This Saturday, the Illini face off against the Boilermakers in a protected rivalry clash in West Lafayette. The 1-3 Boilermakers and their first-time head coach head into Saturday with a chip on their shoulder.
Guess what? Ours is bigger than yours.
Right now, I know it’s hard to get super pumped about the Illini after the pretty meh beginning to the season. Sure, the expectations have yet to be met. And I know that the dominant “stand on their throats and rip up their flag” win has yet to come.
But that doesn’t mean that you, Illinois Land, shouldn’t be fired up about this game. It’s the perfect time to get yourself stirred up into an orange-and-blue frenzy over a football game, so soak it in.
Don’t believe me? Here are 10 reasons Illini fans should be extra pumped about week five.
*Before I get into the list, please note that there is heavy sarcasm in this post. Please be smart enough to discern the difference between overt, humorous pettiness and pride.*
Let’s not insult each other’s intelligence. Many of you came here because of your hatred for Ryan Walters.
For those who aren’t into the coaching staff machination process, Ryan Walters was the Illini Defensive Coordinator for the previous two seasons. Under his leadership, Illinois had arguably the best defense in the nation last year.
In wrestling parlance, this game could be called the “Devon Witherspoon on a pole match.” In this instance, both the current Illinois staff (which includes Spoon’s position coach Aaron Henry) and Purdue’s staff are both largely taking credit for the ascent of the 2023 NFL Draft’s fifth overall selection. On the recruiting trail, Walters is telling defensive back prospects that if they want to get developed into the next Witherspoon, they should come to West Lafayette.
(Keynodo Hudson has entered the chat.)
And, to any defensive back prospects reading my column...first of all, thank you. And secondly, Ryan Walters is obviously lying to you, so come to Illinois.
Ryan Walters didn’t get the Colorado job.
What a clown, right? Ryan played his football at Colorado. And he lost out on the job to a guy who had been the head coach at a school 2/3 of the country couldn’t point out on a map if you spotted them the state.
What, you couldn’t get hired in Boulder so you choose to go to the Hoosier State? Who actually does that?
Coach Prime is on ESPN more than Stephen A. Smith and Mike Greenberg combined. Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t even know who Coach Walt is. What a small-timer.
I mean, before this year, how often did Deion Sanders appear on ESPN?
What? All the time? Because he’s a legit sports celebrity?
Coach Walt is still a boring nickname!
Don’t forget about Kevin Kane and Cory Patterson.
Isaiah Williams didn’t leave with Cory Patterson. Gabe Jacas didn’t leave with Kevin Kane.
Kevin Kane was the odds-on favorite to become the Illini Defensive Coordinator. He held the job at SMU. Everyone thought he was a natural fit. Under his guidance, true freshman Gabe Jacas looked like Spartacus out there and Seth Coleman looked like he had played his way into his NFL potential. He’s a native Illinoisan who did an excellent job on the recruiting trail and on the field. So obviously Bret Bielema was going to choose him to succeed the departing traitor defensive coordinator, right?
Nope. Coach B went with a guy who played for him at Wisconsin in Aaron Henry. Thus far, Henry has taken some lumps. But he seems keen to make adjustments, and the young players in the secondary are improving week-over-week.
Right choice, who knows? But what I do know is that Kane wasn’t deemed worthy to be DC of an established team, so he had to go to a subpar program in an inferior state. Scrub.
And Coach Cory was the center of the HuSTLe movement. It brought the St. Louis region back into focus during the Lovie Smith years. His relationship with guys like Williams and Reggie Love helped them land in Champaign. And his ties to the region and charisma helped Illinois land players like James Frenchie, Shammond Cooper, Kaden Feagin, Aidan Laughery, and Brody Wisecarver. All of them were highly thought of recruits. Some have worked out, others have transferred. So thanks for putting in that work, big homie.
But now that Thad Ward has replaced you...LITTYVILLE IS BACK.
(Seriously, grab some stuff from Littyville LLC. They sponsor the flights of fancy of some of your favorite writers here at The Champaign Room.)
Anyway, where was I going? Oh, Littyville is back, and it’s better than HuSTLe. There have been a million rap songs with the word “Hustle” or “Hustler” in the hook or chorus. But how many are called Litty? One. This movement is one of a kind, and you left it to climb up Hamburger Hill with Ryan Walters. Good luck with that, homie.
Hudson Card made the wrong choice.
The superstar, all-world QB prospect left Texas because some other QB recruit showed up. And that heralded recruit isn’t even starting. What, is the quarterback room in Austin too crowded?
What? It actually is. Oh, my bad.
But really, you officially visited Illinois. Champaign is obviously the Austin, Texas of the Midwest. But you chose…West Lafayette, Indiana? That is, at best, the Amarillo, Texas of the Midwest. Just think, instead of playing in an Air Raid system that caters to your arm talent, you could be playing in Barry Lunney Jr.’s offense at Illinois…
You know what? We wanted Altmyer all along anyway.
NBC flexed this game to a streaming platform.
On the most recent episode of Oskee Talk, Drew Pastorek made all the key, salient points about why this is an abomination. Mostly because the game is on Peacock, not NBC.
And yet, NBC, the network that has 25 Chicago shows, 30 Law & Order shows, outdated, stale SNL, and maybe the one NFL game every week that matters, believes it has the editorial discretion to make good college football choices. You don’t.
This is one of those times when the ABI narrative may actually hold some water.
You know what? I’m going to blame Purdue for this. The wunderkind head coach has led the Boilermakers to a 1-3 start. You know, kinda like Sparty?
Yeah, it’s making me madder. But if it’s any consolation, our fearless leader Stephen Cohn detailed some of the best things for you to watch on Peacock. And he didn’t even mention 30 Rock and Parks and Rec which are way funnier than The Office…. Come fight me.
Illinois is 2-2 and Purdue is 1-3.
The Illini are clearly the vastly superior team. It’s not even close. Illinois is one whole game ahead of Purdue. Please, roast all of your Purdue alumni friends. They deserve it. I mean, 1-3? What kind of record is that? What do you have, a rookie head coach? Do you play tough non-conference opponents from the West Coast? Clown move, bro.
There is no excuse for last year’s Big Ten West champs are off to a 1-3 start. Was Jeff Brohm that dominant? Was Aidan O’Connell secretly John Elway? Or is Purdue’s program just a pathetic impression of football?
With Illinois being one whole game ahead of Purdue, I propose relegation. Jason Candle, congratulations to you and your program. Toledo should replace 1-3 Purdue in the Big Ten effective immediately. That would bring Illinois to 1-1 in the conference. It’s a win-win.
It’s their homecoming. Let’s ruin it.
2013 was my last trip to Illini Homecoming. I went to the game but left at halftime. Why? Well, Illinois wound up getting a 42-3 prison beating from Michigan State. It was humiliating. I was with a bunch of MSU dudes, and they didn’t even take Illinois seriously as a conference foe.
(Upside, I took them to the original Kam’s without properly preparing them for the floor or the smell. So, revenge?)
Well, this weekend is Purdue’s Homecoming. Let’s ruin it for a bunch of kids who didn’t have high enough SAT scores to get into The Grainger College of Engineering or the Gies College of Business. Let’s watch the Law Firm smack Purdue around on the way to the 2024 NFL Draft for which Ryan Walters will also take credit.
Let’s enjoy Luke Altmyer having a true get-right game against the school that won his services.
You landed Zeke Williams just so you could get his brother.
Zeke Williams seems like a fine young football player. No shade to him for transferring from the MAC to the B1G. But the former NIU player is the older brother of top Illini target Luke Williams. Luke then pledged his verbal commitment to Ryan Walters’ squad.
That is just cruel. You have the unmitigated temerity to cross state lines into Illinois? Are you even allowed to do that? Is that a violation of Big Ten rules? Or is it just a violation of the laws of nature?
Look, you get Luke Williams next year…but we have Isaiah Williams this year. Which is a big part of why you will lose on Saturday.
Purdue cost Illinois the Big Ten West last year.
It was only the Purdue game. Nothing else had anything to do with Illinois not winning the Big Ten West. Illinois didn’t make it to Indianapolis because of the Purdue game and the inconsistent officiating. The Michigan game? Irrelevant. Indiana? Meaningless. The complete no-show against Michigan State the week after several of their players committed assault in the tunnel? Don’t even think about it.
None of those losses had anything to do with the Illini not making it to Indianapolis. The Illini didn’t blow it with conservative playcalling down the stretch at all. How dare Purdue cost Illinois its manifest destiny as Big Ten West sacrificial lambs…I mean, champions.
A bit of payback seems to be in order for committing such an atrocity. Please, get excited. Because last year may be history, but in a garbage bag division, Illinois can right that wrong this season.
All kidding aside, these are young men playing a game. Don’t get so…
JUST KIDDING! Get totally obsessed all week. Read Illini content as if it’s the most important stuff in the world. Make up nicknames for Purdue coaches, students, and fans. And don’t just say Purdon’t. Don’t just say #BoilerDown. We all know those. Get original.
Talk to your friends who are Journalism and English majors. Have them help you get extra saucy. Review the old Shakespearean insult list and bust out terms like Jack-A-Nape.
Listen to every diss track in hip hop history to come up with new areas for mockery.
Have a blast. Get inslopsicated on orange Kool-aid.
But most importantly and with all sarcasm aside, cheer your heart out for the beloved.