Illini Football Fans Finally Have Nice Things Again Under Lovie Smith

If you’re an Illini football fan, I don’t need to remind you of history, especially recent history. Ditto for Illini basketball fans. The Mike Thomas-Tim Beckman/Bill Cubit-John Groce era did a number on you. Up until a few weeks ago the Josh Whitman-Lovie Smith-Brad Underwood era gave the previous era a “hold my beer.”

Given that, it’s understandable for an Illini revenue sports fan to think and feel “why can’t we have nice things?” Or perhaps the sentiment is the same as the title to C. Montgomery Burns’ autobiography “Will there ever be a rainbow?” Well, it finally stopped raining! And yes, you can have something nice- a bowl game vacation, most likely in San Francisco (Redbox Bowl) or New York (Pinstripe Bowl).

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Complete Illinois Fighting Illini Bowl Game History and Bowl Summaries

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Good morning college football and Illinois Fighting Illini fans. Another autumn Saturday is in the books and the season is just flying by. Last night saw Illinois go on the road, to Michigan State, and win their fourth straight game. They did it in extremely dramatic fashion, achieving the biggest comeback in school history (25 points).

Illinois is now bowl eligible, for the first time under Lovie Smith, and there are still two games left to play. This will be Illinois’ 19th bowl appearance, and they are 8-10 all-time. Let’s take a look at where we’ve been, so we can try to see where we’re going.

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Jim Harbaugh, Lovie Smith Haven’t Translated NFL Success to College Ball

This past weekend saw Lovie Smith and the Illinois Fighting Illini defeat the #6 Wisconsin Badgers, a team that was favored by 30.5 points. And with this glorious victory, Smith matched Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh in victories over a top ten opponent while being a head coach in the Big Ten. 

That total number, is one. Yes, Harbaugh, head coach in Ann Arbor since 2015 is just 1-10 versus top ten opponents. As for Smith, he’s right when he referred to the Wisconsin conquest as “a signature win,” but league his record is an abominable 5-26. He’s 3-25 against Big Ten teams not named Rutgers.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Illinois Fighting Illini Game Preview

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers are on pace to win the national title, and quarterback Tanner Morgan is all set to claim the Heisman trophy; just like we all predicted.

In all seriousness though, there is no reason to not to have optimism about the Gophers’ chances of getting off to an 8-0 start. Of course, then reality sinks in with the back-to-back games against Penn State and Iowa, both currently ranked in the top 15. It’s like Minnesota’s schedule is a reverse mullet- business in the back, party in the front.

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2019-20 Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings Media Day Edition

Wednesday is Big Ten Media Day, and if that seems extremely early, well that’s because it is really is. It’s 87 degrees in Chicago, host city for this event, as I type. Let’s talk basketball, amirite? I mean the Major League Baseball playoffs haven’t even started yet (the real postseason, not the play-in games) and we’re talking about an event that literally, just five years ago was held on Halloween.

That is the nature of the college basketball beast though. Everything is being moved up; way up in the calendar year. So without further ado, let’s look at the Big Ten basketball pecking order.

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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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