Early on, Bret Bielema Seems Exactly What Illini Football Needs

First year Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema said it best, heading into his first game in the new gig: “It’s easy to get excited about something you’ve never seen. I hope there is equal excitement after we get done playing.”

He absolutely nailed it, winning his debut 30-22 over the Nebraska Cornhuskers and another head coach under the microscope, Scott Frost. In the very first college football game of the 2021 season, and the earliest ever Big Ten game (calendar date wise), Illinois made it back to back wins over Nebraska for the first time since literally the Red Grange era.

[Read more…]

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Illinois Fighting Illini Game Preview

Going all the way back to 2011, the Ron Zook era of Illinois football, the Fighting Illini have only been able to manage two wins (or more) against three non-Rutgers Big Ten opponents. (And Rutgers still doesn’t even feel like a Big Ten program anyway)

The trio is Purdue (who they beat thrice), Michigan State and Nebraska, so this is actually a decent opponent with which to commence the Bret Bielema era. It’s also the very first college football game of the season, and the only matchup in week 0 (I guess that’s a thing now) of two power five programs.

[Read more…]

WR Isaiah Williams Could be Key to 2021 Illini Season

Illinois Fighting Illini redshirt freshman Isaiah Williams is very reminiscent of former player Aaron Bailey. Just like Bailey, Williams was a highly rated recruit who chose Illinois over some blue blood programs partially because, in Champaign, they were not going to ask him to shift from quarterback to another position.

The school of thought was the Illini would provide opportunities at QB that other schools would not. Bailey never made the switch to wide receiver, a move that many college football pundits thought would be mutually beneficial. Instead Bailey opted to transfer and he never had much of a college football career. Williams is doing the opposite.

[Read more…]

Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton is the Best DB in College Football

Notre Dame Safety Kyle Hamilton did “not throw away his shot” and making a name for himself, as soon as he arrived in South Bend. Sure, there’s still a million things he hasn’t “done, but just you wait, just you wait.”

Okay I’ll stop now with the references to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical. But Hamilton, as blue as a blue chip recruit can be, made an instant impact as a freshman, finishing seventh on the team in tackles (41), tied for second in passes defended (6) while leading the team in interceptions (4) and scoring the only defensive touchdown in 2019.

[Read more…]

2021 Northwestern Season Preview and Big Ten Title Odds

The Northwestern Wildcats have won the Big Ten West division in two of the last three seasons (although it’s still a stretch to legitimately call 2020 a “season” for anybody, whether they were good, bad, or anything in between).

While Northwestern was, without question, built a program foundation that is as strong as its ever been. Still, the bookies are not bullish, not at all about their Big Ten title chances. If you’re looking for more information on betting sites, specifically the conference title odds, then you’ll see NU way on down the list.

[Read more…]

2021 Notre Dame Season Preview and College Football Playoff Odds

It was a very strange college football season in 2020, and the whole affair had to be taken with a grain of salt. It all played out with a very familiar script though, as Notre Dame saw themselves get walloped by Clemson, and then Alabama, in a postseason that followed up an undefeated regular season.

Yep, we’ve seen this show before (2012, 2018) and this definitely factors into the College Football Playoff prospects and futures for the upcoming season. When you find additional information on bookmakers futures and odds for the CFP, you’ll see the Irish almost always outside the top 10 favorites.

[Read more…]

Northwestern Quietly Builds Strong QB Tradition, Aided by Transfers

clayton thorson

In recent years, it’s become (cue Jim Nantz voice) “a tradition unlike any other”- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald holding out on declaring his starting quarterback until the absolute final moment.

Don’t be surprised if we see the dreaded “OR” on the depth chart heading into the season opener, at home against Michigan State on Sept. 3. Sophomore and South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski should win the job eventually, over senior and Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson.

[Read more…]

NU All-American Brandon Joseph on the Art and Mindset of Playing DB

At Big Ten and Northwestern Media Days, I had a conversation with All-American safety Brandon Joseph about my all-time favorite passage from the old NFL Films’ prose, entitled the “Fringe of Battle.” John Facenda, who talks exactly like God himself must sound, says:

“To the players, reality is one-on-one, helmet-to-helmet move and counter move. Nowhere is this conflict more evident than at the fringe of battle where the receiver and cornerback match glare. One and one, speed and cunning decide the victor, and the battle where the loser bleeds alone on an open field.”
[Read more…]

2021 NBA Mock Draft 7-29-21 Final Update

The NBA Draft is July 29, with the Draft Lottery set to be held on June 22. The Draft Combine will take place June 21-27. Welcome to our first 2021 NBA mock draft, team needs have not been taken into account at this time. Some player descriptions have been filled out, but the others will be completed at a later date.

You can find out which way BetQL’s model is picking for tonight’s NBA games by checking out their site. They have the latest in in-depth NBA prediction model analysis, and what is a mock draft, but predictive analytics.

[Read more…]

B1G Commish Kevin Warren Gives Pet Parents their Deserved Due

For all the pet parents, pawrents, hudads, dog moms and meowmmies etc. who read this site regularly, this post is indeed for you! Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren was the first speaker to take to the stage at the conference’s Media Days this past week in Indianapolis.

The Commish gave a long session which covered a lot of ground, but his responses to the queries regarding the major issues of the day in college football were lacking. His answers to those questions were verbal empty calories, talking without saying anything. However, his closing was extremely memorable as he shouted out pet owners.

[Read more…]

Spencer Rattler to Make History at National Trading Card Convention

According to eBay, 1.13 billion sports cards have already been sold this year. Their figures also state that 139 cards trade hands every minute, amounting to about 8,000 per hour, and an estimated 200,000 every single day. In other words, the trading card business is booming, and this week brings the industry’s crown jewel event.

The 41st Annual National Sports Collectors Convention comes to Rosemont, IL Wed-Sun this week, and it will see Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler make history.

[Read more…]

Michigan St. Coach Mel Tucker Takes “Blue Collar” Buzzwords Bit to Extreme Levels

Everyone knows that preseason football media days are an exercise in speaking for prolonged periods of time without actually saying anything. It’s a cliche convention for the gridiron set, and just in case you forgot the buzzword bingo, well we’ll cover that in a minute.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker, commencing his second season in East Lansing and attending his first Big Ten Media Day, took to the stage yesterday. He gave a very long-winded opening statement, which used up a large portion of his time on dais. It left less time for reporter questions, and honestly, if I were a coach, I would do the same thing.

[Read more…]