Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Give 'Em All a Game

Many college football experts believe that USC ended the year playing the best football of any D1 team. And their last 4 games of the season were impressive. But Illinois was playing the best football in the Big Ten at the end of the season -- as seen in the Ohio State and Northwestern games.

The Rose Bowl will be a tough game -- no question. USC is a talented football team with 6 years of BCS bowl experience. And the Illini have some big challenges. They haven't played a game since November 17. A month and a half is a very long break. And, they have no bowl experience. Most of the team was still in junior high or high school the last time the Illini played in January. They weren't even born the last time Illinois played in the Rose Bowl, and many of their parents hadn't been born the last time Illinois won the Rose Bowl.

But, as we've learned this season -- and with this team -- anything can happen. I expect a competitve game. One that, regardless of the final score, will let the PAC-10, the Big Ten and college football fans know that the Illini football program is for real. Our boys may be rusty and inexperienced, but they are talented and passionate.

But no matter what happens here in Pasadena, note that we already have a major victory. The Illini football team is playing in January. After winning an underwhelming 2 games last year, these overachievers have put themselves in the national spotlight, and they deserve it. And we get to watch them play on New Year's Day!

Go Illini!

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