A Tradition Unlike Any Other
No, not the Masters, but rather Illinois v. Indiana football. The stakes are even higher this year, as the Hoosiers head to Champaign on Illinois' Homecoming. And we all know the theory behind Homecoming scheduling - you schedule an opponent you know you will beat. Not that it always works out for the Illini. Not to mention both Illinois and Indiana claim to have invented Homecoming. I understand it like this: Indiana held a Homecoming in 1908, two years before Illinois' inaugural Homecoming in 1910. But Indiana's was a one time thing, or at least not an annual thing. Illinois made it an annual event, and this year marks 100 years since Illinois' first homecoming. It, however, is not the 100th Homecoming. There was no Homecoming held in 1918 as a result of World War I.This year's game is shaping up to be much like past games- highly entertaining but poorly played football. While Illinois does have a top tier defense, I expect this game to be a shootout. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that the Illini rush for over 400 yards. Indiana seems to think that the first team to 100 wins. While the Hoosiers are 4-2, they've beaten Towson, Akron, Western Kentucky (currently on a 26 game losing streak), and Arkansas State (by 2). They've lost to the only legitimate competition they've faced Michigan and Ohio State. Indiana lost to tOSU by 28. Illinois lost to the same Buckeyes team by 11. I'd be surprised it the Hoosiers win another game the rest of the season. If they do, it will come tomorrow at the expense of the Illini.While Indiana holds a 4-3 series lead since my freshman year, the series is 2-2 since it became a Dowell brother rivalry. This will be the first year since the brother rivalry began that both of us will not be in attendance at the game. Mark's not going to be able to make it. It's probably for the best since Illinois is going to destroy the Hoosiers. But it will mean that there will not be any epic tailgate shenanigans. Well there probably will still be epic tailgate shenanigans, but I'll have to do the work of two Dowells. Not that I can't manage that. And this is just the beginning of rivalry season as basketball season tips soon and the Illini and Hoosiers will have two games on the hardwood. And for these two schools, that's where it really counts.* (*Though the winner of this game is set up very nicely to reach at least 6-6 and be on there way to the GoDaddy.com Bowl** in Sri Lanka, so maybe this year the Illinois v. Indiana football game matters, at least to two bodies of alums) **I don't think that's a real bowl, but with 35 of them this year, you just never know.
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