For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Illini Upset By USC...Very Very Upset!!!

I went to the trouble to write a post in November about The Fighting Illini football team upsetting number-one-ranked Ohio State because it was such a big deal. Illinois had never beaten a number one ranked team as a visiting opponent, and had not beaten any at Champaign, IL since the 1950s. But when I heard toward the end of December that Illinois, through some sort of odd chain of events, was going to the Rose Bowl...I kept quiet. For now they were shrouded in impending doom.

It wasn't enough that the Fighting Illini were the underdogs to a sixth-ranked USC team, or that USC was favored by a 15 point margin (the largest margin in any scheduled bowl game this season) that caused this dampening of my spirits. I guess it had more to do with the fact that since Illinois lost to Bear Bryant's Alabama team in the Liberty Bowl in 1982 (my freshman year), the Illini have won only one bowl game. I can hardly remember who they beat, except that our team was angry about playing another team so far below their own record or abilities. Among the several bowl losses was the January 1984 Rose Bowl (I witnessed in person) in which the Illini, ranked 3rd nationally at the time, fell hard 45-9 to an unranked UCLA team.

An argument could be made to ban the Fighting Illini football team from any and all post season play due to extreme incompetence. They have, after all, given up a total of 94 points in only their last two Rose Bowl appearances. That is quite a record, indeed!


Anonymous said...

Don't you think you're being a bit hard on them? After all, they had an outstanding season for a school not nearly as committed to football as say, Oklahoma (who was trounced by WVa last night..).
I say the Illini deserves kudos even if the Rose Bowl was painful to watch.

St. Blogustine said...

If this were an isolated incident,...then yes, I would say I am being hard on them.

I suffered through three bowl losses while a student there (one season they went on probation for recruiting violations and missed a bowl appearance) and several bowl losses since.

Yes, it was a pretty good season considering they won only 4 games in the previous 4 years. And yes, I was very appreciative of the victory over Ohio State at Columbus. But giving up 94 points in only two Rose Bowls is a bit much to stomach.

After years of anguish I officially gave up on the Chicago Cubs, as they are either hopeless losers or under the thumbs of gamblers and/or organized crime. I am not quite ready to abandon the Illini just yet. Am just sick of the embarrassment.