Monday, June 10, 2013
Illinois in talks to revive Missouri rivalry
By Brian Bennett
Could the Missouri-Illinois football rivalry be back on?
Nothing is finalized. But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Stu Durando, initial talks have taken place about staging the border series for the first time since 2010. The St. Louis Sports Commission is angling to hook the teams up, preferably in the Edward Jones Dome, where they played from 2002-03 and again from 2007-10.
"It would be whatever the schools want it to be: two years or four years, alternate between St. Louis and Chicago or alternate between Champaign, Columbia and St. Louis," sports commission president Frank Viverito told the newspaper. "We just feel we bring something to the table to produce that game here relative to atmosphere, revenue and tradition. Both athletic directors have indicated a willingness to look at the game.”
The Illini have played the Tigers 24 times, with Missouri holding a 17-7 all-time lead. Mizzou has won the past six games in the series.
The atmosphere for the games in St. Louis was pretty good, with an average crowd of 62,573. But Illinois wanted more games in Champaign, and that helped end the series.
There are still some complications involved in bringing it back. The SEC has yet to decide whether to go to a nine-game schedule in 2016. The Big Ten will play nine league games starting in '16. With only three nonconference games to fill in the future, playing Missouri could limit Illinois' scheduling flexibility. And the rivalry has resulted in mostly a bunch of losses for the Illini.
Still, it would be fun to see the two teams play again, even if it's sporadic.
“The game was not intended to be Army-Navy like in terms of commitment to play every year,” Viverito told the paper. “We’re just moving forward under the idea that its time has sort of come back.”