two. Regardless, the key is that both teams are winless on the road, and Illinois gets to be at home.
Beckman has to be a little relieved to have a soft team for Homecoming, but the pressure is still up there, because if he can’t pull of this win then people are going to be angry. So far we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt, as it is a transition for a team that really wasn’t that great last year. But, a home loss against Indiana isn’t going to fly.
The Illini are just 2-point faves for the game on Saturday, but I think the margin will be considerably higher. That doesn’t mean the whole season is going to turn around, it just means I think they’ll finally win Saturday.
- Illinois has faced the 23rd-toughest schedule so far this season, as Illini oppponents have a 22-13 record against FBS competition (not including their game against Illinois). Non-conference FBS foes Louisiana Tech (6-1), Arizona State (5-2) and Western Michigan (3-5) are a combined 14-8 overall this season.
- The first homecoming celebrated on Illinois’ campus was on Oct. 15, 1910, which the Illini won 3-0 over Chicago.
- This year’s game against Indiana marks the Illini’s 102nd Homecoming.
- Illinois has an all-time record of 44-55-2 on Homecoming.
- This is the 70th meeting between the Fighting Illini and the Indiana Hoosiers.
- The Illini have won four of the last five against the Hoosiers and hold a 45-21-3 overall series advantage against IU.
- Illinois also leads the series 29-8-1 margin in games vs. Indiana in Champaign.
- Illinois coach Tim Beckman has never faced the Hoosiers, while IU coach Kevin Wilson is 0-1 against the Illini.
The game will be at 11AM on the Big Ten Network.