Week one of the college football season always has fans chomping at the bit to dive into their beloved college football season. Unfortunately for rabid fans the first week of the season is predominately filled with blow outs as the top tier teams typically schedule significantly weaker opponents for the first two or three weeks of the season to allow their programs to build momentum as they enter the very important conference schedules throughout the heart of the regular season. Football fans from around the country mark their calendars and follow the primetime matchup between the Mizzou Tigers and the University of Illinois in what is traditionally one of the best unblocked games opening weekend in terms of pitting accomplished programs against one another.
The Arch Rivalry game (officially sponsored by an insurance giant) is played on Labor Day weekend which is the first weekend of September. The Mizzou football program is a member of the formidable Big 12 Conference which is consistently considered one of the top football conferences in the country. The University of Illinois is also a proud member of a dominant football conference, although not the Big 12. The University of Illinois is one of eleven teams in the Big Ten Conference.
The Arch Rivalry game derives its name from the mutual site where the game is played. While the University of Missouri is located in Columbia, Missouri and the University of Illinois is located in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois the two schools kick off their college football season in St. Louis, Missouri, a location roughly in the middle of the two universities. The University of Missouri is 125 miles west of St. Louis and the University of Illinois is 185 miles northeast of St. Louis. The moniker Arch Rivalry is a play on words with the historic St. Louis Arch. The annual football heads game is actually held just a couple of miles from the St. Louis Arch at the Edward Jones Dome (home of the St. Louis Rams) in downtown St. Louis.
Fans and alumni of the two schools very much look forward to the annual Labor Day weekend trip to St. Louis to watch their alma maters square off as part of a festive weekend that marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall.