Lincoln Logs is an 11-part series from The Champaign Room's Brandon Birkhead explaining how the University of Illinois can go about building a winning football program.
Fan help teams win games. It helps in recruiting, and larger crowds leads to larger home field advantages. There is a direct correlation between attendance and wins in college football and sports across the world.
This is a chicken and the egg situation. Do good teams have fan support because they are good teams, or are good teams good because they have fan support?
I think it's both. Good teams have great fan support, which helps them to get better, but to have good fan support, that can help grow a program, a strong foundation of fans needs to be in place.
These are the fans the Illini need in these tough times. Foundation fans are the key.
The Illini need fans who will buy season tickets, regardless of the record. They need fans who will come out early in the morning, and stay all day to support the team, no matter how the team is playing.
The Illini need fans who can take losses in overtime against Michigan 67-65, or to Fresno State when a tipped pass landed in the hands of an offensive linemen, and still have the strength, courage, stupidity and loyalty to buy tickets again next year.
The Illini need fans who will show up to Memorial Stadium in the cold to watch the Illini, who will suffer all throughout the game, but still stand up and cheer loudly for the garbage time touchdown against Ohio State. They also need fans who will travel to road games, and take the ridicule from opposing fans, and support the team.
The Illini need these fans, because they are the foundation of the fan base. The University of Illinois has a large mobile fan base, as seen by our basketball support, but yet, football attendance at Illinois is low. This is mostly due to winning, but the Illini need fans right now to support the team. The Illini need fans to buy into the program and support the players and coaches.
The Illini are in a serious rut right now, and they will need these fans to keep coming to the games because these fanatic fans are going to be the foundation of what will hoplefully be a larger future fan base that can help the Illini grow.