Friday, August 29, 2008
Let the Season Begin!
Missouri is ranked #6 (AP) or #7 (USA Today) and has a strong core of 2007 starters returning for this season, including potential Heisman Trophy candidate QB Chase Daniels. They spent a few weeks ranked #1 last season, but missed out on a BCS bowl. They have national title aspirations to go with their 8.5 point advantage in the spread in the opener.
Illinois is ranked #20 (AP) or #19 (USA Today). We are ranked at the beginning of the season! And the Illini have solid starters returning, including Juice Williams at QB. According to last year's graduating seniors, many of the new starters are more atheltic than those they are replacing. But the Illini are waiting to see who will fill the gaping holes in the intangibles, like leadership, attitude and perseverance. But expectations are sky-high, and why shouldn't they be? We played in the Rose Bowl, after all! The Fighting Illini are coming off one of the greatest turnaround seasons ever, capped off with a surprising and competitive Rose Bowl performance. And while we may not make it back to Pasadena, a New Year's Day bowl is possible.
And both teams remember the 2007 meeting. Mizzou took a big lead, but even with Juice on the sidelines, the Illini staged an impressive comeback to fall just short of beating the Tigers when McGee threw and interception in the end zone as the clock ran down. And that was when expectations for the Illini were still just aimed at a winning record and a bowl of some sort.
What will this year bring? Mizzou has the advantage in many categories, but the Illini have a lot to prove. Watch for Juice, Regis, Martez and Vontae to go all out to prove that the Illini are NOT just a one-year wonder, but a program on the rise. I expect a competitve game, and I believe the Illini are very capable of pulling the "upset."
I look forward to the first look at the 2008 Fighting Illini football team -- and the best Week 1 QB matchup in the country.
Labels: Illini football
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tom Brady and the murky world of sports handlers
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
In the Good Ole Summertime
- Seven current and former Illini are in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics (I love the Olympics)
- Deron Williams and company on the U.S. Men's "Redeem" Team are rolling through the competition, including Greece
- Gymnast Justin Spring played a key role in securing the bronze for the U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team
- Jamar Smith is no longer a member of the Illini basketball team, after failing to stick to his probation rules
- The "Night of Legends" for Illini basketball will bring together many former Illini on Sept. 13, and several Illini will be honored as their jerseys are hung in Assembly Hall
- Excitement is building for the 2008 Illini football team, ranked 10th preseason in Sporting News
With football season quickly approaching, the Cubs in first in the NL Central, and plenty of Olympics to watch, there's a lot to be excited about. But perhaps the biggest highlight for me -- tomorrow I should be able to watch the Big Ten Network from the comfort of my living room. I can hardly wait!