The Day After: Lost At Sea

The Champaign Room

We're drifting and I'm just not sure anybody will ever show up to rescue us.

So we lost. We all knew we were going to lose this game. It's hard to write anything based on what we saw on the field. A vastly superior team buried the Illini early and then kind of just coasted to the end.

I've had a lot of fans mention to me since the end of this game how the Illini scored 35 points against Ohio State, and that's more than any other team has done this season. Good for us? Is this what we've become? Let's ignore the fact we gave up 60 points -- which is more than Ohio State scored against Buffalo, San Diego State, Cal and Purdue -- because we scored 35?

They gave up 441 rushing yards at 10.5 yards a clip! Ohio State had four touchdowns of 50 yards or more! And you want to feel happy about what you saw?

Listen, I know that when you've lost 20 straight Big Ten games it's only natural that you start grasping for whatever positive signs you can, like a survivor of a shipwreck looking for the tiniest bit of driftwood, but you're still drifting in the middle of the ocean just waiting to die.

There's no reason to feel happy after losing 60-35 at home in a stadium filled with fans of the other team and with a student section that didn't have enough students to pull off a card stunt.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming anybody for not going. If I was still in Champaign on Saturday morning I don't think you'd have been able to drag my ass out of bed on a cold, windy day to go watch the Illini get the crap kicked out of them by Ohio State either. I'd have just continued sleeping off the hangover.

Honestly, the most interesting part of this game for me was Brian Griese basically deciding that his job as color commentator is to fire head coaches on national television, and the spat between Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit on the sideline.

Now, Mark already went over what Griese said, and while I didn't really have the same vitriolic reaction to it -- I just found it funny more than anything, but I don't have the same persecution complex I feel a lot of Illini fans do, particularly this weekend -- I don't have much to add to it either.

What I'd rather talk about was what happened between Beckman and Cubit. Listen, I don't think it's a big deal. Frankly, I'm happy my coaches are getting angry on the sidelines during a game. They should be. And I'm happy Beckman was angry at Cubit because I don't know what the hell Cubit was thinking in that situation either.

Argue over whether it should have been Reilly O'Toole or Aaron Bailey all you want, but it doesn't matter. Whoever the hell the quarterback was in that situation he shouldn't have been doing anything but turning around and handing the ball off anyway. Calling for the pass there was just a bad decision on Cubit's part.

Still, whether it was justified or not, and whether it actually "nearly came to blows" like ESPN's Tom Luginbill said, it's not a good look. When you've lost your first 14 Big Ten games and your 5-17 overall, stuff like that is just not going to help your case if you're Tim Beckman. Losing is one thing, losing and dysfunction is something different entirely, and while I don't think this coaching staff is dysfunctional -- at least, not in their personal relationships with one another -- that's just not good for the perception of the program.

It's too easy to take shots at Illinois football as it is right now, that kind of stuff just adds fuel to the fire.

As I've said here so many damn times already, I don't think Tim Beckman is going to lose his job following the season, no matter how badly Brian Griese wants him to. I just don't see this school paying two current football and basketball coaches while paying three former football an basketball coaches. It's just not the way this school has ever worked, and I have no reason to think it's going to start now.

However, fights like that on the sideline do give Mike Thomas more ammunition if he does want to sell a change.

And if we lose to Purdue next week I do think it's possible that Thomas might indeed feel it's time to make the change. Purdue is awful. In my opinion, Purdue is worse than we were last year.

Beckman simply can't afford to lose that game. He's put himself in a position now where he has nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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