As Northwestern sports have becoming increasingly relevant over the past few years, the University of Illinois’s spot as the “big brother” of the two has been put in jeopardy. Now, the Illini want to make it clear that they aren’t ready to relinquish the title.
It’s been a back-and-forth battle between the two schools, both of which have said that their moves are not a response to the other’s. NU became “Chicago’s Big Ten Team,” and Illinois later came out with a campaign of its own: “Our State, Our Team.” While the ‘Cats have partnered with the Cubs for a series of Wrigley Field games, the Illini have scheduled a football game of their own at Soldier Field.
It seemed like simply an aggressive battle for the city of Chicago until the orange and blue’s most recent move. As a part of the aforementioned campaign, they scheduled a coaches caravan that will come through the Windy City on May 8. That’s not the odd part. What’s interesting is that at the end of the day, the coaches will host a reception in good old Evanston. Instead of any downtown locations, they chose World of Beer on Sherman Ave.
Although it’s unlikely that a major fuss will be made over it, the decision will surely raise a few eyebrows. Northwestern's student section — the NU Wildside — has already created a Facebook group of students hoping to crash the Illini's party. This clearly wasn’t an accident; Illinois knows exactly what it is doing. It isn’t playing any dirty pool with this move, but maybe just trying to quietly send a message to the Northwestern athletic department. Just don’t expect the Wildcat coaches to answer with a trip down to Champaign.