Since we've both been pretty busy with our day jobs, family and more, we can't think of a better way to begin this year's post . . . so a year ago, we wrote, "The Fighting Illini may have a head coach named Lovie and Northwestern may be passionate about its purple, but the alumni and fans of the Land of Lincoln's four Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) programs have plenty of sweet thoughts this Valentine's Day."
That will have to do for this year too.
We are however, increasing our love from 10 items to 14. In no particular order, it's time to sit down with a box of heart-shaped treats and think fall football thoughts. For the record, we love:
- The crowd rising as one to fill a stadium with cheers as a key play develops
- The fact that the highest paid NFL player is Jimmy Garoppolo from Rolling Meadows High School and Eastern Illinois University
- Speaking of EIU, Kamu Grugier-Hill will proudly wear a Super Bowl ring as a Philadelphia Eagle
- That Kevin Glenn, former Illinois State great, recently signed with the Edmonton Eskimos meaning he has now been a part of every single current Canadian Football League franchise
- Halftime shows
- The start of Jared Elliott's head coaching career at Western
- Rivalry games
- A twin-Cam engine helping to drive the Chicago Bears (WR Cameron Meredith and OL Cameron Lee, both ISU Redbirds)
- The hopes and promise of Signing Day
- The singing of each school's fight song after a victory
- The weekend we spent in Carbondale, covering the ISU at SIU game
- Seeing players, coaches and staff out helping their local communities in so many positive ways
- Being on campus whether it's ISU, Eastern, Southern or Western