2014 Illini football expectations: FOX Sports pundits discuss


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The 125th season of Illini football kicks off in mere hours, and it’s one that is greeted with as little buzz as any that I can remember in my lifetime. Being a third generation Illini, I’m struggling to recall a year that had as little anticipation as this one. The opening opponent (Youngstown St.) doesn’t help. Neither does the weakness of the home slate.

Penn State is the only name brand team on the 2014 Illini football home schedule, and that’s going to hurt attendance quite a bit this year.

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Northwestern, Illini football 2014 season prospectus


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Lots of rapid fire and hot seat type of stuff as we enter week one for both the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats. You have questions, I have answers. You can catch me talking Illini and NU every Tuesday morning at 10:40 AM CST.

Here’s my segment from this morning on KOZN 1620 The Zone, NBC Sports Radio Omaha. 

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ESPN discusses temperature of Tim Beckman hot seat


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It was the worst of times, and it was more of the worst of times for Illinois football under the Tim Beckman regime. Well, there have been lean times recently. Not as bad as how things are right now in Champaign-Urbana, but the 90s and 2000s had plenty of awful Illini football seasons. But if you go back to the 1970s you’ll see some truly atrocious records and abysmal losing.

Before finding his groove with Michigan Wolverines, Gary Moeller went 6-24 in Champaign. Tim Beckman is 6-18, 1-15 in conference. This is why the main story in the “A” blocks for 2014 Illini football news everywhere, (it’s the B and C blocks too) is “how hot is the seat of Tim Beckman?”

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Illini QB1 Wes Lunt should benefit from “Cubitism”


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You know what Cubism is/was. In 2013, you saw what Cubitism can do. Illini offensive coordinator Bill Cubit took a very mediocre signal caller in Nathan Scheelhaase and shaped him into a Picasso style masterpiece. Now imagine what Cubit could do with a really talented QB like Wes Lunt.

Looks like I’ll put Illini signal caller Lunt in my 2016 NFL Mock Draft. Despite having only played one season under Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State; where he threw six touchdowns and seven interceptions. He had to sit out last year, per NCAA transfer rules, but he should be the starting QB this year.

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VIDEO: Illini QBs Wes Lunt, Reilly O’Toole singing Backstreet Boys


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Illinois may have their next special quarterback in Wes Lunt. Especially as he gets the benefit of “Cubitism.” Since Bill Cubit is the Picasso of O-Coordinators.

He has starting experience with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, having been recruited and coached by Mike “I’M A MAN! I’M 40!” Gundy, who was himself a star QB with Ok St. Now Wes Lunt is eligible this fall and has chance to

1.) show us what that potential NFL future hype is all about and

2.) lead the Fighting Illini to a bowl game with an EXTREMELY soft schedule that’s conducive towards bringing the Illini to the postseason.

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What will Tim Beckman need to do to save his job?


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Since John Mackovic left the Illinois Fighting Illini for the Texas Longhorns back in 1991, the Illinois football program has been very up and down. Mostly down. Still, there have been two BCS bowl appearances (2001, 2007), but they were fluky in the long run. Because the very next year (2002, 2008) Illinois was 5-7, and then things spiraled downward from there shortly after.

So why? And Tim Beckman is 6-18, 1-15 in conference in his two years in Champaign. The preseason buzz for Illini football is as non-existent as it’s ever been in my or my family’s lifetime. And I’m a fourth generation University of Illinois alumnus. Still I think Tim Beckman will not only survive this year, but come back for a fourth.

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Taylor Rooks, Fox Sports Illini expert hired by BTN


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University of Illinois graduate Taylor Rooks does some of the finest reporting you can find on the internet when it comes to Illini basketball, Illini football and Illini recruiting. Now she will expand her coverage beyond Champaign-Urbana as a social media correspondent on BTN live which is on weekdays from 5-6pm Central. She will also be a correspondent/reporter on BTN Blasts.

Rooks is leaving Fox Sports’ Scout network for the new gig which will also include doing updates on the internet for the Big Ten Network website during the day. The current plan is for Rooks to do three per day at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

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Your 2014 Illini football season preview with Taylor Rooks


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It’s officially Illinois Fighting Illini football season, as Illini Media Day was yesterday. And with that, the Illini head to Camp Rantoul. Here to discuss it with me is Fox Sports/Scout’s Taylor Rooks. You’ve also seen her on the Big Ten Network.

Lots to talk about this year, the quarterback competition, the issues on defense, how Aaron Bailey will fit into the system, Josh Ferguson and Mason Monheim being the team’s best players, Wes Lunt, Cubitism and much much more.
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Illini QB Aaron Bailey really needs to convert to WR or DB


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The talk from Illini Nation around QB Aaron Bailey reminds me of the talk from Chicago Cubs Nation surrounding Javier Baez. Or Albert Almora. Or (insert another Cubs blue chip Minor League prospect’s name here). It’s the same sentiment- accepting that losing, and really bad losing at that, is inevitable in the present.

Therefore, instead look to the future and focus on the can’t miss prospect.

Well, the future is now, and Bailey needs to get on the field. Just like Baez is now playing for the Cubs, Aaron Bailey needs to start playing a significant role. If he has to switch positions, so be it. The Illini are severely undermanned, and they need all hands on deck to actually compete in the Big Ten this year.

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Ohio State once again Big Ten favorite, MSU not far behind


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Big Ten Media Days start tomorrow, as the season is now a month and change away.  The league actually does it much later than the other power conferences, so if you think this is too early, than you must really think the other leagues are insanely early. Over the weekend, the Big Ten released its preseason poll, and the usual favorite in Columbus, is once again expected to win it all. However, Michigan State is right up there as well. 

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WR prospects picks Illini football over ND, OSU, UM, NU, OU


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Illini football coach Tim Beckman has not accomplished much in Champaign. That is not news. His 45-17 drubbing of Cincinnati was nice though, as the Bearcats were a really good team that went on to play in their conference championship. That game was Becks’ lone signature win in two years. Landing A.D. Miller would be his recruiting equivalent of that.

The 6’4″ wide receiver is the eleventh commit in the 2015 class, and he choose the Illini football program over Arizona State, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Brigham Young, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and a bunch more.

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2015 NBA Mock Draft (6/30/14)


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Now that the 2014 NBA Draft is in the books, draft nets like myself can look ahead to next year’s class.  Here is The Sports Bank’s extremely premature 2015 NBA Mock Draft where team needs and outstanding trades have NOT been taken into account.  Click on the player’s name for an in-depth draft profile.  By the way, The Sports Bank had the most accurate NBA Mock Draft in both 2011 and 2012 along with the second most accurate mock in 2013.

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