Almanac

Recognizing odds stacked against them, Fighting Illini resort to biological warfare

UW-Madison Football Team Rushing the Field to Avoid Contamination Using the Axe as Protection.
UW-Madison Football Team Rushing the Field to Avoid Contamination Using the Axe as Protection. Image By: Brandon Moe

According to the experts in Vegas — and anybody who knows a lick about Big Ten football — it’s incredibly unlikely that Lovie Smith and his Fighting Illini will be able to replicate last year’s upset victory over the Badgers this Friday at Camp Randall. According to football mastermind Smith, Illinois’ only chance to make it to Saturday without a humiliating defeat under their belt is if enough Badger players test positive for COVID-19 before kickoff that Wisconsin can’t field a team. Sure, it might sound like a longshot, but it’s way more likely than their forcing three turnovers and holding Badgers rushers to 3.6 YPC again.     

Wisconsin’s strongest unit this year will be, as always, their offensive line. So naturally, these are the first players Illinois intended to target. 

“There’s absolutely no way our defense will be able to stand up to the 312-pound left tackle Cole Van Lanen again,” Lovie Smith reportedly told the mercenaries he hired to infect Badgers players. “I need you to get bat soup and pangolin kabobs on the Badgers’ training table buffet menu by the end of the week.”

But even without their most well-known unit, presumptive starting quarterback Graham Mertz threatens to attack Illinois’ defense without needing any push up front. 

To target the Badgers’ promising youngster, Illinois tactically deployed an armada of coronavirus-filled balloons over Madison designed to pop every time Mertz makes an Instagram post in which the caption contains an ellipsis or a cheesy cliche. 

But you can’t win if you don’t score, and Wisconsin’s defensive backs, led by returning corners Faion Hicks and Caesar Williams, won’t let opponents do that very often. 

Lovie’s plan to infect Wisconsin’s d-backs is as convoluted as it is genius: He’s instructed his mercenaries to watch literally any football game and add another COVID-balloon to the armada each time a defensive back flexes their arms or excessively celebrates as a result of a quarterback missing his target. 

It remains to be seen whether Illinois’ biological warfare will prove successful, but it’s almost certainly their only hope.

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