Illinois Fighting Ilini Season Preview: Defense

If there’s one thing I know in life, it’s that Illinois college football never ever conforms to your expectations. No one saw their two BcS appearances coming (2001, 2007); and since they followed both seasons up with sub .500 choking, both these bowl appearances are now looked upon as fluky. Whenever Illinois has been predicted to do well (2000, 2002, 2008, 2009) they fell flat on their faces. And their bowl wins (last year, 1999) come in seasons when everyone predicts them to finish near the Big Ten basement.

And I know a lot about this stuff.

My first ever sports memory was their destruction at the hands of UCLA in the 1984 Rose Bowl. I attended my first Illini game in 1991. In addition to covering the team for the school paper when I was in school there, two of my older siblings went to UI. In other words, it’s “my team,” and one of the three teams I cover regularly.

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Can the San Diego Chargers Put Disappointing 2010 Behind Them?

charger-cheerleader

True, the San Diego Chargers missed the NFL playoffs for the first time in the last five years, but was the season really that bad? A 9-7 record isn’t the worst thing in the world and there were a lot of positives with the team last season. With a bit of fine tuning and some luck they could easily turn things around in 2011.

They helped themselves out in the draft by taking defensive lineman Corey Liuget out of Illinois with the 18th pick overall. Liuget’s good enough to put some pressure on the team’s current defensive tackles and could end up making the team as a starter. The former Illini star could also help stopping the run and provide a pass rush; freeing up the Chargers’ outside linebackers.

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