Going to start this week's #AskTCR with a question of my own for you guys. Consider it a plea, really. I've been doing this mailbag for a while now, and I enjoy doing it. Seeing the amount of questions I'm getting from people every week, I get the sense that a lot of you enjoy it as well.
But when you've been doing a mailbag this long and you've been getting so many questions, there's bound to be overlap. There are only so many ways you can answer different versions of the same question over and over again. So I'm asking you guys to think outside the box.
Remember: your question doesn't have to be about the Illini. You can ask about other sports. Hell, you don't even have to ask about sports at all. You can ask about television, movies, anything you want. Your significant other done something you aren't sure how to handle? Ask away.
I'm telling you, I can solve all your problems.
So let's start spicing these questions up. Deal?
And, as our weekly reminder, here is how you can go about spicing your questions up.
There are two ways to ask The Champaign Room your questions. You can tweet them at us on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTCR -- it just makes it easier to keep track -- or you can email them to us at TheChampaignRoom@gmail.com. And if you've got a personal question and you're worried about your privacy, just tell us. Well change your name to Tom Crean when we publish it on the site. And remember, you can ask us ANYTHING. It doesn't have to be about Illinois or even sports.
To the questions!
This is a question I've wondered myself, and something I think most people prefer to think isn't a possibility. I really don't know because there are so many factors in play here. I know Cubit has been seen as a savior here with the Illini for the offensive turnaround we've seen in such a short amount of time, but I don't know how Cubit's being viewed on a national level.
A lot of times when you it's a coordinator that another school is looking to hire and make its head coach it's that whole "young gun" formula. Looking for the diamond in the rough guy. Well, as we know, Bill Cubit turned 60 earlier this week. So if a team hires Cubit to be its head coach, it'd be a school looking for a "quick fix" more than a long-term answer. It may not be fair, but it's also the reality of the situation.
And then there's Cubit himself. Does he want to get back in to head coaching at this point, or is he happy doing what he's doing? Coaches are only hired to be fired, so it's hard to make long-term plans anywhere, but there's a possibility that Illinois is a place where Cubit plans to be until it will no longer have him, and then maybe retire.
I don't know how he feels about all of this at the moment, and without knowing it's hard to say how long he'll be here. Because I wouldn't be surprised of a MAC school gave him a chance given his experience in the conference. But I wouldn't be surprised if he turned them down either.
So, for now, I'm just going to hope that the Illini offense keeps performing well enough that Cubit is still a candidate other places this offseason.
See, this is one of those questions I was talking about in the intro. We've written about this in separate posts and addressed it a few times in the mailbag. And I don't mean to single you out, Keith, because it'd be idiotic to expect you to read every single word that's ever published on this site (though you should....twice). And I'm going to answer this one at least because this is a situation that seems to change from week to week.
But like I said before the season, I don't think this is a bowl team. Winning three games in non-conference certainly made it a more realistic possibility, but this is a team that hasn't won a Big Ten football game in two years.
Seriously, the last Big Ten win was on October 8, 2011.
So I can't sit here and look at any win on our conference schedule and say "that's a win" because the Illini haven't proven to me they can beat anybody in the Big Ten. Yes, I look at Purdue and think it's "winnable," but I'm sure as hell not taking it for granted. Not on the road.
So my answer at the moment is let's win a Big Ten game. Then we'll start talking about bowl possibilities.
Keeping in mind that "none" is an acceptable if unlikely answer, which game looks like the most likely first loss on the season for the Illinois men's basketball team. I'd appreciate an advance warning if your answer is going to be Missouri so I can prepare myself for becoming violently ill. - Scott Stein
NONE. UNDEFEATED. NATIONAL CHAMPS. I-L-L!
No, in all seriousness, we won't be undefeated. We're not going to be close to undefeated. But the good news for you is that the Missouri game will not be our first loss of the season. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Illini have already suffered three losses before then.
The three most likely candidates?
Well, they happen to be our three of our first four road games. I think the first loss will take place on the road against UNLV on November 26. I also think that losing to Georgia Tech in the ACC/B1G challenge is a realistic possibility on December 3.
If the Illini get through those games -- and the Auburn game in Atlanta on December 8 -- unscathed I'm relatively certain they'll lose to Oregon on the road on December 14.
So before conference play begins on New Year's Eve -- which annoys me so much -- I'm thinking they'll be 9-4 on the season. Not terrible, but not a start that will leave us a lot of breathing room in conference play if we want to make the tournament.
Well this isn't really a question as much as a demand, but I like your style.
So John Groce walks into a bar and pulls up a seat next to a guy who looks a bit depressed.
"What's wrong, friend," Groce asks the man.
"I'm just having a tough time at work the last few weeks," replies the man. "All of my employees are fighting and they refuse to get any work done. No matter what I do they all just bicker, and I can't fire any of them. I want to, but I can't."
"It's hard to explain, but it's against the rules."
"So what are they mad about? Have you asked them?"
"Oh I didn't have to ask. They let me know they were mad about this project I implemented. Half of them think it's fine, but the other half think I'm the worst boss ever and should be shot into the sun. Unfortunately for me, as tends to be the case, that half is the most vocal about their feelings. And I think my project is great. I think my project is what we need, but I just don't know how I can convince them of that."
"Have you tried SEAL training? It builds unity amongst your team."
"I would hardly call us a team."
"Well that right there is the problem. You need to let all your employees know that you're in it together. You're a family, and part of being a family means that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do to make the family stronger. Better ingredients, better pizza."
John Groce then stares into the stranger's eyes for a good five minutes, communicating with him telepathically in a way that science didn't even realize was possible. Suddenly the stranger sees the light.
"MY GOD! I KNOW WHAT I MUST DO! Please, wonderful bald man, let me buy you your drink. It's the least I can do."
"The drink has already been paid for," says the bartender.
"It has? But by who?"
The stranger then locks eyes with Groce again.
"You? But how? When? I don't under.."
"You don't need to. I have taken care of it. Now you go out there and do what we talked about. And good luck."
And then the next day the government shutdown ended.
Let's get away from Illini Football and Basketball for a moment, since both are in some phase of rebuilding this season. Several of the Illinois men's "non-revenue" sports teams have been very successful in recent years, especially Golf, Tennis, Wrestling, and Gymnastics. All have placed in the top-10 in the NCAA tournament in the recent past and have the potential to do so again. How would you rank their prospects in the 2013-14 season, starting with the team you think will finish highest in the NCAA tournament? - David Cox
I wish I was better equipped to answer this question. I don't pay nearly enough attention to these sports to give you an informed opinion on which I think will be the strongest this season. But, damn it, I'm going to give you an answer.
Wrestling. It'll be wrestling. Led by national champion Jesse Delgado.
I don't know what I love about Yasiel Puig more. His baseball talent, or his ability to piss so many people off. I love that some people who watch sports to entertain themselves get so irrationally angry at the athletes they're watching enjoy themselves.
Your entire childhood you're told that the most important part of playing sports is having fun. Then you grow up and become an adult and suddenly SPORTS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AT ALL TIMES. SPORTS ARE LIFE AND DEATH.
LOOK AT THAT GUY PUMPING HIS FIST AND SMILING AFTER DELIVERING A BIG HIT TO HELP HIS TEAM. OH MAN THE WAY HE HUSTLES TO FIRST BASE ON A ROUTINE GROUND BALL TO SECOND BASE PISSES ME OFF SO MUCH.
Honestly, if Yasiel Puig -- or any athlete -- makes you angry for having fun out there or being "cocky" -- again, in real life confidence is something that we deem to be a good thing to have, but in sports? -- instead of explaining to somebody else why that person is an asshole, go stand in front of a mirror and figure out what's making you such an asshole first.
Sports are entertainment. They're supposed to be fun. Allow yourself to enjoy them.
Unfortunately I think it's going to be a lot. I'd say somewhere in the 250 to 300 yard range. Though that doesn't mean we can't win, it's just the only way I see the Illini winning this game is outscoring the Badgers. They're not going to stop them.
It's hard to say at this point because I haven't seen them in action on a court with their Illini teammates, but from what I have seen, heard from coaches and looking at our needs, I'm leaning toward Kendrick Nunn at the moment. I just think that while he still needs a lot of work on his game to become a great player in the Big Ten, his game is refined enough at this point that he's going to contribute.
I know he's learning the two this season as Groce doesn't want to overload the freshman with multiple positions, but I think Nunn is capable of serving as a ball-handler at times too. Not for extended minutes, but when needed. And he's also the kind of player that knows how to find his shot or create his own.
So while I'm not expecting big minutes or big numbers from any of the freshman, I think Nunn has the best chance to "excel" as a freshman.
Though I'm hoping they all do.
Thanks for the questions! If you submitted a question that didn't get answered, don't worry, it's possible that I'm just saving it for the next mailbag. It's also possible the question sucked and you need to ask better questions next time. I guess you'll just have to wait to find out.