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Illinois has waited 33 years for this moment

12,026 days to be exact

Brad Repplinger // TCR

Wow. What a breath of fresh air.

I don’t think any of our writers would have predicted this.

Going into the season, and I can speak for all of us, winning one of these three games — Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota — would have gotten us to a bowl game. Now there is a chance, when you bring in Nebraska, to go 4-0 against the quadrangle of hate.

The Illini are sitting at 5-1 and one game away from a bowl game and October has only just begun.

It truly is spooky season.

I just can’t get this tweet of my head:

It got me thinking. Has it really been that long?

John Mackovic was in his second season and beat Iowa and Wisconsin in the same year, a feat that wasn’t accomplished until Saturday, 12,026 days later.

A lot has happened since then. Here are my top 33.

The World

33. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989.

32. The Soviet Union dissoluted on December 26th 1991.

31. In order, Lithuania, Namibia, Yemen, Georgia, Croatia, Slovenia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Latvia, Macedonia, Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eritrea, Palau, East Timor, Serbia, Kosovo, and South Sudan all became countries after November 4th, 1989. That’s 28 countries to be exact.

30. The British Empire has had only 2 monarchs.


29. The Sears Tower (it will always be the name) was still the tallest building in the world.

28. The Orange Line opened to Midway Airport in 1993.

27. The Chicago Bulls won all 6 of their NBA Championships.

Michael Jordan celebrates winning championship v. Utah Jazz Photo by Fernando Medina/ NBAE/ Getty Images

26. The Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs both broke MLB-leading World Series droughts, the Sox in 2005 and the Cubs in 2016.

25. The Chicago Fire and Chicago Sky were not founded yet.


24. The Game Boy was released into the North American market in July of 1989.

23. John Madden Football was released for the Sega Genesis in December of 1990.

22. The top song on the Billboard Top 100 for the week of November 4th, 1989 was Listen to Your Hear by Roxette.

21. Ask Jeeves was released on the internet on June 3rd, 1989.

College Football

20. NBC didn't start broadcasting Notre Dame’s games until 1991.

19. Bill Curry was still the Head Coach at Alabama, They would go through 4 more coaches until Nick Saban was hired.

18. The Big 8 had 8 teams, the Big 10 had 10 teams, and the Pac-10 had 10 teams.

17. Texas wasn’t in the Big 12, Miami and Florida State weren’t in the ACC, and South Carolina wasn’t in the SEC.

16. The Big East didn’t sponsor football until 1991, meaning current Big 10 teams, Penn State and Rutgers, played as Independents.

15. Alabama played Auburn for the first time at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn's home stadium, on December 2nd, 1989.

Photo Credit:

The Big 10

14. In 1990, the Big 10 added Penn State, creating the worst conference logo known to man.

13. Since Michigan beat Seton Hall in 1989, only one team from the Big Ten has won 1 national championship game, failing in 9 of their 10 attempts.

12. The Barry Alvarez era of Wisconsin football started in 1990.

11. The Kirk Ferentz era of Iowa football started in 2004.

10. The Big 10 conference only started its championship game in 2011. Since then 8 teams have made the championship game. Ohio State leads the east with 6 entries. Wisconsin leads the west, also with 6 entries.

Out of the West, only Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northwestern have made it to the Championship game. In the last 365 days, Illinois has beaten all 3 of those teams.

Illinois Football since 1989

Illinois Fighting Illini v USC Trojans Photo by Bernstein Associates/Getty Images

9. Illinois has gone 156-229-2 overall and 87-175-2 in the Big Ten.

8. Illinois has had 9 winning seasons, 7 head coaches, and 12 bowl appearances in the last 33 years.

7. Illinois has ended the season ranked 4 times since the 1989 season

6. Illinois has beaten Wisconsin 8 times since 1989, including a streak of 4 games between 1989 and 1992. Wisconsin still holds the record at 44-39-7.

5. Illinois has beaten Iowa 7 times since 1989, including a streak of 3 games between 1993 and 1995. Illinois now holds the record at 39-37-2.

4. Illinois has had 2 quarterbacks go to the NFL since 1989, Jeff George in 1990, and Kurt Kittner in 2002.

3. Illinois has claimed 2 conference titles since 1989: 1990 and 2001.

2. For the first time since 2011, Illinois has had a coach with consecutive 5-win seasons. John Mackovic and Lou Tepper had a 5+ win streak from 1988 to 1995. Since then it has happened 3 times. Ron Turner from 1999 to 2002 and Ron Zook from 2007-8 and 2010-11. Before Ron Zook’s consecutive 6+ win seasons, Illinois hadn’t had consecutive seasons with the same coach and 6+ wins since John Mackovic won 6+ games between 1988 and 1991.

1. For the first time in 33 years. Illinois beat both Iowa and Wisconsin. If Illinois beats Minnesota this week, Illinois will have beaten those three teams for the first time since 1983.

This team is magical.