Oct. 27, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; A general view of Memorial Stadium before the game between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Indiana Hoosiers. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Football Roundtable: What is the Biggest Game for the Illini in 2013?

The staff of Writing Illini takes a look into the 2013 schedule for the Illinois Fighting Illini. The guys give their thoughts on what game they believe will be the biggest game for the Illini this upcoming season.

Nov 24, 2011; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats defensive lineman Brian Arnfelt (91) raises the Land of Lincoln trophy after beating the Illinois Fighting Illini at Ryan Field. the Northwestern Wildcats defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini 50-14. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky: The game against Northwestern..hands down! Personally, I hate the Northwestern Wildcats. I do not like their team and I do not like what they stand for. Chicago’s Big Ten team? Get outta town!

Yes, its true that Illinois is playing their big “Chicago Homecoming” game against the Washington Huskies this season, but that game at Soldier Field will do little to help what Beckman wants to do on the recruiting front.

Beckman wants to target more Illinois recruits and more Chicago recruits, well one way to sway them would to beat “Chicago’s Big Ten team.” If the Illini lost every game except for the finale against Northwestern, I’d be happy with the season.

Austin: In 2013, there to me is no bigger game than Illinois v. Washington in Chicago.  This game is being plastered on billboards, commercials, and print media as the Chicago Homecoming for the Illini.  Everyone knows how important it is to the success of the Illini to be able to recruit in the Chicagoland area, and if they go out and lay a big ol’ goose egg on Soldier Field, it will only hurt them long term in that regard.  Sure, they need some Big Ten wins, that is a given.  However, that Chicago game, and the implications it may have long term for the Illini, make it their must win game of the year.

Ryan: From a marketing perspective, the game in Chicago against Washington would probably be considered the biggest game for the program next season simply because the perception is that the eyes of Chicago’s residents will be watching to see what the Illini bring to the table. Personally, I just don’t believe Chicago to be a college sports type of town. There are simply too many pro options to distract sports fans up there.

From my perspective, I will choose a path least expected and say that the Cincinnati game is the biggest game for the Illini next season. This game is coming off the heels of what should be a win against SIU in the home opener. If Illinois can come out in the 2nd week and post a W against a Bearcats team that was extremely tough on D last year (12th in the country in 2012 allowing 17.2 pts/game) then they will have a real shot at 3-1 in the non-conference schedule. It won’t be easy, but a win would provide much needed momentum before heading north for the aforementioned showdown against Washington, and would provide the fan base with some much needed hope that this season won’t be a repeat of last season.

What do you think, Illini Nation? What is the biggest game for the Fighting Illini in 2013?

The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs and Ryan Kraemer.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinJabs85.

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