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#AskTCR: I Want Some Chipotle


With the football season starting soon I'm not exactly sure what will become of the #AskTCR mailbag. Will we scrap it until after basketball season, or will we just move it to a different day of the week? I don't know. Truth is I'll probably let you guys decide with the poll I'm putting at the bottom of this post.

Though I can't promise I'll listen to what you say.

Anyway, we can worry about the future of #AskTCR later. Right now we're dealing with the present #AskTCR, and you folks have been submitting questions to me this week, and damn it, those questions need answers.

If you want to see your question answered in a future version, however, this is how you go about doing that.

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 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.

And on to the questions.

This is not a hard question for me to answer. I didn't even have to think about it.

Chipotle. Easy. I fucking love me some Chipotle. I don't eat nearly as often as I'd like to because I like being able to fit through doorways with ease. However, when I do, I enjoy every second and bite. The only thing I ever order from Chipotle is a steak burrito.

Steak, pinto beans, brown rice, lettuce, sour cream and cheese. These are the ingredients that lead to a happy Tom. If you murdered my entire family but showed up at my door with this exact burrito the next day, I don't know that I'd be able to keep you out of prison, but I'd certainly testify on your behalf.

Sure, you killed my mom, but my mom never brought me a Chipotle burrito. Which, now that I think about it, that's borderline abusive, don't you agree? I don't care that I was an adult before Chipotle even became a part of my life. Just because I'm an adult doesn't mean you're no longer my mom, mom. And moms should bring their children Chipotle!

Back to the topic, though, I honestly think that I could eat Chipotle every day for the rest of my life. It might get tiring if it's every meal -- I say might -- and I'd certainly balloon up to 450 pounds in no time, but if you're going to balloon up to 450 pounds I can't think of a better way to do it.

Shit, I might go get some Chipotle right now.

I definitely think Soldier Field would be an option as the Illini have already established a relationship with the city of Chicago with this season's game against Washington.

As for Busch Stadium, I don't know for sure -- it's up to the Cardinals more than anything -- but I don't think so. It's important to remember that the first time this subject was brought up it was by the St. Louis Sports Commission. And the reason they were interested in bringing the game back was to find another big event to put in the Edward Jones Dome.

So I think if the series were to rotate between neutral sites, odds are it would do so at Soldier Field and the Edward Jones Dome.

As for the idea of playing it in Busch Stadium, I'm also on the fence about it. Yeah, it sounds cool, but I was at the Illinois-Northwestern game at Wrigley Field. And even if you put aside the one end zone and one sideline aspect of that meeting, I'm not sure it was a great experience for fans as far as actually watching the game.

There's no way in hell the Cardinals would allow seating on the field, so the seats would be too far from the field. Plus, the one bonus of going to a football game in person -- particularly a college game -- is the atmosphere of the crowd and the stadium.

You lose that inside a baseball stadium because the crowd isn't really on top of the field. So when schools do things like this it's really just a money grab, and I don't think it's a particularly great experience for the fans.

So I think, ideally, this series should be played like any other series: on campus. Though I don't think that's the ultimate plan here.

At the moment I'd say I'm between 85 and 90%. It's just that recruiting is so fluid and things change so quickly. I mean, we don't have to look further than Leron Black to even see that. While the Illini have always been in the hunt with Black, Florida was seen as the favorite for a long time in the process, with Memphis -- his hometown school -- in there as well. Then the next thing you know Black says he's not even considering either school any more. Suddenly Illinois is the runaway favorite.

However, it's important to note that Black's mother would like her son to play away from home. I don't know exactly what their situation is, but it's obvious there might be some influences in Memphis she'd like her son to get away from. Which could explain why Black was originally a Baylor commit.

Well, Illinois isn't exactly thousands of miles away from Memphis -- it's about 400 miles and six hours away by car -- but I do believe that's far enough.

And while I won't say I'm 100% convinced Black is coming to Illinois until he's signed, I'm obviously confident he will. However, I might get a bit worried if Black visits Illinois on August 31 -- he's going to the Southern Illinois game as part of his visit -- and leaves Champaign without committing. Because he also has visits set up with Baylor and Indiana after that.

It's looking more and more like Bailey will be taking a few snaps this season. Assuming he does, do you think he will be asked to redshirt his 2014 season for Lunt to play out his three years, do you think Bailey will beat out Lunt, or do you see Cubit running some 2 QB system? What do you think the odds are Bailey transfers if asked to redshirt his sophomore season? - The Zookie Monster

Yeah, given the way the coaches are talking about Bailey I think it's fairly safe to assume he will not be redshirting in 2013, and if that's the case, I don't see any reason why he'd redshirt in 2014 either. If the coaching staff was going to redshirt him they'd just do it this season to give themselves some more class balance at the position.

But I don't think class balance at quarterback is the top priority for this coaching staff right now. Getting to coach the 2014 recruiting class on the field in Champaign is. And they feel putting Aaron Bailey on the field this year is the best way to go about ensuring that happens.

Which I'm fine with. In a perfect world I'd like Aaron to redshirt this season and then compete with Wes Lunt next year, but this is Illinois football we're talking here, and there is no perfect world in Illinois football.

As for whether or not Bailey would transfer, it's too hard to say really, but I don't think so. Redshirt or not. We have to remember that Aaron Bailey chose the Illini early in the process, and even though he had an offer from Ohio State, along with other Big Ten and SEC schools.

Now, think about this for a minute. Aaron commits to Illinois and is then offered a chance to play for Urban Meyer in an offensive system that's perfect for him. Aaron then watches Illinois go 2-10 while Ohio State goes 12-0 and Braxton Miller sets himself up for a possible Heisman Trophy in 2013. Bailey sees all of this and never once waivers in his commitment to Illinois.

That tells me that Aaron Bailey wants to be at Illinois, and it's not just to play quarterback. Because if football was the only thing he cared about I think he's in Columbus right now being groomed to replace Braxton Miller.

So, no, I don't think he'll ever transfer.

Picture this if you will: Trailing by one in the final minute at home against Indiana, Tracy Abrams sees his opportunity and begins driving toward the basket. He elevates to get up his shot and he's fouled. Abrams then heads to the free throw line, there's 13 seconds left in the game. The State Farm Center is silent. Tension fills the building.

Abrams steps to the line and hits the first free throw. An audible sigh of relief is heard.

Still, the game is only tied and the Illini aren't playing for overtime at home against Indiana.

Abrams steps to the line again and hits the second free throw. The Orange Krush and the building erupt as Tom Crean calls a timeout. During the timeout the noise continues, the Krush doing every thing it can to make it impossible for Crean to talk to his team.

The timeout ends and Indiana inbounds the ball to Yogi Ferrell. He brings it to the top of the key when Joe Bertrand loses track of Will Sheehey. Sheehey makes a back-door cut down the baseline where Ferrell hits him with a perfectly placed bounce pass.

Nothing stands between Sheehey and an easy dunk to give Indiana the win.

Sheehey is going to dunk. Indiana is going to win. And the State Farm Center is about to be in a bad mood.


As Sheehey approaches the basket, the Orange Krush descends on the court and tackles him. They then beat him to death with whatever they have on them. And this is the Krush we're talking about here, so we're talking knives and bats, and probably some semi-automatic assault rifles.

It's chaos.

When the Krush is finally done they return to their seats leaving Sheehey lying on the court. Dead.

The officials call a technical foul on the Illini because the Orange Krush murdered Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell steps to the line.

He's terrified. Not only did he just see his friend and teammate die, but the people that killed him are standing right there yelling at him. He knows that if he hits these free throws he's the next to die.

A puddle of urine appears on the court below him.

Ferrell misses both free throws on purpose.

The Illini win.

That's how you can have a bigger impact on the Illini this season. I don't recommend you do it, but it's certainly an option.

It's definitely possible, though I wouldn't expect to happen soon. I think Dee's pretty happy playing basketball in Europe at the moment, and I'm not sure he's ready to hang the sneakers up at this point. However, I do believe that coming back to Champaign with a chance to coach the Illini would certainly be an enticing offer for him.

What would I do? Well I'd sleep in as late as I could and then make my way to the stadium. What could you do? Shit, I don't know. You can try to find somewhere to eat in The Loop, though I'm not sure what's going to be open for you at 7am on a Saturday morning. Failing that, the Field Museum opens at 9am and it's literally right next to Soldier Field. I like museums, so that's what I'd do if sleeping wasn't an option.

I suggest you sleep.


I think a lot of people would be surprised how little of an advantage having one extra player would be in football. It'd be a bigger advantage for a defense than it would an offense, but I don't think the edge it gave the Illini on defense would be enough to overcome everything else.


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.

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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