This matchup last year was tentatively planned to be on ESPN on that opening weekend. Think it was tabbed for the 6pm sunday slot of their opening weekend.
The marketing team out if Illinois that ESPN hired to find great matchups brought this matchup and was their suggestion. ESPN balked at it as it wasnt between big enough schools and not big enough of a draw so they told the company to go find another matchup.
Turned out to be a pretty good game if I remember right..oh well..it was ESPNs loss