While Illinois and Missouri play annually in basketball, the football teams haven't participated in their own ‘Arch Rivalry' since 2010. However if Lovie Smith had his way, that hiatus would end as soon as possible. The new Fighting Illini coach recently told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he'd like to renew the series because he's "always in favor of rivalries."
"I'm always in favor of natural rivalry games," Smith said. "So, yes, we would be in favor of that. We're gonna be recruiting some of the same players. We're both probably about the same distance from St. Louis. There's a reason why that rivalry used to be here, and I'm in favor of bringing all that back."
For this to become a reality, though, Illinois would need to cancel a future series with another school. Believe it or not, the Illini have actually finalized their non-conference schedules thru 2022, so the earliest possible date barring a change would be September 2023. I mean, Lovie Smith may not even be Illinois' coach by that time.
But would playing Missouri even make sense for the Illini? The Tigers have won the last six matchups between the two programs, and they hold an all-time advantage of 17-7. While the game could help with strength of schedule, it might not be completely worth it from a record standpoint. On the other hand, it would be pretty damn cool to see more neutral site games between the two sides.
Should the Illinois football renew their rivalry with Missouri? Make sure to cast your vote at the bottom, and let us know what you think in the comments section!
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Fighting Illini football lost out on one of their top defensive recruiting targets. Awodiran ended his recruitment on Friday by committing to Yale over Illinois, Duke, and Vanderbilt. He's the No. 870 overall player in the country.
The Missouri native tweeted that an announcement will come on Friday, though no exact time has been specified. Reports indicate that the choice will be either Illinois or Mizzou.
"We learned a lot more about our football team today," head coach Lovie Smith said after practice No. 7. "We're going to play a lot of 2:30 games when the weather will be hot, so we'll have to use this as our home field advantage. It's good work for our guys."
Thomas Pieters had zero hesitation. An Illinois alumnus representing Belgium in golf's return to the Olympics, Pieters did not even consider passing on a trip Rio.