Monday, February 9, 2015

Illinois and Northwestern will play at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

From the "Two bald men fighting over a comb" department comes word that Illinois has fired another salvo against Northwestern in the two schools' rather futile fight for the title of favorite football team in Chicago. Illinois has announced that it has signed an agreement to move its scheduled home games in 2015, 2017, and 2019 against Northwestern to Soldier Field in Chicago.

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas described the move as an "opportunity to further engage our incredible number of Illinois alumni and fans in the Chicagoland area" in a statement about the agreement.

"By taking these Thanksgiving weekend games to Soldier Field, we will provide a great environment for our student-athletes, fans and students who are already in the Chicagoland area for the holiday, and it becomes a destination game for all Fighting Illini fans. Ending the regular season at a historical site and one of the best stadiums in the world will make for a big-time event for our student-athletes and will be a great springboard for our football program into the postseason. Recruits want to experience greatness, and this is the latest in a long line of connections between the dominant football brands in our state that start with the earliest days of the NFL with Halas and Grange, and stretch through Butkus, Caroline, and many other former Illini through the decades."

The two schools last played in Chicago in 2009 at Wrigley Field, where a misconfigured field resulted in both teams having to use the same end zone.

Northwestern already describes itself  as "Chicago's Big Ten School," which probably annoys Illinois to no end. 

If the truth be told, Notre Dame is probably more popular in the Windy City than either Big Ten school. The fact that the school is in Indiana should say more about college football inside the state of Illinois than anything. 

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