Lovie Smith wants the Illinois-Missouri rivalry to return to the football field
The annual hardwood matchup between Illinois and Missouri took place on Saturday night, as the two rivals met for 35th straight season. The yearly battle has created one of the B1G’s most highly-anticipated non-conference rivalry game.
And about this time every year, the conversation returns regarding the Illini and Tigers meeting on the gridiron. While there have been some heated battles in the past, the two programs haven’t been able to come to an agreement on a yearly matchup.
Illinois head coach Lovie Smith believes that needs to change.
“Love it,” Smith told Andy Katz Saturday night while taking in the basketball game. “This is exactly the reason why we should be playing in football. There’s nothing like two schools close by, both love their university and a great game.”
"Love it. This is exactly the reason why we should be playing in football."
— Illinois on BTN (@IllinoisOnBTN) December 23, 2018
Illinois and Missouri to have a head-to-head matchups from 2026 through 2029, with each school hosting two games. Champaign will be the site for the 2026 and 2028 contests and the game will be in Columbia in 2027 and 2029.
The two schools haven’t met too frequently on the gridiron, playing just 24 times. Missouri leads the all-time series 17-7. The Tigers are also winners of the last six matchups. The two teams last squared off in 2010, a 23-13 victory for Missouri.
Missouri won Saturday’s basketball game 79-63.