The game started getting a bit out of hand in the second quarter, with the Ohio State Buckeyes up 35-7 on our beloved and hapless Illinois Fighting Illini. So you can forgive Brian Griese for trying to find something else to talk about other than the awful game being played in front of him. But he chose the wrong hill to die on with his attacks on Tim Beckman.
Has Beckman done a good job? No. No he hasn't. Has he said some dumb things and generally looked like a well-intentioned buffoon thus far in his tenure here? Yeah, he really has. But holy shit am I tired of hearing about how much worse he is than Ron Zook because it's honestly just not true.
Sometime over the past two seasons, Ron Zook went from national punching bag for announcers to wrongly persecuted and terminated head coach who got Illinois to a god damn Rose Bowl! Never mind that if you remove the Rose Bowl season from his Illinois coaching totals, his W-L record drops to 25-47. That is not the record of a good coach. It just isn't. Yes, Beckman still hasn't won his first Big Ten game and that is frustrating. Do you remember Zook's conference record from his first two seasons? It was 1-15. One and fucking fifteen. He was 4-19 overall and no one was screaming about how he needs to be shitcanned that very instant and not given a third season.
And don't even start up about Zook's recruiting prowess. Did he bring in some incredibly talented players that went on to play in the NFL? Yes. And what did he manage to accomplish with a team that had Juice Williams, Arrelious Benn, Martez Wilson, and Mikel Leshoure on it it? Nothing. That team went 5-7 and underperformed all season.
There's no point in asking for Tim Beckman's head after this season. The money still owed to Ron Zook all but forces Mike Thomas to keep him on board. Ron Guenther and Ron Zook dug a ridiculously deep hole for their successors to try and climb out of. Is Beckman the guy to get Illinois back to mediocrity? Probably not. But it's not like he got dealt a fair hand to start with.