Beckmanspring

Predicting the 2013 Illinois football schedule

Back at it again… you know the drill by now. After giving you two straight days of the Legends division it's time to cap off a double dose of the Leaders division today as I tackle my thoughts on just how year two of the Tim Beckman era is going to go. 

Don't forget to check out my thoughts on Northwestern, Iowa, and Penn State from earlier this week before you see what's on tap for the Fighting Illini this season. 

Illinois 2013 Schedule:

Date   Opponent Time/TV
Saturday

Aug. 31
Salukis Southern Illinois Salukis

Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
11:00 a.m. CT

BTN/BTN2Go
Saturday

Sept. 7
Bearcats Cincinnati Bearcats

Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
11:00 a.m. CT

ESPN2 or ESPNU
Saturday

Sept. 14
Huskies Washington Huskies

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
5:00 p.m. CT

BTN/BTN2Go
Saturday

Sept. 21
Open Date
Saturday

Sept. 28
RedHawks Miami (OH) RedHawks 

Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
TBA
Saturday

Oct. 5
Cornhuskers at Nebraska Cornhuskers 

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
11:00 a.m. CT

TV TBA
Saturday

Oct. 12
Open Date
Saturday

Oct. 19
Badgers Wisconsin Badgers 

Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
7:00 p.m. CT

BTN/BTN2Go
Saturday

Oct. 26
Spartans Michigan State Spartans (HC)

Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
2:30 p.m. CT

TV TBA
Saturday

Nov. 2
Nittany Lions at Penn State Nittany Lions 

Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
TBA
Saturday

Nov. 9
Hoosiers at Indiana Hoosiers 

Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
TBA
Saturday

Nov. 16
Buckeyes Ohio State Buckeyes 

Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
TBA
Saturday

Nov. 23
Boilermakers at Purdue Boilermakers 

Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA
Saturday

Nov. 30
Wildcats Northwestern Wildcats 

Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
TBA
Saturday

Dec. 7
Big Ten Big Ten Championship Game

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
7:00 p.m. CT

FOX

My Predictions:

Aug. 31 – vs. Southern Illinois: WIN
This isn't Jerry Kills Salukis team and frankly if Tim Beckman loses this game he might as well have the moving company on speed dial because he won't last a second season in Champaign. Southern Illinois is no where near the level of the Illini, so chalk this game up to getting the kinks out of the new offense and to getting some confidence moving for the rest of 2013. 

Sept. 7 – vs. Cincinnati: LOSS
What the…. How is a Big Ten team losing to Cincinnati at home? Well, if you are asking that question you haven't been paying attention to what Cincy has been built up to from the time of Mark Dantonio to now Tommy Tubberville. The Bearcats are a better team on paper and they should be the better team in Memorial Stadium on this Saturday. Besides, how the heck can you bet against a running back with a name like Ralph David Abernathy IV? Done deal for me – Cincy walks into Memorial Stadium and takes this one from a team still in need of depth and talent on defense.

Sept. 14 – vs. Washington (Soldier Field): LOSS
O.k., I can see why there was a new athletic director needed because I sure as hell wouldn't have put this non-conference schedule together. Honestly, who in their right mind would've put Cincy and Washington on the schedule knowing how good they were just a few years ago? This could be a fun quarterback matchup between Keith Price of UW and Scheelhaase for the Illini, but that's about where the fun ends if you are sporting Orange and Blue. The Huskies are going to ruin the "Chicago Homecoming" for the Illini in perhaps a bit of a rude awakening.

Sept. 28 – vs. Miami (OH): WIN
After two brutal games the Illini team can go one of two ways – fold in their season early or continue to fight. The bit I've been around Beckman, Corey Lewis, and Nathan Scheelhaase tells me they'll continue to fight. Give me the Illini over a Miami (OH) team that's way down compared to it's heyday of the early 2000's. I think this could be the game we see the Illini passing game put it all together as well.

Oct. 5 – at Nebraska: LOSS
We put this in our NOT A CHANCE IN HELL category earlier this year and nothing that has happened in either camp tells me different. Illinois is overmatched in every aspect of this game and with it being their first road trip of the season I don't like the Illini's chances. Memorial Stadium is hard enough for the Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa's of the world, let alone the Fighting Illini. Maybe in a few years if Beckman gets things on the right track, but not this year.

Oct. 19 – vs. Wisconsin: LOSS
What the heck did Illinois do to the folks at the Big Ten office that come up with the schedules. DAMN. A team coming off of a winless season gets back-to-back games against the two teams that went to Indy for the Big Ten championship game… Really? Chalk this up to another loss, although expect this one to be a very close game. For whatever reason the Badgers haven't gotten it going like they should against the Illini over the last few seasons and I expect the Illini to be jacked for the Big Ten home opener.

Oct. 26 – vs. Michigan State: LOSS
You know your Big Ten schedule is DIFFICULT when Michigan State is your best option for the Homecoming game. I mean seriously, this is the easiest home game they'll face all season and call me crazy, but I'll take the best defense (on paper) vs. one of the worst offenses in the conference any day of the week. Sorry, Homecoming is getting spoiled Illini alumni.

Nov. 2 – vs. Penn State: LOSS
Seriously Big Ten powers that be… Could you make things any more difficult? I guess the only saving grace is that OSU isn't in the first four? (See, there's truly a silver lining in everything…..) But, seriously this is one of the games to watch on this schedule that could go either way. We just don't know exactly what either team's offense will look like at this point in time. If Penn State's offense struggles all season this game could be ripe for a small upset in my book. Unfortunately for Illini fans they just can't get over the hump in the Big Ten, running their winless streak to 12 straight in conference play.

Nov. 9 – at Indiana: WIN
Finally, the long wait for a Big Ten win in the Tim Beckman era is over. Interestingly it comes on the road of all places. However, you take a look at what Illinois is good at on offense and match it up to what Indiana could struggle  with and this is easily the best bet on the schedule for them to get a conference win. Of course, it is totally possible that the Illini upset a team or two along the way, but that's how I see this season going down. I think this has the makings of Illinois finally getting its running game going in a big way. Look for Ferguson to go OFF in this one and perhaps put a damper on the bowl game talk in Hoosier land.

Nov. 16 – vs. Ohio State: LOSS
The Illibuck trophy – one of the most iconic games in the Big Ten. It's jus too bad that lately it hasn't gotten the attention that it deserves. Just ask players from either side of this one how it feels to play in this game and you'll understand just how deeply engrained it actually is. That said, there's no way in hell the Illini upset the Buckeyes this season. STONE COLD LOCK is this game for me. Expect it to be over quickly too.

Nov. 23 - at Purdue: LOSS 
Again, this has potential for upset, however Purdue has enough in the passing game to really give the young secondary of the Illini some major trouble. This is the biggest 50/50 game for me and unfortunately the Illini lose out thanks to the passing game issues on defense and that whole playing on the road at Ross-Aide stadium. Expect this game to be close heading into the fourth quarter before the Illini we know and felt pity for last season shows up one last time.

Nov. 30 – vs. Northwestern: LOSS
The Land of Lincoln trophy has never been more important – at least in my 31 years on earth. I guess that is what happens when "little brother" becomes the "giant brother" in short order. Sure, anything can happen in rivalry games, but when the talent gap is as large as it will be and with as much as could be on the line for the Wildcats there's no way they are dropping the top hat trophy this season. Sorry, I believe in Pat Fitzgerald more than Beckman – but I also see this one close. It'll be the final one of those games that tells the Illini faithful that there is hope for the future of this team despite the results this season.

Overall Record: 3-9
Big Ten Record: 1-7

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy has been covering college football for nearly half a decade and is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadgers.com. He's also a featured columnist covering college football for Bleacher Report.

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