Unless you’re former President Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton, you know that the “s” at the end of Illinois is silent, and that is a pretty nice microcosm of just how annoying that team is. From their team colors to their “claimed” National Titles, Illinois is that annoying step child you just have to deal with being part of the Big Ten family.
The first, and most obvious, annoying thing about Illinois are their team colors. I’m not sure who decided to throw orange and blue together, but they should be put in the same barrel as the guy from Clemson that added purple to orange and subsequently permanently painted those colors. Have you ever seen anyone outside of an Illinois person wearing orange and blue together? No? There’s a reason for that.
Next up is their fight song, “Oskee Wow-Wow.” Yah… say what? Listen I know your mascot is based on a Native American tribe and all, but absolutely none of these lyrics have anything to do with Native American culture or praise.
Old Princeton yells her tiger
Wisconsin her varsity
And they give the same old Rah!
At each university
But the yell that always thrills me,
And fills my heart with joy,
Is the good old Oskee-wow-wow,
That they yell at Illinois
Our eyes are all on you
Wave your Orange and Blue, Rah! Rah!
When your team trots out before you
Ev’ry man stand up and yell
Back the team to gain a victory
Maybe time to go ahead and drop that one, as it’s about as classy as the “Chop” that Florida State and the Atlanta Braves do.
Now to their coach, Tim Beckman…
Look, I don’t know if it’s the teeth, the eyes or both, but he just creeps me out OK?
Now on to this little “Claimed National Titles” snafu on their Wikipedia page. I understand that not all 7 of our National Titles are consensus AP titles, but they all count in most people’s books. The Illini apparently have FIVE??? From a bunch of things that are just people’s first and last names. I’m not sure how credible these people are, or what the hell they’re doing handing out National Titles like they’re candy on Halloween, but I’m not even bothering to look up the legitimacy of this information. There are two titles from something called the “National Championship Foundation,” which sounds pretty official. So I’ll give them two. Although all but one comes before 1928, or what I like to call the “who really cares because no one is alive that remembers your games” era. You get TWO Illinois, that is all.
Finally the most annoying thing about Illinois is their ability to be a pain in the ass to us Buckeyes. As stated in a previous article, over the last ten years they’ve done a great job of either spoiling a season, or giving us fans more than a mild heart condition. If there is one thing I hate more than losing to a good team, it’s losing to a bad one in an otherwise undefeated season. The Bucks seem to take this game a little lightly every year, while Illinois rarely has anything to lose. These two things frequently combine in a very negative way for our Buckeyes. Hopefully Urban breaks this trend and the team stays on track after a great overall team win against Penn State last week.
Look for the running game to be a big factor even more than normal. Giving up 152.6 rushing yards per game, and 17 rushing touchdowns, it’s clear that their defense won’t be able to handle the combo of Miller and Hyde. With all that running the Buckeyes must make sure to hold onto the ball, as Illinois has forced 21 fumbles from their opponents, while only recovering 8 of them. The defensive line should look to feast on the Illinois QBs, as the Illini have allowed 30 sacks this season, and have thrown 10 interceptions thus far.
Let’s hope the Bucks that showed up last week walk out of that locker room and let the Illini know how this game is going to be early and often. Otherwise we could be looking at a 4 quarter grey hair-inducing stress festival.
Embrace The Hate