Illinois fans hate Michigan?

Submitted by FingerMustache on September 13th, 2010 at 8:42 PM

So i was out wearing my michigan stuff, and i was approached by a kid who told me he was a recent illinois alum. and i have to say, i was rather enlightened by our conversation. among the many bombs he dropped on me, a few notable ones were:


"I f'ing hate michigan"

"The students at Illinois hate michigan more than you guys hate OSU"

"me and all my friends wear Muck Fichigan shirts"


First of all...your cool. Second of all, am i the only one who didnt realize that there was a michigan/illinois rivalry. if i had to list our rivals in order (among our regular opponents) it would probably be something like this:







Minn (yeah its got a trophy but come on)





Honestly id put nebraska ahead of illinois and we havent even played them yet. illinois fans should spend there energy hating indiana and Minn, since those are the games that will decide the big10 basement.



September 13th, 2010 at 8:49 PM ^

Yeah, I've met Illinois fans and most of them seem to consider us their biggest rival.  Yes, most of them said that we are a bigger rival than Missouri, Northwestern or Ohio State (they play OSU for some wooden turtle trophy called illibuck or something).


September 13th, 2010 at 8:52 PM ^

I can't remember when I first learned of this particular (and generally one-sided) rivalry, but it was a surprise to me, too.  Of note:

* Illinois doesn't have a natural rival in the Big Ten.  If you look at nearby schools, IU and Purdue have each other, Northwestern is in its own little world by a few measures, and Iowa is a more logical rival of Wisconsin and Minnesota, due partly to geography and partly to its student population (which is more rural than that of Illinois, where 60% or so come from Chicago or its burbs).

* Lots of Illinois grads find their way to Chicago after graduation, where they run into lots of Michigan types professionally.  (The same can be said for some other Big Ten schools, of course.)

* Appropriately or not, they consider Michigan a peer institution.  (I think this would make sense in engineering at least.)  For different reasons, they don't feel the same way about the other area schools.

* Sean Higgins (If you don't get that, talk to an Illinois grad over, say, 35.)


September 14th, 2010 at 1:25 PM ^

Actually, it'd make a ton of sense for Iowa and Illinois to have a bigger rivalry, owing to the fact that over 40% of Iowa's students come from Illinois, with a huge number of those coming from the Chicago burbs.  The main reason it isn't (in my opinion), is that Illinois simply isn't a football school and Iowa isn't a basketball school.  Those schools can't hate each other because they'll never beat each other consistently at the sport they love the most.

Though asking Illinois fans to pay consistent attention to their sports team is a lot to ask for.  Most are too busy going to CO's, Cam's, or Firehaus than to be worried about some silly game with balls and stadiums and such.


September 13th, 2010 at 8:53 PM ^

I never knew they hated Michigan until I went to Champaign-Urbana or whatever for games.  Everyone in the student section has a Muck Fichigan shirt..  F-bombs are dropped on UM fans frequently.  Not sure why-1989 Final Four?  Bo putting 70 on them in the early 80's?  I agree with ItakeHGH-if they can't beat you, they hate you.


September 13th, 2010 at 11:41 PM ^

I was at the 70 point drubbing. If I recall, Illinois had a 21-7 lead early and the Illinois fans in section 13 were quite proud of themselves. I remember chanting "We want 70" in the last minute as a back-up QB came in the game. I enjoyed the 10th TD as much as all the others.

Bo was paying Illinois back for firing his friend (Moeller) and replacing him with a cheater (White). I say Iuck Fllinois.


September 13th, 2010 at 9:02 PM ^

That whacking was hilarious.  Illini complained about running up the score.  Bo replied that all Michigan did in the 4th quarter was run it up the middle, and Illinois couldn't stop them. 

Yeah, I knew they hated us.  But how insulting is it that our fans don't even know Illinois considers Michigan its biggest rival?  Hate me or love me, but at least think about me.


September 13th, 2010 at 9:03 PM ^

I know from some Illinois acquaintances that the Muck Fichigan is really big down there.  I think it is partly a jealousy thing - but also an attempt to build them up by association.  Tried to tell them no one on this end really cares but they are adamant bout it.

Section 1

September 13th, 2010 at 9:06 PM ^

They ALL hate us more than a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.

I am not kidding.  MSU, of course, goes without saying. 

And honest to God, if anybody thinks that Sparty has a one-game season (they don't, really, and this week is the perfect example), you need to spend some time in Columbus.  Really, the resurgent Buckeye program under Tressel should be growing up now.  But they can lose to Texas or USC or whichever big time program they manage to get a home-and-home with, and not be too overcome by it.  Losing to Michigan is the end of their world as they know it.

And trust me, Michigan week, when and if it comes, is THE biggest ticket of the year in Madison, Iowa City, Evanston... you name it.  They hate us like no other.  A win against Michigan is a lifetime acheivement for a lot of those kids.

Illinois is no different, and there is nothing surprising about that. 

Section 1

September 13th, 2010 at 9:11 PM ^

For people of a certain age, there is some bad blood between Illinois and Michigan, going back to the 1980's and 90's.

Mike White, who ran one of the filthiest dirty programs in Big Ten history at Illinois managed to upset Michigan one year, and that got things going pretty good.  There was also the short-lived tenure of Gary Moeller as head coach at Illinois where he was treated very badly and after being fired he returned to Michigan, from whence we put a couple of historic drubbings on some Illinois teams that were thought to have chances at Big Ten titles.  Somebody else will help with additional details I am sure.


September 13th, 2010 at 9:21 PM ^

They fired Moeller after like two years, when he was rebuilding a HORRIBLE program, the right way.  Then hired White right after, who got them better faster, but was one of the biggest cheaters in Big Ten history.  Neither obviously sat well with Bo. So in '81, after falling behind like 21-7 (I might remember that wrong), he scored 63 unanswered for a 70-21 final.

So they won the Big Ten title in 83, and beat us, then tied us in 85, so in 86, Bo decided to lay it on him again, for a 69-13 final. They didn't like that down there.

As only WolverineHistorian can:


September 13th, 2010 at 9:32 PM ^

Michigan's reputation, especially football, makes it the biggest draw everywhere it goes.  When Michigan played Oregon at Autzen Stadium back in 2003, the place was packed - and Lloyd Carr said it was the loudest stadium he'd ever been in.

The whole "winningest program in college football" means something, Michigan is football royalty.  Everybody wants to knock the king off the top of the hill.

oriental andrew

September 13th, 2010 at 9:35 PM ^

I have actually just learned this in the last year or so.  Since when did Illinois fans start hating Michigan so much?  And, for that matter, what's with all the vitriol directed at Michigan from Iowa fans? 

I at least get M/O/P-SU's ill will toward Michigan (in-state rivalry, duh, and couldn't beat Michigan for over a decade, respectively). 

At least my wife, her brothers, and her cousins haven't killed me yet (all 8 of them Illinois alums). 


September 13th, 2010 at 9:09 PM ^

Illinois shoots their rivalry wad early by playing Missouri first game of the season, so they need someone else to get off on.  And Illibuck is just baffling. 

For my part, Illinois is basically the most anonymous Big Ten school there is.  If they packaged up Big Ten schools and put them on the shelf at Target, the one in the plain white box labeled "SCHOOL" in plain black Arial font would be Illinois.  I have opinions about everyone but them.


September 13th, 2010 at 9:13 PM ^

Because there isn't. A rivalry has to be two ways.  It's not. They just hate us.

On that, I know what you mean. I knew it was a hostile crowd down there always, but I didn't get the "we are their most hated 'rival'" thing until my college roommate when to law school in Chicago...and knew a lot of Illinois classmates. So, being Chicago, anytime Michigan wasn't at home, and I wasn't going to a road game not around Chicago (i.e. not ND, Northwestern, etc), I'd head in to visit him, because, well, it's Chicago.  And they couldn't stand our team. It was also around the time they went 1-1-1 against us, and thought they were moving ahead of us. After which we proceeded to stomp them again for years.

But they do, really, really hate us, to a level I can only compare to OSU and MSU. I mean, as Section 1 said, they ALL hate us.  But not to that level. Domers dislike us, but there a bit of respect, and it's not bloodshot eye hatred.  Illinois acts like we stole their girlfriend, had the best sex of her life with her, and then sent them the videotape.

M Fanfare

September 13th, 2010 at 9:19 PM ^

Per John U. Bacon's class, Bo respected OSU and MSU, but he HATED Illinois. He had an expression that went something like "There are some teams where 100 points are not enough, and Illinois is three of those teams." His hatred of them apparently stemmed from they way they treated Gary Moeller, firing him after only 3--admittedly poor--seasons (Bo thought it was ludicrous to fire a college coach until he was given 5 seasons). Illinois then turned around and hired Mike White to be their coach, who had a reputation for running a dirty program, had gotten caught cheating at Cal, and bolted for the NFL after he was caught cheating at Illinois.


As puzzling as their seething hatred for us may be, Bo certainly felt the same way about them.


Edit: As I was writing this a few folks posted parts of the story above. I'm paraphrasing as best as I can from what Bacon told us in his class.


September 13th, 2010 at 9:25 PM ^

I mean I live in Pa and it's the same thing.  PSU fans really hate hate hate Michigan.  I have no idea why besides losing 9 straight, but come on that's it?  Jealously is taking over inferior schools.


September 13th, 2010 at 11:22 PM ^

PSU is different in my experience. They lack a real rivalry of any kind so they simply transfer their hate onto every team in the conference. Typically they focus it on us and Ohio State because we get "preferential treatment", whatever the fuck that means.

Illinois fans hate us specifically and with a fury only rivaled by OSU and MSU.


September 14th, 2010 at 12:49 AM ^

I went to Happy Valley for the Michigan games in '97, '99, '01 and '06 (and going back this year).  In '97, we were coming off three straight losses to them and their fans were genial, respectful, because they expected to win.  Each trip after that, their fans have been increasingly hostile, to the point of aggressively trying to pick fights after the game.  That time period also saw the rise of the tin-foil-hat internetz crooked ref conspiracy theorists (BeastofdaEast anyone?), which hasn't helped, nor did their slide into relative mediocrity.  I've also been there twice for Iowa games and Iowa fans don't get nearly the reception that Michigan fans get.

Illinois fans have to be a little bitter about time they were forced to spend in Champaign-Urbana.  C-U and West Lafayette tie for the most dismal "college towns" and campuses in the Big Ten.

Mr. Robot

September 13th, 2010 at 9:30 PM ^

I think its something in their water. Some other small Illinois school (IIT I believe, but don't quote me on that) didn't have any rivals so they decided to start a Facebook group hating on Michigan Tech. I once looked that page over and immediately thought of the stunning coorelations to Illinois and us.

Flying Dutchman

September 13th, 2010 at 9:46 PM ^

I've said it many times on this site... 10 years in Chicago taught me, among other things, that Illinois fans are the biggest collection of fuckbags on the entire planet.    Just awful.


September 13th, 2010 at 10:06 PM ^

I remember in the late 80's, Bo's last couple of years, Illinois had a saying "Bo doesn't know diddley"about the time they had Jeff George. We stomped their asses in '88 and beat them at home in '89.  Turns out he did know diddley. I think Jeff George turned into a convict., gambling problem, or something.


September 14th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

Schlichter was a quarterback at Ohio State in the late seventies and early eighties. He did quite a bit of time over the years because of crimes committed to support his gambling habit.

He was also the quarterback who threw the pass Charlie Bauman intercepted, which led to the departure of Woody Hayes (when Woody punched Bauman).

Jeff George, on the other hand, had a fairly long career as a journeyman in the NFL. He had some good years, but was regarded as a bit of a head case and never lived up to his potential.