The #Illini are headed to Ireland to take part in @CFBIreland!— Illinois Athletics (@IlliniAthletics) October 14, 2019
8.28.21 - @IlliniFootball vs. @HuskerFBNation
Get ready for an unforgettable experience in Dublin, Illini Nation!
Why is this happening? I have no idea. I know Illinois is mad that Northwestern calls themselves “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” and that stereotypically Chicago has a lot of residents of Irish descent but this feels like a real left field play for control of the Chicago market. Maybe the folks behind this whole thing decided they needed to identify a new home team from a crappy, flat, and desolate Midwestern town no one cares about? If yes, I think they’ll be disappointed to realize that over-hyped Nebraska squads only land College Gameday when they face Ohio State.
Ultimately, the why isn’t important. The only thing that matters is that Minnesota risks falling behind the Illini in recruiting if they don’t land an international game of their own.* Here is my personal power ranking of possible destinations that actually make sense.
#1 - Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne sits atop my list for two very big reasons. First, Daniel Faalele is from there and Coach Fleck needs to lock down the “giant humans from Australia” recruiting pipeline. Second, because one of the best places to find Great White Sharks (aka, the best Nektons) is near** there. Just think about it. They could get the Discovery Channel to reschedule Shark Week to coincide with the game. Cross-promotional TV money opportunities abound for the Big Ten! Lastly, everyone is getting their own Australian punter now and the Gophers need in on this action.
#2 - Venice, Italy
There would be no better place to Row The Boat to victory than a city famous for its boat travel. C’mon, you know you want to see Coach Fleck piloting a gondola for a TV promo for this game.
#3 - Cape Town, South Africa
Another Nekton connection, as there are fantastic Nekton waters a mere two hours from Cape Town. Also there has never been a Big Ten Football broadcast with the ever-present sound of vuvuzelas in it and I think it’s time to help tear that barrier down.
#4 - Somewhere in Mexio with indigenous giant pocket gophers
#5 - Iowa City, Iowa
We all know Iowa is a mystical foreign land where pig feces are spread everywhere to ward off attack from the corn worshipers to their
east west. It’s time to introduce the world to this land filled with backwards people of yesteryear. Consider this an opportunity for the Gophers to assist with a National Geographic documentary into their strange ways.
It’s time Minnesota fans. #GoGophersInternational