Games to Watch - No. 3

The list of Illinois 2013 games to watch continues with an out-of-conference neutral site contest…

I don't necessarily think Illinois-Washington is a good matchup. I'm not sure it will be a good game.

It might or it might not.

But the Sept. 14 contest is on my list because it's at least an attempt to make some noise where there probably wasn't going to be much noise otherwise.

The game is going to be in Chicago's Soldier Field, a stadium I've never been to before. You could take away the forward pass for a day, and I'd still make the trip up to see a game in that venue.

Also, the game isn't at 11 a.m. -- it's at 6 p.m., televised on the Big Ten Network. That's unique when you consider two of the first five Illinois games are already slated for the early morning wake-up call. And with Southern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) still TBD, I'd be willing to bet alarm clocks will be blasting awfully early in late August and early September.

I'm all about the Rise & Grind, but damn.

So, Illinois gets the Huskies in a major market at a normal football-playing time of day. Yay!

As of right now, would I pick the Illini to win? I don't think so. Washington was 7-6 last season, but does return quarterback Keith Price, who had 2,728 yards passing and 19 touchdown strikes as a junior.

It's June, so I can't say what will happen on the field. But I do commend Illinois for scheduling the game in Chicago, grabbing a not-so-great Pac-however-many-teams-there-are-in-that-conference opponent and forcing both the Big Ten Network and Windy City recruits to at least know something is going on.

I'm more a fan of weak scheduling in September. When I say weak, I mean, the weakest bunch of opponents you can pay a couple hundred thousand bucks to come to Illinois and take a beating.

But if you insist on slating a little name recognition and risking a loss, you might as well figure out a stage and platform to maximize the attention gained from it.

Illinois has done that with this Washington matchup. Here's to it not being much fuss over nothing.

All-time record: Washington leads 5-4
Last time: Washington 31, Illinois 11 - 1972 @ Seattle

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