Illinois coaches to invade Northwestern territory

Jonathan Daniel

The battle for Chicago's college football soul could be brewing.

The Illinois Fighting Illini and Northwestern Wildcats aren't really traditional rivals. Yes, they have a rivalry game and yes, they do claim to be the teams' primary matchup, but Northwestern has never been a traditional football school so the heat between the two schools was tepid at best.

Rodger Sherman of Sippin' on Purple describes the relationship as follows:

"For years nobody cared because nobody cared about Northwestern sports. Now the games between the two are actually competitive, both schools want to be considered Chicago's college sports team, and we play a game for a trophy shaped like a Monopoly piece. Now fans are actually starting to maybe kind of not like each other."

Indeed, with Northwestern reemerging as a football power these past few years, both sides are starting to poke each other. Illinois coaches are holding an event right in Northwestern's backyard. Adam Rittenberg of ESPN alerts us to this event thrown by the Fighting Illini.

The Fighting Illini caravan will swing through Chicago on Wednesday, May 8. Illini football coach Tim Beckman, men's basketball coach John Groce and women's basketball coach Matt Bollant will join director of athletics Mike Thomas in the Windy City. They will host an evening reception at World of Beer, 1601 Sherman Ave., Evanston, from 7-9 p.m., after spending the day in downtown Chicago.

Northwestern fans are heading to the event too. Could tensions could be brewing in Chi-town? Let's hope the nutshots are kept to a minimum.

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