Friday, December 09, 2011

Fight Hunger!

Hunger is a very real problem across the country and around the world. As with any widespread problem, anyone can fight against it. Including a .500 college football team on a 6-game losing streak and a vacancy at head coach.

The Illini will have a couple weeks of (much needed) practice and recovery with defensive coordinator and acting head coach Vic Koenning (and incoming head coach Tim Beckman?) before taking on a 6-7 UCLA team that is also waiting for a head coach. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 31 certainly can claim credit for both raising awareness of a critical issue and giving two struggling teams an opportunity to build toward next season's fresh start. At least the game should be competitive!

The Illini got caught in a downward spiral that just got uglier as the season went on and was capped by a painful loss to Minnesota. But they are bowl eligible, and they were chosen to take the place of Army in this bowl. I'm sure the local organizers expect dedicated Illini fans to show up ready to spend money in San Fran. And I am sure their expectations will be met.

Though the season has been disappointing, the Illini still have managed to get bowl invites in back-to-back seasons, and Whitney Mercilus was recognized nationally as one of the top defensive linemen on the Walter Camp All-America Team. So there are bright spots.

And the game will be fun to watch with extended family before ringing in the New Year. Go Illini!

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