Illini football game at Soldier Field this fall (Update)



It is believed that Illini football invented the homecoming tradition in college athletics. Other schools make similar claims, but the University of Illinois has as much of a claim as any, and this is a Chicago based website run by a University of Illinois alum (did the colors give it away? The Chicago Bears actually got their colors from UI, and my high school also was orange and blue too). In addition to its traditional on-campus homecoming Oct. 26 vs. Michigan State, Illini football will host a “Chicago Homecoming” this fall for the thousands of UI alumni in Chicago when the Fighting Illini face the Washington Huskies at Soldier Field on Sept. 14.

The only other time the Illini played at Solider Field it was also versus a team from Washington State. They lost a very low scoring contest to Ryan Leaf and the Washington State Cougars in 1994. The last time the Illini played in Chicago, they defeated Northwestern 48-27 at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. It was the famous “both teams going the same direction” and Mikel Leshoure rushing record game.

As part of the Chicago Homecoming festivities, there will be tailgating and a special Chicago-style Street Fest area located just outside Soldier Field for fans and alumni to take in the home of the Chicago Bears. As the Illini borrow the Bears home for a day, remember the Bears borrowed the Illini home, Memorial Stadium for 2002 while Soldier Field was being renovated.



The Illini and the Bears are more inter-twined than just the colors.

“We show them (recruits) a DVD of Red Grange,” Illini head coach Tim Beckman said.

“The importance of what Red Grange meant to not just the University of Illinois, but also the Chicago Bears had to the success of both professional and college football.”

“The Illini football game at Soldier Field in September will be an outstanding opportunity for our fans and alumni to experience a game at one of the nation’s iconic football venues,” Director of Athletics Mike Thomas said. “We’ll bring as much tradition and Illini game-day atmosphere as possible to the Windy City as we celebrate a Chicago Homecoming. I have no doubt this will be a very memorable day for fans of all ages.”

The Illini are hoping to play in Chicago at Soldier Field in possibly alternating years; years they don’t play at Northwestern. This will be a huge boost for recruiting. Not only because it will increase visibility in the Chicago area, but it also gives future Illini players a chance to play in an NFL venue.

“Everybody knows the opportunity to play on Sundays in the NFL is very very small,” Illini coach Tim Beckman said. “But to say that you had the opportunity to play in an NFL stadium as a college athlete is not something everybody gets to do.”

I’ll have more on this when I publish my exclusive with Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas in the next couple days.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He’s an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)

Powered by


  1. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you
    writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is very good.

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that
    you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a
    bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A great read.

    I will certainly be back.

  3. quietest power washer says

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I believe that you should
    publish more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject
    but typically people do not discuss such subjects. To the next!
    Many thanks!!

  4. Thank you for any other informative blog. The place else
    could I am getting that kind of information written in such
    an ideal manner? I’ve a venture that I’m simply now running on, and I’ve been on the look out for such info.

  5. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m planning to start my own blog
    in the near future but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for
    something completely unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but
    I had to ask!

  6. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a superb article…
    but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and
    don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

  7. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day.

    It will always be interesting to read articles from other writers and use a little something
    from other websites.

  8. You are so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve truly read through anything like this before.
    So wonderful to find somebody with a few unique thoughts
    on this subject. Seriously.. thanks for starting this
    up. This web site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  9. Hi there, this weekend is pleasant in favor of me, since this point in
    time i am reading this impressive educational paragraph here at
    my house.

  10. Hello friends, its wonderful post about teachingand fully defined, keep it up all thhe time.

  11. What’s up, everything is going nicely here and ofcourse every
    one is sharing information, that’s genuinely excellent, keep up writing.

  12. Remarkable thiongs here. I’m very satisfied to peer your post.
    Thak you a lot and I am having a look ahhead to contact you.
    Willl you kkindly ddrop me a e-mail?

Speak Your Mind