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College Football Playoff Final: Who should Illinois fans cheer for?

To root for the Big Ten or not, is this a real question?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon and Ohio State will kickoff the inaugural College Football Playoff Final at AT&T Stadium on Monday night.

Much to your surprise, Illinois did not make it to the CFB let alone the 'big game.' So, if you're watching and you probably are, who should you cheer for as an Illinois fan?

During the Rose Bowl, most college football fans wanted Oregon to advance to the CFB title game due to Jameis Winston on and off the field antics the past two season along with the war chant. Or maybe they didn't believe the Seminoles deserved to be in the playoff with a weak ACC or were still sour about the victory over Notre Dame. You can count me in on the last two, ok maybe more so the latter.

And, now tonight Illinois fans should cheer for them again.

Growing up in the Midwest, college sports fans are primarily taught to dislike two Big Ten schools: Ohio State and Michigan. Both boast several national titles and have, let's just say, rather vocal fan bases.

Illinois claims to have a rivalry with Ohio State, and even have the ILL-Buck trophy to reinforce it. Ohio State leads the series 66-30-4. It's not really a rivalry.

So, if it's not really a rivalry, why not root for a Big Ten school? Wouldn't it be better for the conference going into next season?

While having the national champion come from the very conference your favorite team is in does look nice, it also separates them from the pack. If you think coach Tim Beckman and company have trouble recruiting now, just think if Ohio State can show their 2015 title rings to recruits. Although, this is assuming they don't sell them.

Also, Ohio State and Minnesota are currently tied for second among Big Ten schools with seven national titles. Bet you didn't know that about the Golden Gophers. No one wants to hear about Ohio State trying to reach Michigan's 11 titles all offseason long.

So tonight think about your Midwestern roots, recruiting and Big Ten parity. I hope you'll be quacking along with me.

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