When it was announced that Lovie Smith would be returning to the college football world for the first time since 1995 and heading to his old stomping grounds as head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini, the team likely gained a ton more fans in the Chicago area.
This has prompted Smith to believe the Illini now belong to the city of Chicago.
When Smith took to the podium at Tuesday’s Big Ten Media Days, he talked about how he wants Illinois to become a real contender in the conference. He then seemed to take a bit of a shot at a conference foe.
“I feel like we’re Chicago’s team,” Smith said.
This is pretty interesting for Lovie Smith to say, especially since Northwestern, located in Evanston, Illinois, is just north of the city of Chicago and closer than the Illini. However, Smith does have a pretty good claim to the Windy City.
Smith spent 11 seasons in the NFL as a head coach and nine of them were spent with the Chicago Bears. He was 81-63 with three NFC North championships and an appearance in Super Bowl XLI.
The Illini face off against the Wildcats in Evanston to close the regular season on Nov. 26.