No one associated with Illinois football was happy this past weekend. Not the coaches, not the players, and definitely not the fans. But what will the response be? We can’t speak for the team, but we do have a way to gauge the fans’ thoughts on their possible attendance at the next Illini home game.
After the Homecoming loss, what will it take for you to attend the #Illini's next home game, Nov. 2 vs. Minnesota? #IlliniPulse— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) October 15, 2018
Several of the first few responses were from the stalwart fans who’ve been through this before and are ready to keep toughing it out.
I attended my first Illini game in 1977 so I’ve seen good and bad. I’ve lived through the Eason, Trudeau, George, Rice, Howard & Juice Eras but also Tepper, Beckman and Lovie (so far). I’m still there every week.— Ryan McCoy (@RyanMcCoy_12) October 15, 2018
I’ll keep doing #illini edits no matter what. This doesn’t discourage me one bit. Ride or die Illini.— Alcantara_Edits (@AlcantaraEdits) October 15, 2018
But it was clear that the impact of a homecoming blowout loss had left its mark on a fan base hungry for even the slightest sign of life from Illinois football.
October 15, 2018
Dad’s weekend with my daughter. Then I’m done.— Stan Rull (@stanrull) October 15, 2018
Ticket prices way too high for such a bad team. Even at Soldier Field they could only draw 21,000 but I saw online prices of $60-80 so what did they expect?— Ajax871 (@Ajax871) October 15, 2018
This loss hurt worse than most. It’s one thing to get blown out in a game that we’re not supposed to keep close, but homecoming is supposed to be that one game where anything is possible, even against vastly superior teams. So an uninspired performance against a conference peer leading to a 39-point loss is absolutely crippling. That said, we’ve been there as a fan base before.
I will still attend - Dad’s weekend and haven’t missed a game in a long time. Root thru the bad years hope for a good year— JK (@JK1582) October 15, 2018
I'll be there no matter what. It's about the time with my son enjoying football. No matter what the outcome.— Phillip J Gawthorp (@WeAre1VGH) October 15, 2018
I am a lifelong fan so I'm there withe other dedicated 30k.— Lenny Chevere (@ChevereLenny) October 16, 2018
Many fans also indulged in the though experiment of how much they would need to be paid to attend the game, much less shelling out any of their own hard-earned cash to watch the Illini in person.
How much would they pay me?— Ditkanate (@Ditkanate) October 15, 2018
Pay me— Zach Youngblood (@zcyoungblood) October 15, 2018
Free tickets and a Limo ride to and from. And the tickets on the West side so I can hear the band better. I’ll buy a hotdog, popcorn, and a pretzel. That should be good!— Chuck Gordon (@GTCSMustang24) October 15, 2018
Few Illini fans expected to see a finished product on the field last week, but everyone at least hoped to see signs that play was improving. What we got was the exact opposite, and a performance that was likely worse than what we would’ve seen had the 2017 Illini taken the field instead. It’s hard to preach patience when progress doesn’t appear to be happening, but we can’t do anything else besides hope that experience will cure what currently ails the Illini.
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