Get To Know: Illinois
Illinois is a Division 1 FBS Big Ten school located in Champaign, Illinois. In their football history, the Fighting Illini have won 5 National Titles, the last coming in 1951. They also have had 5 Heisman Finalists, 15 NCAA Hall of Fame members, 20 All Americans and 6 NFL Hall of Famers. Add to that, three #1 picks and 27 current NFL players. Legendary icon's such as Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, and George Halas have all been a part of Illinois football. More modern football alumni like Jeff George, Vontae Davis, Rashard Mendenahll, Simeon Rice, and Arrelious Benn, all come from the lineage of the Fighting Illini. Illinois comes into the 2014 season under Head Coach Tim Beckman, his 3rd season at the helm. Posting a 6-18 overall record, during his term. The Fighting Illini have not seen a bowl game since 2011 and are anxious for a return to winning ways. Currently 2-1 this season, Illinois is coming off a huge loss after going way out west to take on Washington, falling 44-19. On the gridiron, Illinois has a group of formidable rivals in Purdue, Missouri, Northwestern and Ohio St. Over recent years, the rivalry game with Missouri had picked up, but with the Tigers now in the SEC, the series is expected to be on hold. The most played series of all their rivals is the Wildcats, both programs have met 107 times, with Illinois holding a 54-48-5 overall series lead. The fighting Illini play there home games at Memorial Stadium, in Champaign (IL). It boasts an impressive seating capacity of 60,670. Currently, Illinois does not have an official mascot, since the forced departure of Chief Illiniwek back in 2007. Amongst controversy, the University Board of Trustees made the 2006-2007 basketball season his last.
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