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Big Ten Likely To Protect NU/Illinois Rivalry

Big Ten expansion next year is going to cause some upheavals in the conference; not the least of which is that certain "rivalry" games might not happen every year.

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It appears, though, at the very least, that Illinois and Northwestern will continue to have their annual rivalry game:

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Look for Northwestern to have a protected rivalry with Illinois when the Big Ten announces its divisions in September.↵
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Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips also would love to have annual games with Wisconsin and Iowa, but that might not happen.

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↵"Everybody has to make some concessions," Phillips told the Tribune. "Everybody has to give a little something."
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This year's game is special -- since it's at Wrigley Field -- and Phillips wants to create a special atmosphere:

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"We thought an 11 o'clock game in a new venue could be problematic for our fans," he said. "Now people don't have to rush down there. We want to create a bowl atmosphere and allow people to take it all in."↵

↵The modest tradeoff: Fewer TV viewers will have access because it will be shown on ESPNU, rather than ESPN or ESPN2.