Beer pong game: 21 years of Unofficial and 21 years of Illini Sports

By Daily Illini Sports Staff

In the spirit of our school’s favorite holiday — Unofficial — we decided to compare some of the most famous Illinois sports events to formations in one of the most famous drinking games of all time: Beer Pong. Since Unofficial is turning 21, we decided to look back at the past 21 years in Illini sports. Just like in the game, some moments were bad, and to go with that we were able to include some of the most famous and infamous Illini in recent history.

Freshman Cup: Middle cup of the starting formation:

The Tim Beckman years

Our guy Tim Beckman gets the freshman cup for all of the wonderful work he put in while he was with the Illini. Just as the freshman cup is the worst in the game, so is Beckman. No matter how awful people continuously know it is, he stuck around for way too long — just as we all continue to hit this cup.

Island: Hitting the lone cup that isn’t touching any others:

2005 men’s basketball team

The 2005 basketball team is equivalent to hitting an island shot. First, it is not an easy shot to hit — even for the biggest frat stars. But, when you do hit it, the two-cup reward is something to be celebrated. Two: It is so cool when you actually do hit it. Even though 2005 was long before current students got to Illinois, it was still a huge event for all Illini fans because they made it to the NCAA championship. While hitting an island shot and getting that extra cup is great, it probably doesn’t measure up to the greatness of that team. But, in the end, you can’t ignore the similarities.

Zipper: Three in a row right, two in a row left:

Hiring Lovie Smith

Lovie is equivalent to the zipper formation because of how solid it is. After some early 2000’s success, the Illinois football team has struggled. But, just like the zipper formation, the program made a big hire in getting Lovie Smith to come back to the college game. Whenever one has five cups left, you can bet zipper is the go to. Easy to make, easy to communicate to your opponents over the music and overall just a reliable formation. Just like Lovie. Reliable and as solid as it gets.

Regular formation bounce shot:

Football rose bowl team

Great Illinois football seasons have come at a premium, but the 2007-2008 football team was the best of the last decade. Led by quarterback Juice Williams and running back Rashard Mendenhall, the Illini snagged a spot in the Rose Bowl after their 9-3 season. That season the Illini snuck up — just like sneaking in that bounce — and beat then No. 1 Ohio State in one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. As great as that season was though, let’s just forget about the bowl result…

Ring of fire: game ends when you hit this formation.

2015 baseball season

Full of MLB Draft prospects, the 2015 Illinois men’s baseball team made it to the College World Series after going 50-10 with a 21-1 conference record. This team had probably one of the coolest runs in recent memory for college baseball and was one of the best recent reams in Illinois history. It produced the likes of Tyler Jay — current Minnesota Twins top prospect — and many more players that were drafted or signed to MLB teams after the season. So just as it is extremely rare to hit the ring of fire, it’s just as rare to have a team win 21 straight games and produce as many MLB prospects as it did.