The year is 2023. It’s September 2.
The freshmen on Illinois Football’s team were born in 2005, the seniors in 2001. The Marching Illini are playing, and 60,000 fans are pouring into Memorial Stadium as the defending College Football Playoff champions welcome the Toledo Rockets for the first game of the season.
Maybe it’s exaggerated, but Illinois will really be hosting Toledo for the teams’ first-ever meeting on September 2, 2023.
Toledo’s a MAC school, which is a little higher competition than some of Illinois’ recent Week 1 opponents, like Kent State, Murray State and Ball State (which is a MAC school, for what it’s worth, but still not so good).
Of course, Toledo has had some of the finest coaches in college football history, including Nick Saban, Matt Campbell, Gary Pinkel and Tim Beckman.
Illinois starts a home-and-home with Kansas the following week on September 9, traveling to Lawrence before a return trip in Champaign in 2024. And don’t forget about the renewal of Braggin’ Rights with Mizzou, beginning in 2026! Right around the corner!