There are 10 days left until the Illinois Fighting Illini kick off the 2016 season in Memorial Stadium. If you're like us and are fed up with watching the same "Illinois Classic" game re-runs on BTN, you've been carefully calculating which football games you'll be attending this season. Along with the extensive ticket packages that DIA has so graciously provided to fans this season, we wanted to give Illini fans a comprehensive breakdown of how attractive every home game is.
You see, Illinois football games are like pizza. While there really is no such thing as bad pizza, some are more appealing than others. Here's how we ranked every
pizza Illinois home game, divided into tiers.
SORRY HONEY, YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO GET MARRIED WITHOUT US
1) Michigan State Spartans - November 5th, TBA, TV: TBA.
Depending on how this are playing out in the Big Ten, this game could be on the radar of the College Gameday crew. According to plan, Illinois will be coming off a Homecoming win against Minnesota (we're playing them on homecoming again!?), Michigan State will roll into Champaign having dismantled the Michigan Wolverines a week before, and fans could we witnessing a preview of the 2016 Big Ten Championship game.
2) Iowa Hawkeyes - November 19th, TBA, TV: TBA.
On the flip side, if Illinois happens to be floating in the 4-5 win region at this time in the season, a win against Iowa could be the team's best chance of making a bowl game this season. After last season's nail biter in Iowa City, the Illini could be poised to knock off a team from "Heartland America" for the second straight season. Bring extra blankets, this could be a chilly one. I wonder if Christian McCaffrey is available for rent...
CANCEL ALL MY APPOINTMENTS JANICE
3) North Carolina Tar Heels - September 10th, 6:30pmCT, TV: BTN.
After opening the season against Murray State, the first true "test" of the season comes against North Carolina in the second week of the season. With talk of Tim Beckman potentially returning to Champaign, this game is the benchmark for Coach Lovie Smith's first season on campus. Plus, it's an included game in the 3-Game Mini Pack (along with Minnesota and MSU).
METHADONE EXISTS FOR A REASON
4) Murray State Racers - September 3rd, 2:30pmCT, TV: BTN.
Remember how much "fun" the month of March was? Heck...remember the looming cloud of uncertainty and doubt after Bill Cubit was given a 2 year extension HOURS before the Soldier Field game last season? Remember how 1 WEEK before the football season the head coach was fired??? We now have an AD that has a plan and has already acted on it, and our head football coach is Love Freaking Smith. LET'S GET THIS SEASON STARTED!!!
HOMECOMING IS AGAINST MINNESOTA AGAIN THIS SEASON ISN'T IT...
5) Minnesota Golden Gophers - October 29th, 11:00amCT, TV: TBA.
For the second time in 3 seasons, yes it is. That 3-Game Mini Pack though...
FOR THE LOVE OF (DIETY OF YOUR CHOICE) DON'T LOSE THIS GAME
6) Purdue Boilermakers - October 8th, TBA, TV: TBA.
After the disaster that was the 2014 version of this game, last season was a nice breath of fresh air. However, this game finds itself in the "must win" category as it's not just a game against Purdue; it's a HOME game against Purdue.
2ND ANNUAL MAC-TION GAME
7) Western Michigan Broncos - September 17th, 3:00pmCT, TV: ESPNNews.
Regardless of the ESPNNews appearance (which apparently is a yearly thing now), this one will be tough one to get to given the later kickoff time for fans that live north of Chicago. However, this is a chance to see our team play against a coach we might have hired last season...
In reality, there is no such thing as a "bad" game at Memorial Stadium. If you have the opportunity to attend all 7 games, do it! Of all the games on the schedule this season, I see Western Michigan being one of the least popular/attractive. What are your thoughts?