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Bret Bielema is no stranger to roadkills

Can the Illini defense slow down the Jayhawks high-powered offense?

Brad Repplinger

Happy Friday, Illinois Land!

We all know by now that Illinois is 1-0 and heading into a Week 2 matchup at Big 12 foe Kansas on Friday night (6:30, ESPN2).

I would put the coverage at The Champaign Room up against any website you can type into your browser. And by any, I do mean any. None excluded.

To be generous, I have linked a few great articles from my colleagues throughout the article so you can be like Happy Gilmore and just “tap it (in).” Make Chubbs proud.

Go to your happy place, Illinois fans. Go to your happy place.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Wisconsin
HBC Bret Bielema is thinking about his happy place in this photo. 2-0 makes him smile.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re a fan of metrics and looking at the games intellectually, here’s one from the big brain of Mihir Chavan. He absolutely crushes this.

Back to the task at hand, somewhat. We’re going to do kind of an all-over-the-place column today. Let’s have some fun and talk about how Illinois is going to smash the Jayhawks on the road.

Tonight, when your Fighting Illini take the field at yet another copy of Memorial Stadium, we’ll have new uniforms galore. Illinois will likely be in its “all whites” for the first time. It’s a sweet look.

I’m surprised to see how easy it is to read the numbers and nameplates on the new unis. I didn’t anticipate that before Week 1.

All white uniforms look the best of the three combos. It’s going to be extremely easy to see who’s who in Lawrence tomorrow.
Illinois Football

Kansas is taking a vast departure from their normal ensemble, opting for the “all black” uniforms. And, they’re aptly named. Black helmets, shirts and pants. They feature a throw back logo from the early 20th century and the famed circus font.

They look pretty sweet, but they don’t look like Kansas.

Cool details and uniforms. Too bad they’re about to get a beat down while wearing them.

The contrast in uniform colors will make for easy viewing on ESPN2 tomorrow.

Illinois vs. Kansas in football has come a long way in the last 2.5 years. Hard to believe this game would be this important not long ago.

When this game was originally scheduled, both teams had different head coaches and the programs were in completely different stages. In fact, the HBC at Kansas, Lance Leipold, was thought to be a leading candidate to take over for the fired Lovie Smith a few years ago.

NCAA Football: Missouri State at Kansas
Leipold leads his team onto the field before their Week 1 blowout win. Leipold only has six D3 Natty’s. He was 109-6 at Wisconsin Whitewater over eight seasons at the helm. How do you lose all six of those games? Disgraceful.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the only Power 5 team that shared in the infamy of ineptitude alongside your Fighting Illini were the Kansas Jayhawks.

I’m sure the game was scheduled so that at least one of the schools could get a “Power 5 victory,” and possibly start off 2-0. Some of the Die Hard Illini fans, like myself, would have sacrificed anything short of their firstborn (or any other born) for a 2-0 start in football.

The ineptitude of Illinois football is well-documented. The ineptitude of Kansas football is well-documented. Those things are all in the past now.

The present promises to be a great college football game between two up-and-coming Power 5 schools that have veteran head coaches that have familiarity and respect for each other. At least, that is the case until the opening kick tomorrow night.

Times have changed. Times have changed, indeed.

Vegas thinks the game will be a 31-28 Kansas victory. Not so fast, my friend.

Bielema is no stranger to road kills. Kansas in Week 2 will be another win for the pile. Kansas doesn’t have Bielema.

I get it. According to reports, Kansas has the Big 12 pre-season offensive player of the year in returning QB Jalon Daniels taking the field for the first time this season.

He’s a total stud, no doubt.

Kyle Tausk drops an Oppenheimer-style bomb about the dual threat QBs early in the schedule.

Illinois has already faced a total stud at QB, in Dequan Finn. Toledo is better than most people think, Vegas has its win total at nine.

I’m not saying Finn is Daniels. They are similar, but not the same.

In a rare turn of events, Illinois received advantageous scheduling to be able to see Finn in Week 1 before Daniels this week. It’s a great warm up act, so to speak.

Michigan State v Illinois
Bielema looks ready to roll in this pic. HIs rugged handsomeness will be on full display on the Mothership.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Bielema constantly talks about the biggest improvement each year being from Week 1 to Week 2. If that’s the case, we should be in for a treat.

In Week 1, Illinois indirectly gave Toledo more than half their points on idiotic penalties that extended drives. Nine penalties for 90 yards in the first half alone. If that gets cleaned up, points will be hard to come by for Kansas.

This is Illinois Football.