In case y'all ain't heard, Illinois scheduled a Coaches Caravan event in Evanston! Northwestern fans did not buy that nonsense. Now, Illinois has unscheduled a Coaches Caravan event in Evanston, and will be having one in Chicago.
For starters, hey, go to World of Beer! I haven't been since it opened after I left Evanston, but I woulda gone a bunch if I was in college still. In other news, I need to buy a tank or jersey for Dillo Day.
I didn't write about this in part because I'm busy, and in part because, oh my goodness, Illinois, hahahahahahaaaaahahahaha, (wheezes) AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, what in the name of Sam Maniscalco are you guys thinking?
Illinois already holds a pep rally in Evanston every year, twice a year when Northwestern hosts Illinois in football. Scheduling this was supposed to be a troll move, and Illinois knew it, here, from the dude who came up with the idea in the Trib:
“We certainly anticipated a reaction of some kind to the event in Evanston,” Brown said in a statement. “Anything that heightens the exposure of college athletics in Chicago is fantastic."
The point of doing this in Evanston, and not in Chicago, where there are, you know, tens of thousands of Illinois fans was to get a reaction. When there was a reaction, it became a bad idea, a PR mistake, and Illinois successfully created a bizarro scenario in which there are enough Northwestern fans to drown out Illinois' fanbase. Northwestern has been trying to do that for years, and Illinois did it in one damn week. Thanks?
Anyways, I did some logical deduction here, and tell me if it's wrong.
A: Northwestern, a school based in Evanston, wants to be Chicago's Big Ten Team.
B: Illinois schedules an event in Evanston.
C: When that event is cancelled, it is replaced with one in Chicago, essentially admitting that having an event in Chicago is the same as having one in Evanston.
D: Chicago = Evanston
E: Northwestern actually is Chicago's Big Ten Team?
Thanks, Illinois. That's another thing Northwestern had been trying to do for years, accomplished by their supposed rivals in a week.
To be honest, I think what Illinois has been able to do the past few seasons is impressive. Northwestern-Illinois is kind of a rivalry. At the very least, it's the closest thing to a rivalry Northwestern has got. And it's reasonably close, too. Since I started really following Northwestern sports as a student in 2008, the Wildcats are 3-2 against the Illini in football, and 4-5 against them in basketball, including season-series splits the past four years. There's been some real damn heartbreakers in there, too, the stuff rivalries are made out of: in football, a 38-35 win on a last-minute drive the full length of the field as NU blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, in basketball, a Demetri McCamey buzzer-beater in 2009 and a win on a Meyers Leonard block in 2012. In recent years, Northwestern football has been a fair load better than Illinois football, and Illinois basketball has been significantly better than Northwestern basketball, but on the court and field, neither side can claim superiority.
But I can't hate when Illinois' athletic department keeps writing all the jokes for me. In this war, the people in charge of Illinois sports are the lovable, comically incompetent German prison guards in 1950's sitcoms. "Franz, why should I get back in my cell - your gun isn't even loaded! Hahaha, c'mere you crazy Kraut, let me noogie you." They are the Spanish Inquisition:
NOBODY EXPECTS THE CHAMPAIGN INQUISITION! Those uniforms are orange-ish.
LTP called the powers that be downstate "Project Knee Jerk," and that seems completely accurate. They have a real tendency for doing short-sighted things with the intent of seeming like a FEARSOME FORCE OF COLLEGE SPORTS MIGHT and the big boy in the Northwestern-Illinois relationship, and each move either backfires or turns into something that makes them look really insecure. They're threatening torture, when it turns out all they've brought is some comfy pillows.
Mike Thomas made a splash and made two big coaching fires. He came back with pennies on the dollar, his school's fourth-to-fifth-ish choices for their new head football and basketball coaches. John Groce has actually turned out to be really good, but that was luck of the draw. Tim Beckman, on the other hand, has done nothing but descend further and further into his status as one of the most overmatched college football coaches in recent memory. Both firings did not have the desired effect, even if one worked out okay.
And the Northwestern stuff is childish. After Northwestern said they wanted Chicago, they said they wanted to be the Kings of Chicago, which, to be honest, is less of an affront to Northwestern than it is to the still-extant subterranean Daley dynasty. They played Sweet Home Chicago after a football game where they beat Northwestern.
But here's the thing: childish is okay if it works, I think. Everything here is straight up troll-baiting. The Beckman stuff backfires because its Beckman. Chicago stuff backfires in part because its all senseless posturing with no real action - I guess scheduling a football game in Chicago is one thing, but that probably isn't going to help their cause - and in part because, YO SON YOU ALREADY HAVE MORE FANS IN CHICAGO THAN NORTHWESTERN DOES. If you want to be the big bro, act like it! Instead of ignoring Northwestern, they keep engaging.
Northwestern's attempts at winning fans from Chicago should really be Northwestern yelling over and over again "PLEASE LIKE OUR SPORTS TEAMS! PLEASE, LIKE US!!! PLEASE! SON I'M BROKE I'LL DO ANYTHING MAN, I'M DESPERATE, ANYTHING." But instead of letting Northwestern keep shouting with nobody responding, Illinois decided to enter the picture on some "don't like them! You should like us!" stuff. That turned this from a crazy person walking down the street yelling at walls and trash cans into a legitimate debate, and that isn't what Illinois wants us.
Please, Illinois, get better people. I want to hate, and you're making me laugh. You want to torture us, but these pillows are just so damn comfortable.