IlliNation Show 5 Featuring Pat Fitzgerald, Malik Turner, CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross

pat fitzgerald northwestern football

We yet another action packed podcast for you this week! IlliNation Show 5 begins with the worst soundbite of all from B1G Media Day, and that honor went to Ohio State’s Chris Worley. Then we transition to Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald, who reflects on his early days when he first took the job.

For Pat Fitzgerald, the beginnings of his tenure at NU were similar to Lovie Smith at Illinois, in that year one was actually year zero, and year two was actually year one.

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IlliNation Show 4 Featuring Jim Harbaugh, Jaylen Dunlap, Herb Gould

It’s another action packed edition of the IlliNation Show, this week featuring interviews of Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, Chicago Sun-Times reporter and TMG Sports co-founder Herb Gould, and Illinois Fighting Illini cornerback Jaylen Dunlap. We also went over the Illini men’s basketball non-conference schedule now that it’s been finalized.

Additionally, we went over a couple Illini gaffes made this week, one of which you can read about and here over at this link. The second link if embedded for you below:

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Illini Football: Four Players to Watch on Offense this Season

malik turner

You know your two most famous Lovie Smith catch-phrases: “we get off the bus running” and “(insert QB1 name here is our quarterback.” This upcoming season QB1 is Chayce Crouch and hopefully for Illini football and their base, he’ll do light years better than the Wes Lunt/Jeff George Jr. combination did last season.

Illinois was actually “balanced” offensively last season, as they were very poor in both running and passing the ball. They were next to last in the B1G in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense. In passing they were 11th, but that was still not even remotely close to being considered a strength of the team.

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Illini Football: Four Players to Watch on Defense this Season

jaylen dunlap

Illini football has been searching for an identity for the longest time. In Head Coach Lovie Smith you have a very accomplished NFL pedigree with an emphasis on defense. Smith is one of the finer defensive minds of our time, and his defensive coordinator, Hardy Nickerson, was one of the NFL’s best defenders in the 1990s.

It stands to reason that hard-nosed defense will be the Illini football identity in the Lovie era, but we sure didn’t see it in year one. The run defense was absolutely atrocious. They surrendered almost 220 yards a game rushing, which ranked 105th nationally.

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IlliNation Show 3 Featuring Lovie Smith, Dave Wannstedt, Josh Whitman


From Chicago, the heart of Illini country, it’s the IlliNation Show with Paul M. Banks. Welcome to the third ever episode of the IlliNation show, your home for audio of the biggest and best interviews in all of Illini Nation.

This episode features an exclusive with Dave Wannstedt, who is now an analyst for FOX Sports. Next we have some of the best audio with Lovie Smith at B1G Media Day. (We tried to book Marc Trestman and Dick Jauron too just to complete the theme!)

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Lovie Smith, Josh Whitman Give Updates on $80m Facilities Plan (Audio)

On Friday, Illinois football unveiled their $80 million plans to upgrade their facilities. The ambitious project includes a brand-new 107,650 square foot Illinois Football Performance Center to be constructed next to the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility, and adjacent to Memorial Stadium.

That’s the immediate short-term project. In the longer term, phase 2 seeks to expand Memorial Stadium’s south and east grand stands. Construction on the new practice facility will break ground early next year, with a projected completion in time for the start of the 2019 college football season.

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Illini Football: Mike Dudek Comeback Critical to 2017 Success


If you believe in karma, and you’re aware of the Mike Dudek story, then you no doubt believe that he’s due for some better fortune. Dudek wasn’t highly recruited coming out of Naperville (Neuqua Valley), but he busted out with a huge rookie season at Illinois, garnering first team freshman All-American honors in 2014.

He was known as Mikey Dudek then, and some today still refer to him as “Mikey,” but no matter what first name one uses, we can all agree that he’s a play-maker. He’s a dangerous wide receiver who stretches the field and gives Illinois the vertical passing game element that they have sorely lacked in the two years that he’s been absent.

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IlliNation Show Featuring Brad Underwood, Nick Anderson and Larry Hawley

brad-underwood illini basketball

A semi-exclusive with Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood headlines Volume I, Episode II of The IlliNation Show. Underwood shed some light on what his daily life work life is like in the summer months. He also talked about Illinois basketball being ranked #11 all time by the Associated Press and how the program needs to have “that swagger.”

Next up was Nick Anderson, of the ’89 Flyin’ Illini and the first ever draft pick in Orlando Magic history. His insights on Chicagoland recruiting issues are definitely something you read about and listen to.

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The IlliNation Show Featuring Peanut Tillman, Dick Butkus and Dee Brown


Welcome to The IlliNation Show, inaugural edition! It’s volume I, chapter I of The Sports Bank’s special, exclusive Illini podcast. We have an action packed first show for you which covers the following topics in the segments below:

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Illini Basketball: 1989 vs 2005, Breaking Down the Hypothetical Matchup

illini basketball

In the past half-century and change, Illini basketball has produced two once-in-a-generation level teams. While three teams achieved a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the 2001 side did not reach the Final Four, like 2005 and the 1989 squads did. 

The ’01 group was special, reaching the Elite 8, but they’re not in the same class as the ’89 and ’05 teams, who were borderline magical. Illini basketball reached the Final Four in ’49, ’51 and ’52. Then it didn’t happen again for 37 years. The program returned to college basketball’s biggest stage again 16 years later, but hasn’t been beyond the round of 32 since.

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Dick Butkus Gets Candid on Steroids, Concussion Crisis (EXCLUSIVE)

dick butkus

For football legend Dick Butkus, the first and foremost cause celebre is keeping the next generation of athletes from resorting to illegal and dangerous steroids, as well as other performance enhancing products. Butkus and his son Matt formed the I PLAY CLEAN program in 2006  to educate and encourage high school students to make the right choice of playing clean.

While steroid usage has been a major problem in young males for quite some time (and continues to be today), the program’s research has shown that the biggest increase, recently is in female athletes.

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Dick Butkus Doesn’t know “what the hell” Keeps the Chicago Bears Down (EXCLUSIVE)

dick butkus

Dick Butkus simply does not hold back, nor should he. He’s got a lot more than “senior privilege” backing his right to conduct candid conversation, as he’s simply the greatest linebacker in football history. He’s a franchise cornerstone for two storied Land of Lincoln football clubs that sport the orange and blue, and he just can’t understand why both of them, the Chicago Bears and the Illinois Fighting Illini, can’t get to the top and stay there.

Speaking ahead of the inaugural Illini Athletics Hall of Fame gala (Butkus was a member of the very first class to be honored), he told a group of reporters his bold thoughts on the Illini football struggles (read that over at this link and listen to the audio below)

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