Friday, September 29, 2006

Illinitalk Etc.: Friday Funnies Department

Derek Lowe is on fire....literally.

This story is hilarious. How could the guy not feel his pants and socks burning up?


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Can the U of I Please Fire This Guy

I realize getting rid of a university professor in the days of tenure and political correctness is about as difficult as stopping the Yankees from buying the World Series but something needs to done about Stephen Kaufman. Seriously.

The guy apparently doesn't feel like he's gotten enough attention to his anti-Chief campaign so he's sending negative propaganda about the university that employs him to Illinois athletic recruits...including Eric Gordon.

The quotes in the above referenced story don't give us too much reason to think this could affect Gordon's decision but seeing as how the race between Illinois and Indiana is coming down to the wire, we would prefer nothing negative come into Gordon's mailbox about the U of I right now-especially when it's coming from an Illinois professor.

Eric Gordon will contribute a million times more to the University of Illinois in the one or two years he may play there than Stephen Kaufman could ever dream of doing in his entire 30, 40 or 50-year tenure. The fact that he's still allowed to teach is futher evidence that something is just wrong with this world.

To that end, if you would like to sound off to the appropriate parties about Mr. Kaufman, we are taking the liberty of providing you all the pertinent contact info (courtesy of the university website):

To e-mail Mr. Kaufman, simply click here.

To call him: 217-333-3521

To write him:
Stephen J. Kaufman
Cell and Structural Biology
B 107 Chemical and Life Sciences Building
MC 123
601 S. Goodwin
Urbana, IL 61801

In addition, no complaint about a professor for a problem of this magnitude is complete without letting the big boss know. To that end, Richard Herman is the university's chancellor. His job description says: The chancellor is the chief executive officer of the campus. The Office of the Chancellor has the all-encompassing goal of ensuring the overall excellence of the Urbana-Champaign campus.

E-mail Chancellor Herman here and let him know it would be an excellent idea to fire Professor Kaufman.

By the way, I still maintain the best way to address this issue the NCAA has with the Chief is for the state of Illinois to sue the pants off the NCAA for infringing on its business.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Illinitalk Etc.: TMI Department

Welcome to "Illinitalk Etcetera," a new feature of Illinitalk. We boast that we're the only comprehensive Illini blog out there. That's been true since our founding and it's still true today.

However, today I read something non-Illini related and decided I had to create a new feature for non-Illini stuff so I could blog about it. That's how "Illinitalk Etc." was born. Welcome to the first installment.

In the TMI (Too Much Information) Department today: Len Pasquarelli, NFL columnist. He has his usual comprehensive wrap from all of Sunday's NFL action posted today. Good stuff.

But was it necessary in his description of the Jacksonville locker room following their loss to the Colts to describe everything that"littered" the floor?

Read here to see what I'm talking about (it's in the first paragraph). I'd hate to be the guy who has to pick all that stuff up off the floor because apparently when you get paid to play you can just leave your "equipment" wherever you want.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chief Update plus the QB "Decision"

A couple of thoughts for the middle of the week:

1) The Chief.

For once there was some good news for Chief supporters to cheer and that was the ruling by an Illinois Appeals Court that Chief Illiniwek does not violate the state's civil rights laws. This was a decision that upheld an earlier ruling by a trial judge. While this does not affect the ongoing battle with the NCAA, it is a positive.

At this point, the University has NOT made any decision on how to proceed with regards to the NCAA situation. The article about yesterday's court ruling shows once again how it is ridiculous that the NCAA can try to dictate what an institution that is basically an entity of state government can and cannot do. The Illinois General Assembly declared the Chief to be an "honored symbol of a great university" in a 1996 law and that position has not changed in any legislation that has been passed since then. Perhaps the State of Illinois should sue the NCAA for telling it what to do.

2) Illinois' Starting Quarterback

It is time for Illinois to start Isaiah "Juice" Williams at quarterback for the remainder of the season. I realize that giving him his first start in Illinois' Big Ten Conference opener against Iowa may not seem like the ideal situation in which to put a freshman quarterback who has only played parts of 3 games. Frankly, it isn't the ideal situation. But the fact of the matter is that this Illinois team is probably not going to win many more games this year (I would love to be proven wrong on this but that is the likely reality and I am hoping for just a couple of more wins at this point). Tim Brasic is not the future of this team. Juice is a big part of the future. It's time to play him. I believe he is mentally tough enough to handle the challenges he will face in this position and the experience will benefit him and the team in the future.

Until later, Go Illini.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Hot Seat

Ok, so Lloyd Carr may not be on the hot seat quite as much as he was before yesterday's game with Notre Dame. So now our question is this: Is Ron Zook on the hot seat?

Some Illini fans think so. Although we obviously want to see some wins on the field, we're willing to give Zook's recruits time to gel. Unfortunately right now, they are all freshmen. The juniors and seniors they are playing with should be playing for Ball State (thank you Ron Turner).

So what does Zook do? He's got a mess on his hands and everyone knows it. Illinitalk witnessed the Rutgers debacle in person. At left is what the end zone looked like when the Illini had the ball:

EMPTY (We didn't even cross the 50!)

I believe the best thing Zook could do right now is start all his freshmen recruits, including Juice Williams, who was one of the only bright spots Saturday. He's getting a baptism by fire but he'll be better for it when he's an upperclassman. Seriously, when your freshman QB is getting the mention in the NY Times, it's time he started.

Here is the strategy: Zook starts the freshmen and let's the media know about it. The media will spin it that he knows the team ain't gonna do much this season but he wants to give the future stars experience. This will help recruits understand that Zook is building from stratch, they will get immediate playing time if they commit to Illinois and they won't get scared off by all the devasting losses because everyone will know Zook is starting freshmen.

So what do you think? Is Zook on the hot seat? How does he salvage the season? Sound off below in our comment section.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Eric Gordon Visiting Illinois Today

Eric Gordon will be in Champaign-Urbana today to take what appears to be his final official visit, according to his father. Indy Star's Jeff Rabjohns reports on his blog today that E.J. will issue a statement next week (we assume to put this whole saga to an end).

In addition, another source has also informed Illinitalk that Dar Tucker is visiting DePaul this weekend and Derrick Rose is visiting Notre Dame (good weekend to do so with Michigan and Lloyd "On the Hot Seat" Carr in town for some football), although we are unable to confirm either visit. However, if true, the Rose visit to Notre Dame may bode well for the Illini.

It's a well-known fact that Gordon wanted to play college hoops with Rose. IF Rose hasn't made his decision on where he's going and Gordon is putting and end to this next week, it may mean IU was unable to bring in Rose and Gordon as a package deal. In our opinion, this is one of--if not the only--way Gordon would play for sanction-plagued IU coach Kelvin Sampson.

All that said, we're not getting our hopes up too high, lest we be crushed. However, we will remain cautiously optimistic that Gordon will stick with his committment to Illinois.

Either way, this whole thing is about to be over. Thank goodness. This recruitment has gotten so much press and created so many hard feelings on both sides that it's starting to remind us of this.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Exclusive: Where Gordon is Going

It's the question every Illini and Hoosier fan wants to know the answer to: where will Gordon end up?

Well, wonder no more folks. We have the answer from a VERY authoritative source here.


Monday, September 11, 2006

The University of Chief Illiniwek

Dave Diehl plays guard on the offensive line for the New York Giants. He has one of the postions on the football field that gets the least amount of fame. If he played on the other side of the ball he'd at least be able to tackle and rack up some stats. However, he's content to protect his quarterback and block for the the running backs and watch them get the glory.

Last night, though, that situation changed. Diehl, a University of Illinois alum, made quite a name for himself and his alma mater.

As everyone who has a pulse knows by now the Giants were hosting the Colts in the Manning Bowl last night on NBC television--the Sunday night debut of Al Michaels and John Madden.

Much like they did on Monday Night Football on ABC, at the beginning of the game each starter got two seconds of face time to state their name and their university.

When Diehl introduced himself to the masses on national TV this is what he said:

"Dave Diehl. University of Chief Illiniwek."

I almost couldn't believe my ears. I was almost certain I heard the sirens of the PC Police starting up as the anti Chief crowd let out a collective gasp that sucked all the oxygen out of the atmosphere.

It was a short but powerful statement of support for the Chief on national TV in primetime with the world watching.

The Giants don't have anymore games on NBC this season but they do play on ESPN Monday Night Football twice (October 23 and November 20). It will be interesting to see if ESPN does the same type of introductions if they will edit Diehl's.

No word yet on if the NCAA plans to get involved and sue the NY Giants for hurting its feelings.

P.S. If anyone decides to post the video on YOUTUBE, please email us so we can post it on here.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Reason #1 Why Eric Gordon Will Love Playing at Illinois: The Orange Krush

I checked around and didn't see an IU student section like the Orange Krush.

Update: An IU fan just told me the IU student section is called the Crimson Crazies. I googled it and got Harvard's student section here on Wikipedia. You can view Orange Krush's site here. Is there any doubt whose student section is better?


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Illinois to Play Rutgers at International Soccer Field Saturday

Skinny Sweetcheeks and I will be taking our four-month-old daughter, Half Pint, to New Jersey this weekend to watch Illinois play Rutgers.

Did you know Rutgers likes to refer to itself as "The State University of New Jersey?" I didn't even know it was in New Jersey until I looked it up. I guess that's what happens when you have Princeton in your state.

Anyway, check out pictures of Rutgers Stadium here and here. Those seats are about a mile away from the field! Here is the reasoning from Rutgers' athletic site:

Perhaps not readily noticed is that the field, itself, has been moved. The field, in order to make the playing surface large enough for national and international soccer matches, add seating and get fans closer to the action, was shifted 25 feet to the west.

Looks like us Midwesterners are gonna get a taste of an East Coast all-purpose stadium.

It cracked me up more as I read further about the stadium:

Former Rutgers head football coach Doug Graber was "awestruck" and declared "the sky is the limit for this program." Later, as the project proceeded, Graber would remain awestruck. Standing in the last row in the upper deck of the nearly completed stadium, Graber told a group of touring writers, "It's unbelievable. The view from up here is something else. You can see all the way out west to the Watchung Hills and to the Verazzano Bridge the other way. It's breathtaking."

Who cares that you're sitting a mile away from the field as long as you can sit in the top row of the stadium and see the NY city skyline! Woo hoo!

In all seriousness, it should be a good game Saturday and definately one that will be tough for Illinois to win, as Rutgers will want revenge for last year's Illinois win in Champaign.

Things seem to be looking up for the football program, however. Zook's recruiting has been outstanding. Give it a couple years and I think we'll be back to seven wins a season and ready to challenge Michigan again. Of course, the big question by that time will be if Lloyd Carr will still be coaching Michigan.

Finally, feel free to sound off about the new NCAA clock rules. Has the NCAA done anything that fans like recently?


Friday, September 01, 2006

U of I Bungles Chief

The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday (thanks to Illinitalk reader Frank the Tank for the tip) that, according to unnamed university sources, the Chief is gone after this season (at least from performing at official university events).

Perhaps the reporter (Dave Newbart) didn't contact the university and if so, I can understand why the official U of I position is left out of this story. However, this is a terrible leak that shows the unversity's ineptness to the very end at dealing with this situation.

The story running on the AP wire does some damage control today but for some reason the official university position in this story doesn't help me sleep any better:

A university spokesman said Thursday that while some change in Illiniwek’s status can be expected, the Chief’s fate has not been decided and the board is committed to its process for reaching what it has called a “consensus conclusion’’ to a debate that has divided the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus for years.

“University leadership is not taking any interested party in a consensus-solution process for granted,’’ said Tom Hardy, the director of university relations. “Certainly that would apply to any organization of former chiefs.’’

Looks like we'll have to sit tight to see what happens but a few things are for sure:

1. The NCAA is the main party to blame here. We have talked about this plenty of times here but it bears repeating: They are out playing PC police when they should be going after recruiting violations. They have put Illinois AD Ron Guenther and the university in a terrible position. Since when does the organization that supposedly prides itself on giving each member university autonomy stick its nose this deep in someone else's business?

2. I don't want to see the Chief retired as the official symbol of the university. However, if it happens, I do want to see control, trademark etc. all transferred to a private organization (such as a group of students who used to protray him). That way the tradition stays alive in a dignified way and, because it would be privately run, we avoid all the headaches presently being caused by the NCAA.


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