Posted on: June 12, 2009 3:26 pm
Last year, despite a Rose Bowl bid the previous season, Illinois didn't even get to a bowl game after three straight losses to finish the season.
This season, with such players as Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn and the other 6 returning starters, Illinois looks to have one of the top offenses in the country, but hardly ANYONE is talking. The public's infatuation with the Big 12, SEC, USC, and the Big Ten's big three have kept such teams as Illinois WAY under the radar.
Quietly, Benn has become the best Wide Receiver in the nation, and Ron Zook has put together quite a team.
The shock of Illinois' appearance in the Rose Bowl was only matched by the shock of their three losses including one to Western Michigan to close out the season. There are a few things that point to this season being better. Their Turnover margin last year was -6 which is bad. That is likely to improve. Also, they lost 27 starts to injury which is not likely to repeat. Either one of those things improve they make this season much better.
There are problems with this coming year however, as their schedule is very, very tough. 3 of their first 4 games are Missouri, Ohio State, and Penn State. They finish off their season with two straight games against tough OOC opponents as well, going to Cincinnati and then playing Fresno State. 8 of the 12 teams they play made a bowl last year, and three of them went to a BCS bowl.
Also, they're defense is hurting after losing Brit Miller and Vontae Davis to the draft. But, if their defense even approaches last year's strength, the offense should keep them going.
As most of you know, the Big Ten is hurting. Ohio State is the only team you can count on being near the top year to year. Even Penn State didn't stay near the top in 06 and 07. Michigan, who used to be a team you could count on being in or around the BCS every year has fallen on hard times, having their first losing season since 1967 last year. Iowa is good for 8-4 every year, and Mich State is improving, but every other team in the Big Ten can't stick more than one winning season together anymore. The bowl record the past four years is atrocious at 9-20. If the Big Ten could just get another team to be a contender year in and year out, and possibly get a third team to finish in the top ten, it just might be ok.
Enter Illinois. Ron Zook this year has a team that just might fit the bill.
An early win against Mizzou could put them on the map, but then they have two straight killer games as they go to Columbus for OSU and play the Nittany Lions at home. It's possible they go into week 6 with a 1-3 record. But, if they are 2-2 or even, dare I say, 3-1, going into that stretch, they should win every other game. On Dec 6th this year, if Illinois is looking at a 10-2 record, we've got 3 top ten teams coming out of the Big Ten.
Look out nation, here come the Fighting Illini.
Posted on: December 16, 2008 3:12 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2008 3:13 pm
Reason: The Only People Who Want it Are the Fans.
How can there ever be a playoff? Using any conference tiebreaker except the Big 12’s and <st1:state w:st="on">Texas</st1:state> demolishes <st1:state w:st="on">Missouri</st1:state> and would be heading for a date with <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Florida</st1:place></st1:state>. Because of the history and tradition of the Rose Bowl, <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Illinois</st1:place></st1:state> gets killed by USC last year instead of a more competitive game. <st1:placename w:st="on">Boise</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">State</st1:placetype> beats <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Oklahoma</st1:place></st1:state> in perhaps the most entertaining BCS game ever and can’t even get enough respect to go back to a BCS game even after going undefeated due to their “easy” schedule and weak conference.
It is apparent that as a fan, my passionate opinion for a true championship system gets grouped together with all the other crazy fans and is largely ignored by anyone and everyone who would have a decision in changing it anything close to what I want. I decided there must be something I was missing so I looked under a few rocks and tried to find those BCS deciders to discover what was going on.
Ten Reasons There Isn’t a Playoff Right Now:<o:p></o:p>
Football alas is very different from every other sport in many ways and its very nature leads the sport into a hopeless morass. Consider:
So football is just too difficult to have a playoff structure in its present form.
5 Things That Have to Happen for a Playoff (but won’t)<o:p></o:p>
1. The BCS conferences would all have to be run similarly. That means, the same number of teams, the same decision to have a championship game or not, the same drive to crown a champion. I get the impression that the Pac 10 and Big 10 would be just as happy to go back to the way it was in the seventies. On the other hand, I get the impression the SEC would trim games to get the playoffs started baby. And who would the twelfth Big Ten team be? What would the Big East do?
2. Some playoff games would have to be played in December, before student exams, then again after the exams. That means only one or two bowl games a year would be part of the playoffs, rotating each year. This is not a simple thing to overcome.
3. The NCAA would have to play ball with the BCS. Currently they are separate entities that have nothing to do with each other and different priorities. That would have to change. That means compromises and time.
4. The chasm between the “BCS” and “non-BCS” teams would have to grow, possibly even splitting. The best they could hope for now is one at-large spot in an eight-team playoff. Any good programs like <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Utah</st1:place></st1:state> or Brigham Young would have to decide whether to be a big fish in a small pond or try and get in a better conference. Cinderella teams would be someone like <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cincinnati</st1:place></st1:city> who won the Big East this year but would be a low seed and a heavy dog against the likes of any other BCS conference winner. Not really my idea of a Cinderella.
5. The network contract would have to be renegotiated. Right now it goes to 2014 I think. Nothing is going to happen until we get past that at least, and if the others on this list aren’t dealt with, it won’t happen then either. I may die first.
Sorry to say I don’t see the last list of five things happening because of the first list of ten things. Face it gang: there’s no BCS Playoff in anyone’s Christmas Stocking. Ever.
Posted on: December 8, 2008 9:48 am
Ohio State is 4-1 in the Fiesta Bowl all-time with the only loss being in 1981 to Penn State. The wins were over Pitt, Miami, Kansas State, and Notre Dame.
Ohio State is 5-0 in Bowls vs the Big 12. Check that. FIVE AND ZERO, with two wins over Texas A&M, one win over Colorado, one win over Kansas State, and one win over Oklahoma State.
In bowl games not against the SEC, Jim Tressel is 5-0 (overall 5-3), including 2-0 vs the Big 12. He is also 3-0 in all non-championship BCS games (all of them in the Fiesta Bowl).
Texas is 2-3 vs current Big Ten schools in bowl games with wins in the 06 Alamo Bowl over Iowa and 05 Rose Bowl over Michigan, and losses to Iowa in the 84 Freedom bowl and Penn State in both the 97 Fiesta and the 72 Cotton.
In the Fiesta Bowl, Texas is currently 0-1 with one loss to Penn State in 1997.
In Mack Brown's tenure, he is 7-3 in bowls including 2-0 vs the Big Ten in bowl games. In BCS bowls, he is 2-0 with wins over USC in the National Title game and Michigan in the previous Rose Bowl.
Ohio State and Texas have only met twice before, once in 2005 and the other in 2006. Texas won the first matchup with stellar QB Vince Young on their way to the National Championship. Ohio State won the second meeting on their way to the NC game, but lost there. This match will effectively break the tie.
Posted on: November 30, 2008 9:06 pm
Last week, a lot was decided in the way of conferences and bowls as well.
My top 10:
Here are my predictions:
SEC championship Game: Alabama vs Florida-
ACC championship Game: Virginia Tech vs Boston College-
Big 12 champoionship Game: Oklahoma vs Missouri
CUSA championship Game: Tulsa vs East Carolina
MAC championship Game: Ball State vs Buffalo
USC @ UCLA-
Army vs Navy-
South Florida vs West Virginia-
Heisman Top 5:
BCS Bowl Predictions-
Posted on: November 23, 2008 7:06 pm
Well, the final game of the regular season is over. Ohio State SMASHING Michigan caps off a pretty good season. Not what we wanted, but not bad either.
Posted on: November 16, 2008 8:10 pm
It's like the week before Christmas here in Columbus. And this year, for the first time in a while, there's almost no apprehension. Michigan has no chance.
Utah vs BYU: Utah 31-BYU 35
Cincinnati vs Pitt: Cincy 24-Pitt 34
Penn State vs Michigan State: PSU 28-MSU 17
Oklahoma vs Texas Tech: OU 45-TTech 42
Maryland vs Florida State: Maryland 27-FSU 28
Oregon State @ Arizona: Or State 35- Ariz 24
My Top 10:
Heisman top 5:
Posted on: November 9, 2008 7:26 pm
I'm BAAACK!!! Sorry for taking a week off. (It's not like you care what I say anyway)
South Carolina @ Florida: UF 38- SC 20
Texas @ Kansas: Texas 42- Kansas 35
Oregon State vs Cal: Or State 27- Cal 24
Notre Dame vs Navy: Notre Dame 30- Navy 17
Heisman top 5:
*new* Conference Championships:
Posted on: October 27, 2008 4:11 pm
I can gaurantee we won’t lose this week. Wish I could say that about last week.