Illinois and Kansas will square off. In football.
A matchup on the basketball court between those two schools would have caused quite a deal of excitement, but fans of the Illini and Jayhawks will have to settle for the football version. The home-and-home series was announced Tuesday, though the games won't be played until 2023 and 2024. If you like to plan way in advance, you have plenty of time to get your plans in order.
"This series with Kansas is another great addition that fits in with our scheduling philosophy," Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas said in a statement. "We have set out to schedule games against some outstanding institutions, and I feel like we've done that with home-and-home series finalized for North Carolina, South Florida, Virginia and now Kansas."
Though both teams have struggled to win games in recent seasons — Illinois and Kansas have combined for a 34-85 record in the last five seasons — the meetings will be notable, as these two teams have rarely played. Their last game came in 1968, a 47-7 Kansas throttling in Champaign. Illinois holds a 3-2 edge in the five all-time meetings. Four of the five get-togethers have come in Champaign, though the first of the two next decade (in 2023) will come in Lawrence, the first time the two will have played there since 1892. The two will play in Champaign in 2024.
As Thomas mentioned in the statement, this is just the latest series set up between the Illini and a team from a power conference, games that will serve as highlights on the non-conference schedule, particularly when the Big Ten schedule expands to nine games in 2016. The Illini face North Carolina in 2015 and 2016 and Virginia in 2021 and 2022.