VIDEO: Illini Now/SI Morning Update With Matthew Stevens - July 13, 2020

Matthew Stevens

IlliniNow/Sports Illustrated publisher/editor Matthew Stevens talks about how on Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten Conference announced its 14 member schools will only play games within its own league for all of the 2020 fall sports, including the most important revenue-generating sports - football.

All of the site publishers/editors at Big Ten sites for this Maven/Sports Illustrated operation wanted give their individual reactions to this unprecedented news related to the world's coronavirus health and safety pandemic. The site publishers/editors at Big Ten sites had similar but partially different takes on the situation.

Stevens talks about the Big Ten's announcement to play only conference games for the 2020 football season in the fall. The first month of the season with opponents such as Illinois State, Bowling Green and Connecticut was supposed to be grooved toward the Illini’s first 3-0 start since 2011 and only the third 3-0 start since 2001. “Optimism”, as Illini head coach Lovie Smith put it, was warranted. Then, Illinois was to open up Big Ten Conference play with Rutgers on Oct. 3. The Illini were likely to be favored in all of those first four games and the last Illinois won four games in a row to start a season was 2011 when they started 6-0 but lost their final six regular season games resulting in the firing of then-head coach Ron Zook. See, not even getting out fast results in anything but a bummer for Illini football. Before 2011, the last time Illinois started 4-0 in a season was 1951 when they ended up in the Rose Bowl.

One other note: The Illini Now/Sports Illustrated site will be covering live the commitment announcement of Texas three-star linebacker Dylan Hazell today at 4 p.m. CST.