With not much else to play for but pride, the Illini may be better served getting ready for 2013.
Although we've known that the Illini wouldn't be going to a bowl game for a while now, Saturday's loss made it official. Which means that, at 2-7 with three games left to play, the Illini don't have much of anything left to play for in 2012. Just pride and the chance to spoil somebody's season.
I was surprised that we didn't see Reilly O'Toole get any time during Saturday's loss. The game was over at halftime, and Nathan Scheelhaase was having a terrible game, so putting in O'Toole, just to see if he could spark the offense, made a lot of sense. It didn't happen, though. Instead Nathan stayed in the game to put the finishing touches on a day in which he'd complete 19 of 34 passes for 96 yards. Or to put it more horrifically, Scheelhaase averaged 2.8 yards per attempt.
So I don't think I'm alone when I say that I think it's time Reilly O'Toole gets to start some football games. It's only natural to consider a change considering how terrible this team has played. Look at some of these offensive rankings for this team out of the 124 teams on the FBS level.
- Total Offense - 118th
- Yards Per Play - 121st
- Points Per Game - 117th
- Touchdowns Scored - 109th
- Rushing Offense -- 99th
- Yards Per Rush - 108th
- Passing Offense - 110th
- Passing Efficiency - 101st
- Yards Per Pass - 113th
If you've stopped reading by now because you either threw your computer out a window or killed yourself, I understand.
So given how this offense has performed with Scheelhaase taking the majority of the snaps, how do you not consider making a change? What about if you look at this chart comparing the two quarterbacks so far in 2012?
In 171 pass attempts Scheelhaase has managed to throw 4 touchdowns. O'Toole has 6 touchdown passes in 83 attempts. Of all those numbers -- each one of which screams "O'TOOLE IS BETTER" -- that's the one that stands out the most to me. Though they all stand out.
Now, I'm not an idiot. Pushing the sample size argument to the side, it's also easy to point out that O'Toole has did most of his damage in the Charleston Southern game. He threw for 333 yards and 5 touchdowns in that contest. If you look at O'Toole's stats from the other games he's appeared in, he has a statline of 36 completions in 52 attempts for 206 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Which doesn't make him look much better than Scheelhaase.
And he might not be.
But the thing is, we already know what Nathan Scheelhaase is. We've seen it for three seasons now. He's a quarterback that has an ability to make plays for you, but is just as likely to be completely ineffective. He also seems to be getting worse. Whether it's shellshock from being hit and injured so many times or what, I don't know. All I know is that every week I see a quarterback that seems to regress with each play.
He tried to perfect the art of the fadeaway pass on Saturday. Repeatedly.
We don't know what O'Toole is.
Now that there's nothing left to play for, it only makes sense to find out. After all, Aaron Bailey is coming to campus next year. Tim Beckman should probably find out whether or not he's going to be able to survive another season with Scheelhaase and O'Toole battling for a spot -- while Bailey redshirts -- or if Bailey's going to be needed right from the start.