Illinois and Missouri will open each of the next two college football seasons against each other in St. Louis. Come 2011, the series between the two schools will be discontinued.
I have mixed emotions about this decision. I like opening the season against Missouri every year. It's nice to have a non-conference game against a border rival from a BCS conference. It's far preferable to playing Chicken Salad A&M in the season-opener, like some of the Illini's Big Ten rivals do.
However, having this neutral-site game limits the Illini to six home games. That's intolerable when you consider that everyone else in the conference is playing seven home games. Illinois is putting itself at a competitive disadvantage in the hunt to get one of the 2,467 bowl bids that are now available to Division I schools. You want to maximize your opportunities to get wins by playing three non-conference home games. That's what everyone else does.
I would like to see the series against Missouri continue on a home-and-home basis. Why not play in Champaign one year and Columbia the next? I think that would be great. The Illini could still get their seven home games, and there would be a BCS opponent on the non-conference schedule each and every year.