Welcome to Prairie State Pigskin, your one-stop shop for coverage of the four Illinois Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) programs — Eastern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois and Illinois State.
Here at our online home, you’ll find engaging feature stories, news from around the state’s FCS schools and insight that box scores simply won’t give you. We started our coverage in 2016 after being sorely disappointed in the lack of FCS news in the Chicago area’s daily newspapers.
Originally published as part of ChicagoNow.com, a blogging website affiliated with the Chicago Tribune, we produced well over 1,200 posts. One Illinois FCS head coach said, “You guys are the way we keep up on the other schools.”
When the Tribune turned off the Chicago Now servers without notice in August 2022 — two weeks before the football season — we were left scrambling like many of the quarterbacks we have covered.
We were determined to keep our coverage — and the best logo in sports journalism — alive for readers like you. The end result is this website. We believe it’s better than ever, but we’ll let you be the judge.
Who are we?
Prairie State Pigskin co-founder Barry Bottino spent 19 years as a reporter and editor at three different newspapers in Illinois and still writes a column on local college athletes for the Crystal Lake-based Northwest Herald. He has also worked in health care journalism and now spends his days as a writer and editor for a non-profit organization. Follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.
Prairie State Pigskin co-founder Dan Verdun has written four books on the gridiron game in Illinois — NIU Huskies (2013), EIU Panthers (2014), ISU Redbirds (2016) and SIU Salukis (2017) — and interviewed hundreds of players from those schools while writing the history of all four programs. You can follow @DanVerdunAuthor on Twitter.