ESPN College Gameday: How it Went From Transcendent to Unwatchable

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Republishing from 9-16-17

To pinpoint what’s so wrong with ESPN College Gameday in 2017, there are a couple different places from which you can start. You can begin with ESPN’s horrible bungling of the Jemele Hill and Robert Lee situations, and go from there. The same principle, that of “let’s try to never hurt anyone’s feelings ever, no matter what the cost, because hurt feelings means upset sponsors” applies across the board.

ESPN should have never apologized for what Jemele Hill said about Donald Trump.

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In Brandon Peters, Lovie Smith May Finally Have a Legit QB at Illinois

It’s only Akron, so a whole lot remains to be seen, but you can’t argue against what you saw yesterday. If there is one thing that Lovie Smith has never really had while he’s been at Illinois it’s this- a true legitimate Big Ten caliber starting quarterback.

So far Brandon Peters looks the part, and he’ll be around next season too, should things work out. If you’re reading this and shouting Wes Lunt, well, you’re simply wrong, and we’ll get to why that is in a bit.

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Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin Badgers to Make B1G Very Big Tenny this Fall

Don’t laugh- the best college football playoff contender in the Big Ten this year will come out of the West division. It’s the Wisconsin Badgers, led by Jonathan Taylor, their star tailback and strong Heisman Trophy contender.  Taylor could be the best back in the country and he’s the only Big Ten individual player with a realistic shot at the highest individual honor.

He’s coming off back to back top ten finishes in Heisman voting, so the best online casinos usa will have him among the top contenders on their board to claim the award this fall. As they should, because Taylor is poised to become the first Badger to receive a Heisman finalist invitation to New York City since Montee Ball.

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Josh Whitman Needs Illini Football and Men’s Hoops to Finally Do Something, Now

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University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman doesn’t sound all that different from most power five conference A.D.s when he speaks in public: Business school journal article meets Ted talk meets colorful motivational Instagram post.

This hybrid of corporatespeak and sentences that sound like they should be accompanied by “Rocky” theme music is not worth even thinking twice about if/when the revenue sports are getting results. Whitman’s jogging analogies and other assorted industry standard leadership pablum would hypothetically work just fine if Illini football and Illini men’s basketball were winning.

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Ayo Dosunmu Has High NBA Draft Stock, but it’s Just Not Reflected in Mock Drafts

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Illini basketball in the Brad Underwood era has finally shown signs of a pulse in the past month as the team picked up two very high quality wins over teams ranked in the top 15 at the time. Illinois has now won four of their last five, and played their way above the Wednesday night projection in the Big Ten tournament.

If the Illini can close out the season 4-3 or better, they will avoid breaking the school record for single season losses. A primary reason for the Illini surge has been the stellar play of freshman point guard Ayo Dosunmu. His rapid development has coincided with the drastic Illini improvement.

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Despite Record-Breaking Losing, Seat of Illini Basketball Coach Brad Underwood Cool

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It’s going to take nothing short of a miracle for the current Illini basketball team to avoid having the highest loss single season in program history. At 4-11, with 16 games left, Illinois will need to go 10-7 (or better) down the stretch in order to avoid tying the Illini basketball program record for single season losses of 19, set in 2007-08 (16-19 overall, 5-13 in the B1G) and tied again in 2015-16 (15-19, 5-13).

If the math seems off by one, remember there will be one more loss in the Big Ten Tournament. In order to keep his current team from figuring prominently in the “worst team in school history” debates Brad Underwood will somehow need to guide a team with a winning percentage of .267 to a .588 clip (or more than double) the rest of the way.

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Michigan, Michigan State at Top of Early Big Ten Hoops Power Rankings

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Early December polls and rankings are to be taken with a grain of salt, but we do know this about the Big Ten- “the Michigans” currently rule the roost. College hoops is a sport as synonymous with gambling as any you will find anywhere in the entire world. Wagering on college basketball at this time of year can be like real money online pokies, there is a ton of luck and chance involved. However, if you want a blue chip then #GoBlue, as the Michigan Wolverines have consistently shown a capability to beat the spread by by a comfortable margin.

They are the clear number one in the Big Ten with arch-rival Michigan State a solid #2 in the league. Next to each team name below you’ll find the following numerical values: overall record, conference record, AP ranking (when applicable) Sagarin rating and kenpom rating.

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How the Illini Revenue Sports Disaster Occurred and Who’s to Blame

Lovie Smith isn’t going anywhere right now. In fact, now he’s going to be sticking around even longer. Contracted until 2021, the school announced a two year extension for him Sunday morning. The numbers speak for themselves: in three years he’s gone 1-17 against his division, 4-23 against his own league and 9-27 overall.

Yet here we are, as the complete football disaster has been rewarded. If you’re a betting man, perhaps with BFB, you would not have put money on this happening. This was a long shot scenario to say the least. That’s because in all three seasons that Smith has been in Champaign, the team has gotten worse as the year has dragged on. 

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#20 Northwestern Wildcats vs Illinois Fighting Illini Game Preview, Prediction

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Get ready to LOL! It’s the Land of Lincoln Hat Game, 2018 version, and yes we are publishing our game preview on Sunday night/Monday morning, depending on what part of the world you’re reading this.

Hey, it’s Thanksgiving week and that means just about nobody will be online Tuesday onward. Therefore, we gotta do what we gotta do. We’ll put this Illinois Fighting Illini at #20 Northwestern Wildcats game preview story back at the top later in the week. 

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P.J. Fleck, Pat Fitzgerald, Florida St. Bag Opine on College Football Turnover Prop Trend

pj fleck

Perhaps P.J. Fleck said it best: “as educators, you’re always teaching life lessons in a very cultural way.”

Turnover props, the latest craze in college football, do indeed, as the Minnesota Head Coach puts it: “teach the importance of turnovers.”

Most people believe this trend started with the Miami Hurricanes’ turnover chain last season, which is certainly the most iconic object of the genre by far. However, when Lovie Smith took over the Illinois program in 2016, his staff installed a contraption in the team room/press conference room that does exactly what all turnover props do- emphasize the importance of getting takeaways.

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Michigan State #1, Purdue #2 in Big Ten Basketball Preseason Power Rankings

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Believe it or not, Big Ten basketball media day is Thursday. Yes, hoops talking season arrives though it may not feel like it, given the 80+ degree temperatures in much of Big Ten country currently. Some schools have actually already had their media days, and you know what that means- overlap season is here.

So while every single outlet on the planet is posting Big Ten football power rankings today, we’re doing the hoops equivalent. 

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Infamous Illini Football Playboy Mansion Story: Fact or Fiction?

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This legendary Playboy mansion tale we’re about to re-examine again is either  a.) the worst kept secret in Illini football history or

b.) the biggest lie ever told in the history of the program

This “urban legend” from 32 years ago is a timeless and perfect topic of discussion, especially this week when Illinois is set to host Purdue. Thus, episode four of “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” (part of the Hammer and Rails podcast network) focuses on the ’83 Illini.

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