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thumpasaurus
October 31, 2021 @ 01:07 PM

??they say it’s a hopeless fight but I say I gotta try??

the year that song was released, Tony Eason led the illini to six entire big ten wins for the second straight year

if 1981 was the year the illini finally emerged from the wilderness (with a prelude in 1980), then 1966 was their last year in civilization, beginning their foray into the unknown in ‘67. 14 years of wandering. I choose ‘67 as Wilderness Year 1 because the slush fund scandal happened that year to clearly mark the beginning of the First Illini Football Exile.

How long have we currently been wandering the wilderness? Many definitions could be accepted. 1992 (post-Mackovic), 1996 (when Tepper fell apart), 2009 (when Zook fell apart), 2012 (post-Zook, after our last bowl win).

I was not into college football at all before I went to school in 2007. Had I been five years younger, I might not have ever gotten bit with this particular bug. I routinely talk to students as part of my fraternity’s homecoming every year. The last 5-6 years no students have understood what it was like to have the place buzzing for college football like it used to even in the Zook era. Never had an inciting incident that would lead them to believe Illinois football is an exciting way to use their limited time on the magical UI campus when there are so many other things to do. I still have a recording I made back in Sept 2012 of the “thousands of drunk guys yelling in the distance” ambience you’d hear on many football game mornings from half a mile away from the stadium or so.

No student younger than me would have hope. The last freshman class that got to experience THIS IS ILLINOIS FOOTBALL was from 2011, my last year, when they got that ASU game and the Northwestern comeback and a 15th ranked home favorite against Ohio State.

Then the team lost 6 straight and fired the head coach. And that was BY FAR the best football experience those students would get.

Thank the lord for Grange Grove. It’s the only think that makes these students associate anything fun with Illinois football.

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