Happy New Year! It's 2015 and, although we don't have flying cars yet, we have some cool stuff like the College Football Playoff and flask ties. We also have Illinois Athletics and for that we should all be grateful (?). Here's a list of Illini-related resolutions that will make YOU a better person.
New Year's Resolutions for Illinois Fans:
1. Stop tweeting at recruits
Social media is NOT a factor in recruiting. Players use twitter/instagram/etc to communicate with friends like normal human beings. In some cases, particular players may use social media to build their brand and gain attention. Don't fall for that trap anymore.
Instead, you can be tweeting words of encouragement to current players and commits/signees. They're the ones who actually decided to become Illini--treat them accordingly. Now that doesn't mean you shouldn't "follow" uncommitted recruits. After all, how else would you have seen Jalen Coleman-Lands' announcement?
2. Try to attend a football game in 2015
When was your last time at Memorial Stadium? Our Football program is so inconsistent it's maddening, but let's face it--they've improved over the last several seasons. Ticket prices will be low this year and the team may actually be kinda good.
So which game should you attend? Well, let's start by tossing out the non-conference games (Kent State, Western Illinois, and Middle Tennessee). We're also going to eliminate the two home games after October because freezing in the stands is no fun either. That leaves Nebraska (10/3) and Wisconsin (10/24 and Homecoming). Good opponents? Check. Nice weather? Potentially. Now just hope and pray that the games don't start at 11:00am.
3. Become an Illinois Volleyball fan
Head Coach Kevin Hambly has built a powerhouse in Champaign. The Big Ten is far and away the best volleyball conference in the nation and Illinois is one of the league's best teams. Thanks to the Spike Squad, Huff Hall may be one of the most electric atmospheres in college sports--attending a match is truly fun.
The Illini also have one of the nation's top recruiting classes coming in next fall. Led by #3 overall prospect Jordyn Poulter (#1 Setter), Hambly has secured commitments from two of the top 10 players and a total of three in the top 50. Oh, and he already has three 2016 commitments as well.
So if you only choose to do one of these suggestions, make sure you follow the Volleyball team. They deserve it.
Pro tip: that ticket stub from the Nebraska/Wisconsin Football game you're going to? You can use that to get into Volleyball games for free.
4. Give the Athletic Department Feedback
Did you have any complaints or suggestions after attending an Illinois game. It may seem a bit trivial, but let the athletic department know about it. Things don't change without input from the consumer. Tweet at Illinois Athletics and Mike Waddell (Senior Associate AD); it's literally their job to improve the game day atmosphere and environment. They will listen to what you have to say.
Speaking of feedback.
MIKE THOMAS--IF YOU'RE READING THIS, I WANT ONE OF THE '89 THROWBACK JERSEYS FROM THE MIZZOU GAME (preferably #25, size large). TAKE MY DAMN MONEY.