If you've ever held season tickets for a professional or college sports team, you probably know the tickets typically come with well-known coaches and players pictured on them.
For instance, my White Sox season tickets this year feature photos of manager Ozzie Guillen, pitchers Gavin Floyd and Jake Peavy, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and other popular players.
In the past, my University of Illinois football season tickets would come with pictures of players like Juice Williams, Arrelious Benn, Vontae Davis, J Leman, Rashard Mendenhall and Brit Miller printed on them.
Not this year.
My Illinois season tickets arrived in the mail Saturday. I wish I could say I'm excited, but I think the team is going to be really bad this year. I only renewed because friends and family members talked me into it. The pictures on this year's tickets are quite telling, as far as I'm concerned. The photos for each game are as follows:
Sept. 11 vs. SIU: Picture of male cheerleaders carrying the 'I' flag
Sept. 18 vs. NIU: Picture of female cheerleader
Oct. 2 vs. Ohio St.: Picture of Red Grange statue outside Memorial Stadium
Oct. 23 vs. Indiana: Picture of Illinois marching band
Oct. 30 vs. Purdue: Picture of Illinois football helmet
Nov. 13 vs. Minnesota: Picture of collonnades at Memorial Stadium
What does this say about Illinois football? It means they don't have any marketable players this year. There isn't anybody on the roster who is going to bring you out of your seat. Even in losing seasons past, Illinois at least had a couple future NFLers that you could get excited about watching. This season, probably not so much. They don't even have anybody they want to picture on the season tickets.
Basically, the message is, "Come to Memorial Stadium to see the band and the cheerleaders! Oskee Wow Wow!"
Unless I'm spectacularly wrong (always possible), it's going to be a long year. We might even see double-digit losses. I'm not sure the Galloping Ghost (pictured) could save the Illini this season.