Why the Illini Will Win More Games than Notre Dame

scheelhaase

You’re like, “ok Captain Obvious.”

Not so fast my friend, I was saying this in August too. I thought my local media friends would find that assertion crazy given all the BCS preseason hype Notre Dame was getting, and the fact that Illinois was getting zero votes in either poll.

But the truth is Notre Dame is 2-2, and very mediocre, while the Illini are this year’s Michigan State- a team that will finish with a much better record than they deserve. Like the ’10 Spartans, Illinois’ schedule sets up perfectly for a very fast start and a sweet record.

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Questioning Ron Zook’s Very Questionable Play-Calls, Rationale

erin andrews and ron zook

Fans of the Florida Gators will understand this piece.

Actually non college football fans will probably understand it even.

It feels like we publish this column every season. Last year, we did the “Did Ron Zook’s play-calling cost Illinois a win?” story after the Illini had a chance to upset then #2 Ohio State at home in the Big Ten conference opener. Go here to brush up on that.

And then there’s the 2006 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers, in which Zook inexplicably went for 2-pt conversions not once, but twice (both attempts failed) with the game tied early in the second quarter of what ended up being a 1-pt loss. The Zooker told the media afterward that the decisions didn’t matter.

Even though it was a ONE point loss (32-31), but yeah…

..the Zook terrible decision making season got started earlier in 2011. This time it happened in the pre-conference, and the questionable play-calls didn’t actually cost them a victory, as the Illini held on to beat Western Michigan 23-20.

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Illini Escape Western Michigan; Illinois 4-0 First Time since 1951!

western michigan cheerleaders

Sandwiched in between last weekend’s emotional prime time upset of nationally ranked Arizona State and next week’s Big Ten opener versus hated in-state rival Northwestern, today’s contest against MAC opponent Western Michigan certainly had a “trap game” feel.

And given the Illini performance in the first half, it certainly looked that way for awhile (think Minnesota game last season and again in ’08). But Illinois held on to beat the Broncos 23-20, despite finding themselves both trailing at halftime, and with a genuine opportunity to lose on the final defensive possession in the closing minute.

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