Tuesday afternoon, we heard the unfortunate news that a team from Ohio will not be playing Illinois. At TCR, we thought that out of protest, we should be able to keep the Illibuck trophy instead of the cowardly Buckeyes.
But upon closer inspection of Brett McMurphy’s tweet, it was rather the Ohio Bobcats, not just another Ohio State University.
Ohio State adds 2025 home game w/THE Ohio University, @FBSchedules reports. Buckeyes will pay the Bobcats $1.9 million. Ohio moved back a 2025 game at Illinois to 2028 to accommodate OSU— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 19, 2023
This got me thinking.
Illinois has a knack for scheduling teams that have been forever in the dumps but miraculously become good right before they play the Illini, much like Kansas in this year, Virginia in 2021, South Florida in 2017-18, and North Carolina in 2015-16.
But what if Illinois used this as an opportunity to schedule teams that are on the decline? Gain an automatic win in 2025.
So without further ado here are the teams I would want Illinois to schedule in 2025 instead of Ohio University.
5. University of Alabama
After one quarter of play pic.twitter.com/bwgMRAt9Ds— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 16, 2023
Nick Saban has lost his program. This past weekend, Alabama rolled into Tampa Bay after benching Jalen Milroe in only the third game of the year. They only beat South Florida 17-3, in a game where this was the score two minutes before halftime.
Alabama’s starting quarterback Tyler Buchner was 5/14 for 34 years before being benched for Ty Simpson, who went 5/9 for 73 yards. This is a decline for a team that produced Mac Jones, Jalen Hurts, and Tua Tagovailoa. Alabama is on a decline. Give me Bama in 2025.
Besides, Michigan State might have Saban on the sidelines by then.
TCU isn't TCU of 2022. And they should have a spot open in 2025 with SMU moving to the ACC.
TCU indefinitely “pausing” its series with SMU after the 2025 game, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. The schools, located 35 miles apart, first met in 1915. This year’s game at TCU will be the 102nd meeting b/w the Horned Frogs & Mustangs in the Iron Skillet Rivalry— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 16, 2023
TCU is also only a 30-minute drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport — one of the few direct flights from Willard.
Dallas is also a large recruiting ground for football. Having a home and home series with TCU would be beneficial from all angles and, who knows, TCU might not be as good as they were in 2022. We are already seeing the decline now.
Deion may not even be at the school by then. Travis Hunter and Shadeur Sanders will probably be on an NFL roster. They have a game scheduled with Houston, which would most definitely be canceled in 2025 since both schools would be in the Big 12.
Also, Fox made this game personal when they ripped Big Noon from Grange Grove. Maybe, just maybe, the Deion effect carries into 2025, where the ranked Buffaloes come into Champaign only to be dissected by senior Luke Altmyer.
The more I think about it, this game does intrigue me. Both teams were at the bottom of the barrel in their respective conferences. And both teams have climbed up the chain — one quicker than the other, I’ll give you that.
Look, Houston is a P5 team with a spot open in 2025. Houston, while good in the AAC, will need some time to become good in the Big 12. Much like TCU, Houston has a deep recruiting base and allows Illinois to play in the southern part of the United States.
1. Washington State or Oregon State
Neither of these teams has a home beyond this season. When the season ends in January this year, both teams either need to find a home or find new matchups to fill their schedule. Recruiting at these schools will certainly fall whether or not the Pac-2 goes independent or merges with the Mountain West.
Either way, I would love for this to happen. Illinois gets a test early in the season, with schools that should see a decline in overall talent, all thanks to the tv networks.
This is a perfect time to schedule a game with the Cougs or the Beavers.
I will attempt to make either game if they play in Pullman or Corvallis.
- Notre Dame
- 10 Big Ten games (most likely outcome)