(CBS) From the day he was hired in December 2011, Illinois football coach Tim Beckman has made a point to create a rivalry between his team and in-state rival Northwestern. At his introductory press conference, he said, “You’ll never see me wearing purple” and has often referred to the Wildcats as the “team up north” or some variation of that.
Yesterday on National Signing Day, Beckman took another dig at Northwestern, saying he out-recruited Pat Fitzgerald and Co. in Chicago.
“We signed four players out of the ‘state of Chicago,’ as we call it,” Beckman said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “That was more than the actual team that is in Chicago.”
Making this all the more entertaining was that Northwestern may have gotten the upper hand in Chicago. The Wildcats signed three players from the Chicago area, each of who was a Rivals.com four-star recruit: quarterback Clayton Thorson (Wheaton North), running back Justin Jackson (Glenbard North) and defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook).
All four of Illinois’ Chicago area signees were rated as three-star prospects. So this is probably a quality-vs.-quantity debate.
But more than anything, this is jabber between lightweights. Both teams went 1-7 in Big Ten play last season and missed out on bowl games.