By Doug Halberstadt
This is the week when Division I college football teams from throughout the state of Illinois begin their 2013 season. The first team to play this year will be the Illinois State Redbirds. They travel to Muncie, Ind., tomorrow night (Thursday, Aug. 29) for a 6 p.m. match-up with the Ball State Cardinals. The game will be televised on ESPN 3.
The remainder of the Illinois teams will all start their seasons Saturday, Aug. 31. Beginning with an 11 a.m. kickoff, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini and the Southern Illinois University Salukis will square off against one another in Memorial Stadium on the U of I campus in Champaign. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the game. Illinois will be looking to improve on their 2-10 record from a year ago.
The Northern Illinois Huskies have an afternoon game. They take on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes starting at 2:30 p.m. at the 70,000-seat Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The Huskies will be looking to avenge their 1-point (18-17) opening-day loss to the Hawkeyes last year when the two teams met at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Opening weekend will wrap up with a late-night (9:30 p.m.) start between the Northwestern University Wildcats and the University of California Bears. The game will be broadcast live from Berkeley on ESPN 2. Last year, the Wildcats were a bit of a pleasant surprise to their fans. They finished the 2012-13 season with a 10-3 overall record, despite a disappointing 5-3 Big Ten Conference record.
The nearest Division I team, the University of Wisconsin Badgers, also start their season this Saturday. They have a home game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., against the University of Massachusetts. Game time is 11 a.m. The Badgers were 8-6 overall last year and finished with a 4-4 conference record.
From the Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2013, issue