Tag Archives: Illinois

UNRAVELED

What in the wide, wide, bloody world of sports was that?!?!?

It sure as hell wasn’t the thrill of victory. No sir. It wasn’t the agony of defeat either. We witnessed a defeat in agony.

W. T. F.

I don’t even know where to begin? I’d like to say it left me speechless, but unfortunately I have a lot of speech to speak about this fiasco. And most of them autocorrect to DUCK. Seriously, autocorrect? Who says what the duck?!?!?! And you call yourself a “smart phone.” Smart my ass.

Blogging for me is usually a form of catharsis. We don’t need catharsis after that. We need an exorcism! And maybe an enema. Get rid of that shit forever!

As I walked out of the morgue, um the stadium, the PA announcer blared “We hope you had an enjoyable afternoon at Beaver Stadium.”

Seriously?!?!?! I mean: SERIOUSLY ?!?!?!?!? Shut up you! Stifle Edith!

Just what part was freaking enjoyable? Watching your team play like a high school team on a college field? And a not very good high school team at that! Watching a team at one time ranked 4th in the nation (can we say, OVER-RATED now) lose to an unranked 2-5 team (now 3-5) that they were picked to beat by more than 23 points! Christ Almighty! Lord and Savior! We weren’t even CLOSE! Or maybe it was enjoying the competent officiating we’ve all come to know and love in the Big Ten. Good grief, it was so bad, I’m not sure who really benefitted from that maelstrom of yellow flags. I swear they just started throwing them late in the game and then checked their magic eight ball to see what they were going to call. Was that an ineligible receiver downfield or was it offensive pass interference? We may never know! I’m not sure the refs know. And there’s really no point to ever review anything. They still can’t seem to get it right better than 50% of the time. I swear they just flip a coin.

We were not prepared. And we had TWO DUCKING WEEKS TO PREPARE FOR THIS! This travesty against football came after a BYE week! I hope to God we were looking ahead to Ohio State because if we weren’t we have nothing to look for ahead. Next week is going to be a blood bath. A very scarlet blood bath.

The coaching staff should be ashamed of themselves. There are very few times I come away embarrassed to be a Penn State fan but that was an EMBARRASSMENT. A DISGRACE. AN EPIC FAIL. MY CAP LOCK IS STUCK.

Illinois dominated us. Period. No sugar coating. This wasn’t about PJ Mustipher not being able to play. One man does not make a defense, any more than one QB makes an offense. Clifford was clearly not 100% and it appeared we wasted running backs and tight ends trying to protect him when they should have been part of the offensive game plan.

I never dreamed our defense would collapse so badly. The Illini ripped off chunks of yardage like someone with diarrhea tearing off squares of toilet paper. We still don’t have enough! More! Wad up that yardage and wipe away Penn State’s season. Flush it down the toilet.

Someone on the Illini offensive brain trust apparently saw a weakness on our left side and seemed to run the ball that way all day at will. We never adjusted. And for whatever reason, they abandoned that in over time or we could have gone home a lot sooner.

NINE over times. It was as if neither team wanted to win. We couldn’t run the ball all game yet insisted on running the ball in OT. They couldn’t pass the ball all day, yet seemed hell bent to win on the pass. They eventually did. More obstinate than we were. There’s probably a mathematical theorem to explain that but it baffles me. I really think both offensive coordinators out-thinked themselves too much. But really, how much thought goes into a 10-10 tie in regulation and NINE over times?

Nine over times makes college football history. Yes. We were a part of history today. Like Napoleon at Waterloo. Or the Germans when they bombed Pearl Harbor.

And why–with over four minutes left on the clock and possession of the ball, did we play for the tie?!?!!? WHY?!?!? Answer me that! Granted, Stoudt isn’t terribly accurate beyond, oh, maybe the twenty yard line, but why not try to get into field goal range and at least try to kick a field goal? Did we have that little faith in our defense that we just settled to run out the clock and go to OT?

I hate this new OT. Nothing but two point conversions after the second OT???? Who’s ducking brilliant idea was that?!?!? Perhaps our biggest offensive weakness outside of not having a running game–and perhaps because we have no running game–is our short yardage game. Especially at the goal line. We were doomed once we failed to win in the first two over times!

And the weather kind of sucked too.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Pick a number. Any number. It probably favors the Illini. Except for passing yards, they out performed us in nearly every category. They even had more turn-overs–3-0. Not that we could capitalize on any of them.

We were shut out in the second half.

The Illini had almost 360 yards in rushing. Read that again. We have played teams like Wisconsin and Auburn. You won’t find a damning stat like that in any of those games. No we saved up our best suckage of the year for this game. Welcome Home alumni.

And while the Illini went 50% on third down conversions (9 of 18), Penn State managed a paltry 4 of 17. 24%? Give or take a suck or two. Because of this, they nearly had double the first downs that we managed.

105,001 fans my ass. Stop bragging about tickets sold. You have every seat counted at the gate electronically. Just tell us how many of us there are. It wasn’t close to a 100,000. Hell, half the students didn’t even show up for this mess. Or at least give us both numbers: tickets sold and fans that actually showed up. Inquiring minds want to know.

INTANGIBLES:

Penn State won the toss and deferred. We lost the toss in the first OT.

Drum Major made both flips. The Alumni Band was enthusiastic and inimitable as always.

Penn State still leads the all-time series 20-6. But this travesty was one of those six. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.

Franklin’s name has been bantered about for the USC and now LSU job. I’m guessing he’s coached his way off both those lists at this point. Yeah Us. I’m not so sure.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

Future is hazy. Ask again later.

As if I even care anymore. IF we make it to a bowl game–and I’m not sure we can beat Rutgers at this point–it will likely be a bottom tier bowl in mid December.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Seriously? We have to travel to Columbus to face the Buckeyes 7:30 next Saturday. Be prepared. Liquor up ahead of time. You can probably go to bed at the half. Maybe I’m over-reacting, but that’s how I see it right now. We didn’t show up for this game. Why expect them to show up next week?

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Bye Week Blues and More . . .

Penn State survived the bye week without dropping on either poll–coming in at 7th on the AP poll and 9th on the Coaches Poll.

Of course the Penn State of this season still rests on the health of one starting quarterback, fondly known as Sean Clifford, the Big Blue Lion. Details of his injury are sketchy and speculative, and the date of his return are sketchier yet.

Our future path would look something like this on an Etch-A-Sketch . . .

And to make losing our starting quarterback and the Iowa game even worse, the Hawkeyes got the proverbial #2 kicked out of them by Purdue. (A Purdue fan apparently twitterpated or instasnapped that pithy synopsis but I really like it.)

Unfortunately, as amusing as this Iowa loss to Purdue was (24-7 if you didn’t know!) you could insert Penn State into most of those memes the day after we lost to the Hawkeyes. The loss, a bittersweet karma, dropped the Hawkeyes to 11th place on both polls.

The AP top 4 now has Georgia, Cincinnati, Oklahoma and guess who—Alabama. Cincinnati only plays one more ranked team (SMU currently at 21st.) And while Bama and the Bulldogs will play each other at some point in all likelihood–Georgia should cruise and Alabama just has to get past Auburn– it is certainly foreseeable that one losing to the other wouldn’t necessarily drop the loser out of the playoff! Oklahoma does have some tough games left –Oklahoma State and Baylor. That might open the door for a Big Ten team to creep in. Contrast that with the road Penn State has to travel: Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State–all ranked in the top ten and only Michigan is at home. All of these teams have to play each other in the coming weeks.

But first, we have Illinois!

Homecoming at Beaver Stadium. A nooner start.

The opening line is 23-24 points favoring the Nittany Lions.

The New Mascot of Illinois
But this is what that reminds me of

Illinois is 2-5 with a surprising week one win over Nebraska, 30-22. Seven games later they have only one more win, over Charlotte. The secret apparently didn’t lie with Charlotte.

If Clifford doesn’t play, which I think is probably a real possibility–even if he could play it might be prudent to rest him for the next game. I know. I know. 1-0. Whatever. We should be able to beat the Illini with a back-up quarterback. I don’t think we stand a chance against the Buckeyes with what we saw in Iowa City during the second half.

GO STATE! BEAT ILLINI!

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Lions Beat the Nois

So what can you say about a 63-24 victory?

No pinch, no stink, no sweat?  Oh wait, that’s Duluth Underwear.

It is hard to believe, but early in the third quarter, the Illini were actually leading this game 24-21.

But in what has become a signature script for Penn State in the Franklin Era, Penn State played an uninspired first half complete with poor tackling, turn-overs and missed opportunities, then followed that dismal performance by a magical turn around in the second half thanks to defensive adjustments and multiple offensive weapons.  The Lions held the Illini to one touchdown on a trick play in the third quarter, and then powered up their high octane offense for 42 unanswered points, including 35 in the final quarter.

The only thing less inspiring than Penn State’s first half was the crowd at Memorial Stadium.  I suspect a fair number of their fans forgot the game was on Friday, and showed up Saturday wondering when the game was going to start.

A friend of mine went to the game and said he counted six—SIX—fans standing along the Illini Walk to support their team.

Is there any need to break this game down further?  While our special teams on kick-offs and punts (on both kicking and receiving sides) are perhaps the best we’ve seen at Penn State in ages, our field goal kicking leaves much to be desired.  Like, maybe actually making a field goal.  But . . .

Fortunately the red zone offense for Penn State is amazing.  Our red zone scoring percentage for 2018 is 100%.  Of course, so is Tulane’s.  They only had one opportunity against the Buckeyes but made the best of it.  They missed the PAT.  (In case you are wondering, Ohio State’s red zone–in Columbus they call it the Scarlet Zone–scoring percentage is 87.5%.)

Did I say the kicking team was doing well?  TWO out of bounds?  But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln liked the play and said she’d “definitely” see it again.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Trace McSorley extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 32.

Miles Sanders ran for 200 yards on 22 carries.

Penn State rushed for 387 yards as a team.

Time of Possession was almost equal:  PSU=29:55 to ILL=30:05.

INTANGIBLES:

I believe I wrote that this was Penn State’s first ever Friday night game.  The last time Penn State played on a Friday was 1982 versus Pitt.  Used to be a Black Friday staple back in the day.  But I don’t think those games were played at night.

Sean Clifford is 5-5 on the season.

The series record is in PSU’s favor, 19-5.

Penn State is ranked 9th on both polls.  We are ranked third by Sagarin.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

The Buckeyes trounced Tulane 49-6. Urban Liar made his triumphant return.

THEM outmatched Nebraska 56-10.

Wisconsin edged Iowa 28-17, but the final score was late and the Badgers were trying to run out the clock and ended up running into the end zone.

The Boilermakers upset the BC Eagles 30-13.  BC had just broke the Top 25.  Well, so much for that.

The Spartans defeated the Indiana Hoosiers 35-21.

Maryland took care of business, defeating Minnesota 42-13.

And Rutgers continues their impressive losing season with a crushing loss to Buffalo 42-13.

MEANWHILE . . . IN . . .

Norman, Oklahoma, the fifth ranked Sooners survived a scare from the Black Knights of Army, winning 28-21 in OT.

Blacksburg, Old Dominion upset the Hokies 49-35. The Hokies were ranked 13th.  Unlucky, huh?

Boone, NC, Appalachian State took Gardner-Webb out to the woodshed.  72-7!

Kentucky, the Wildcats knocked off Joe Moorhead’s Mississippi State Bulldogs 28-7.  Wow!  I wonder if that might be the fewest points one of his offenses have ever scored.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Can you smell what The Lions got cooking?

Apparently, the Buckeye Fans were chanting “We Want Penn State” to Kernkraft 400 during their game against Tulane.

I was not expecting a rival today, yet here we are.

The Buckeyes are 4-0 and their head coach is back.  Bosa is out.

The season so far for Ohio State:  Oregon State 77-31, Rutgers 52-3, TCU 40-28 and Tulane 49-6.

It’s early in the season, but Ohio State’s opponents are a combined 5-11.  Our opponent’s are a combined 7-8.

Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I am going to predict a Penn State win by at least two scores.  Why?  Because I’m an idiot is the easy answer.  But if you want some method behind this madness . . .

Night game.  White out.  We beat them in 2016 when they arguably had the better team.  We should have beaten them last year–when they still arguably had the better team.  I am not sold on Dwayne Haskins–I don’t think he is as good as JT Barrett was at this point.  TCU took advantage of an up-tempo offense that seemed to throw Ohio State off.  If we can replicate that tempo . . . with better offensive weapons than TCU has . . . well, you do the math.  Carry the one.  Divide by pi.  Whatever.

Now, that said, if we start out slow like the Appalachian State or Illinois game . . . or don’t play four quarters (we only played three last year against the Bucks) and we turn over the ball more than they do, then all bets are off.

I just have this feeling we have been holding back.  We haven’t seen much blitzing on defense.  We have given up some yardage, but we always seem to lock things down when we need to (fourth quarter vs. App State the exception, but I really think we underestimated them greatly.)  We will not underestimate OSU.

GO STATE!  BEAT BUCKEYES!

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Memorial Stadium–RIP

The Chicago Tribune ranked the Big Ten Venues for their football experience.  Is it any surprise that Penn State is #1?

1. Penn State

More than 100,000 fans descend into a cozy Pennsylvania town every home football weekend and transform it into one of the grandest parties in college sports. Lots open on Thursday night as a pop-up town of white tents and RVs clusters around Beaver Stadium. Students set up camp for first-come, first-served seating in their section, helping build anticipation before game day. Stroll through the tailgating area before kickoff and you’ll likely be invited to share a beer or brat under someone’s tent. It’s hard to beat the raucous atmosphere of a whiteout during a night game in State College with fans chanting: “We are. Penn State.” The downside? Traffic is miserable with a two-lane road in and out of town.

And our current opponent today?

#12.  Hey, at least they beat out Rutgers and Maryland!

12. Illinois

Give Illinois credit for working to enhance its game-day experience in recent years. The self-dubbed “Littyville” includes a new Grange Grove, an “Illini walk” of fans cheering the players as they march into the stadium and a pregame fan fest with local bands and bouncy houses for kids. That’s the good. The bad: Memorial Stadium is one of the deadest venues in the Big Ten. The student section is rarely full, with many opting for the bars — or maybe even the library — instead of the stadium.

That is not what you want your review to ever say . . . THE LIONS DEN is one of the DEADEST VENUES . . .

GO STATE!  BEAT ILLINI!

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The Big Fifteen?

The University of Illinois is feeling lonely in Illinois.

According to timesunion.com,

Two state lawmakers are proposing a plan to have another of Illinois’ state colleges designated a Big Ten school.

The legislation is sponsored by Republican Sens. Matt Murphy and Michael Connelly. It would study the feasibility of having another of the state’s nine public universities join the conference that also includes Penn State, the University of Michigan and Purdue University.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently the state’s only Big Ten state school.

Murphy says the university has become so competitive that Illinois students with good grades and test scores often see their applications declined, causing them to travel to other Big Ten schools out of state.

That’s not how it works.  That’s not how any of this works.

Obviously, they are not legislating adding a school to the Big Ten against the conference’s will, but isn’t that the ultimate goal–to add a school?  How much is this feasibility study going to cost the average Illinois tax payer?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask the Big Ten if there are any other existing schools in Illinois that could become members?  If the conference just laughs, then there’s your feasibility study right there.  Hell, give me $100,000 contract and I’ll give you a feasibility study!  (And while it’s cheaper than the Freeh Report, I guarantee it will hold more truth!)

Wasn’t the University of Chicago a founding member back in the days of leather helmets and no forward passes?  Maybe they are still available.

Here is a list, from Wikipedia, of public universities in Illinois:

Chicago State University
Eastern Illinois University
Governors State University
Illinois State University
Northeastern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University

-Southern Illinois University Carbondale
-Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

University of Illinois system

-University of Illinois at Chicago
-University of Illinois at Springfield
-University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Western Illinois University

-Western Illinois University-Quad Cities

 I’d vote for Governors State University just because of the cool name, and it doesn’t have Illinois or Chicago in its name.  And it’s in University Park, IL.  How cool is that?!  Their school colors are black and orange, so it would be like Halloween all year long.  And when it comes to athletics:

Students at Governors State University can participate in a number of intramural sports. All students are encouraged to participate. Available athletic programs include men’s and women’s intramural basketball, handball, racquetball, soccer softball, table tennis, and women’s intramural volleyball.

Watch out for that table tennis team!  A new Big Ten sport!

Maybe they ought to be looking into ways to assure more residents of a spot in the Big Ten school(s)–Northwestern apparently has been excluded from the discussion because it is a private school–they already have.  But wait!  Maybe they don’t want more in-state students, since the cost of tuition is $14,000 higher for out of state students!

Silly me.  It would be cheaper just to add Northeastern Illinois to the Big Ten.

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Keiser Rolls!

It was a single dramatic play, fittingly defensive, that carried the cold, overcast day for Penn State, as they defeated Illinois 24-17 in OT.  Having scored a touchdown on their own possession in the OT period, the Lion defense rose up to the occasion on Illinois’ first play with an INT of Scheelhasse by Ryan Keiser, who grabbed the tip, and rolled to the ground securing both the ball and victory.

It was a strange game to say the least.  The over/under was somewhere around 55 points, but only 34 were scored in regulation by these two defensively-challenged offensive juggernauts.  The guy next to me complained all game long about the lack of Penn State defense.  And there sure seemed to be a lot of wide open receivers (although not nearly as many as there were last week!)  Yet, at the end of four quarters, the Illini had but 17 points to show for all of Penn State’s defensive ineptitude.

Seven points came off the board for Illinois thanks to a chop block penalty, and Penn State had a rushing TD called back for holding in the OT before Hackenberg threaded a bullet to Kyle Carter.  Ficken also missed a 37-yarder in the second quarter that almost came back to haunt us just days after Halloween.

What I’m trying to say, is that it seemed like Illinois had scored a lot of points, but instead, they just put up a lot of meaningless numbers.  But when you look at the numbers, they were not that impressive.  Penn State outgained the Illini 250 to 90 yards on the ground, and 490 total yards to 411 for Illinois.  Penn State won time of possession, and despite a fumble on the goal line, we won the turn-over battle with two key INTs.  The first stopped a promising Illinois drive and led to 7 PSU points, and the second ended the game in OT.

And so I scratch my head in disbelief.  Surely our defense played worse than that.  It certainly seemed like we had a hard time stopping Illinois.  Yet, we won.  Hackenberg seemed to be throwing the ball at the ground of open receivers, yet we won.  We fumbled on the one-yard line,  Yet, we won.  We seemed to do everything wrong . . . yet we didn’t.

WE WON!

And though we didn’t cover the 10 point spread, this was a much needed victory.  It wasn’t as exciting or as important as the 4 OT thriller two weeks ago, but it was a pleasant alternative to the debacle we witnessed last week.  The effort of this staff and these players should not be underestimated or underappreciated.  It would have been all too easy to give up after last week.  After all, there’s no Big Ten title to play for.  No bowl game.  And with Minnesota knocking off Indiana, Northwestern and Nebraska, things don’t get any easier next week.

And as much maligned as the defense was after last week, it was fitting that the defense secured the victory this week.

BY THE NUMBERS:

From the GoPSUsports site:

ILL PSU
FIRST DOWNS………………. 27 25
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)………… 24-90 48-250
PASSING YDS (NET)…………. 321 240
Passes Att-Comp-Int……….. 52-33-2 32-20-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS….. 76-411 80-490
Fumble Returns-Yards………. 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards………… 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards……… 2-37 1-27
Interception Returns-Yards…. 0-0 2-1
Punts (Number-Avg)………… 4-35.0 3-34.3
Fumbles-Lost……………… 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards…………… 9-71 11-95
Possession Time…………… 25:08 34:52
Third-Down Conversions…….. 8 of 13 8 of 18
Fourth-Down Conversions……. 0 of 1 2 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances……. 3-5 3-6
Sacks By: Number-Yards…….. 1-4 1-11

Holding Illinois to under 100 yards rushing and 17 points (when they were averaging 31 points per game on the season) are the key stats here.  Penn State also took control with our own ground game–Beltin’ Bill Belton is turning into quite the work horse.  The fumble was concerning, but didn’t change the outcome of the game fortunately.

INTANGIBLES:

The Drum Major over-rotated his first flip but didn’t fall.  The Russian judge deducted two tenths of a point, though.  He stuck the second in the South end zone.

Penn State won the toss and deferred.  Illinois won the toss in the OT.

The attendance is listed at 95,131 and is probably generous.  This is the first game the students really didn’t fill their seats.  Maybe it’s because of mid-terms and everyone was studying.

The overall excitement level was as depressing as the weather.  The wave failed.  The crowd was into it at the end when it counted, but largely it was a blah day.  No Sweet Caroline.  Zombie nation only played before the team came out of the tunnel.  Just a strange lack of enthusiasm and energy.  I’m still going to blame the weather.

Penn State is 17-4 in the overall series against Illinois.

THE B1G PICTURE:

The Suckeyes rolled all over Purdue 56-0.  The Boilermakers are just lucky there are no plays in football that can result in negative points, or they would have been less than zero on the day.

Big Brother beat Little Brother as the Spartans defeated THEM 29-6 to remain unbeaten in the Legends division.

Wisconsin bested Iowa 28-9 to remain one game behind O$U.

Northwestern remains winless in the conference after falling on a Hail Mary pass in Lincoln as time expired.  Final Score: 27-24.  Big Red is one game back of the Spartans.

Minnesota beat Indiana 42-39.

Illinois, Purdue and Northwestern are all winless in the conference.

Future Big Ten member Rutgers eked out a win over Temple 23-20.

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  Navy–too many ghosts to over come in South Bend

2.  Miami–too much tomahawk chop

3.  UMass–BCS’d by Northern Illinois 63-19.  Style points to break the BCS party?

4.  Pitt–run over by the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech

LOOKING AHEAD:

Penn State travels to Minnesota to take on the gophers next week in another nooner.

Minnesota’s season looks like this:

W  51-23  UNLV

W  44-21  New Mexico State

W  29-12  Western Illinois

W  43-24  San Jose State

L   7-23    Iowa

L   13-42  THEM

W  20-17  Northwestern

W  34-23  Nebraska

W  42-39  Indiana

So in the two common opponents, they beat Indiana, whom we lost to, while they lost to THEM, whom we beat.  Two of our three losses have been on the road.

As I drove home from the game today, one of the post game radio hosts had this perspective . . . Penn State fans have to resign themselves to the fact that this team could beat any of their remaining opponents, but could just as easily to lose to all of them.  We may be a few plays away from being 7-1, but we are also a couple plays away from being 3-5.  (I paraphrased a bit.)

And so it is.  Maybe we beat Minnesota.  Maybe we don’t.

The only advice I can give at this point:  Don’t leave the game early.

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Weekly Game Guide: Ill-Annoyed Edition

It’s Thursday night!  Do you know who’s playing this weekend?

Penn State hosts the Illini at Beaver Stadium in a NOON kick-off.  Now I don’t usually shamelessly copy borrow previous posts, but I can save myself a lot of time here.

After losing to Indiana, I typed thusly:

THEM is favored by 2 over the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium.  Two weeks ago, I thought this was a pretty sure win.  We seemed to be improving each week.  Our defense seemed capable.  THEM was struggling to beat the likes of Akron and UConn.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to that sure thing.  We played one of our worst games top to bottom of the Bill O’Brien era.  Nothing seemed to go right in Bloomingdale.

With a few minor changes . . . .voilà!

Penn State is favored by 10 points over Illinois at Beaver Stadium.  Two weeks ago, I thought this was a pretty sure win.  We seemed to be improving each week.  Our defense seemed capable.  Illinois was struggling to win it’s first Big Ten game.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to that sure thing.  We played one of our worst games top to bottom of the Bill O’Brien era.  Nothing seemed to go right in Columbus.

It’s like Groundhog Day all over again.  Okay campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties cause it’s cooooold out there this Saturday. It’s coooold out there every day.  What if there is no tomorrow?  There wasn’t one today!

I don’t know what to expect from this team on Saturday, but I am praying that we see some leadership–on offense.  On defense.  On the sidelines.  Looking at the pattern, this should be a winning week.

“Whatever you do, don’t play for a field goal!”

We are far from a must win, but another loss, to a team that we should clearly beat, will be hard to sell to fans and recruits.

We want execution, not excuses.

And in an interesting tidbit of news, Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase’s father has been banned from the Illinois campus for one year, following an incident during the Illini loss to MSU.

IN THE B1G TEN:

Wisconsin is favored by 9.5 over Iowa in Iowa City.  GO BADGERS!

MSU is favored by 5.5 over little brother THEM in East Lansing.  GO Spartans!

Ohio State is favored by a gazillion (or roughly 31.5) over Purdue.  Yea Boilers!  Fat Chance.

Indiana is favored over Minnesota by 9.5 points.  GO HOOSIERS!

Nebraska is favored by 7 over Northwestern.  NU has yet to win a Big ten game.  GO HUSKERS!

Maryland is off, but future Big Ten Team Rutgers is favored by 13.5 over Temple.

IN OTHER GAMES:

Notre Dame is favored by 17 over Navy.  GO MIDSHIPMEN!

Florida State is favored heavily over undefeated Miami.  Normally, I’d go with Miami here, and it’s nice to see Golden have some success down there.  But a F$U loss means the Buckeyes move up—GO SEMINOLES!  GO SEMINOLES!   GO SEMINOLES!

Oregon and Alabama are thankfully off and can’t lose.

Pitt is a 10 point do g to Georgia Tech and the Ted Roof defense.  GO TECH!

Florida and Georgia face off in Jacksonville.  Georgia is favored by 2.5.  Pick you own poison here.

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