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#AskTCR: Who To Root For Besides Illinois?


Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

So you're probably wondering what in the world #AskTCR is doing here right now. I mean, #AskTCR is supposed to take place on the weekend, damn it! It's a post that Fornelli only writes to get content up no the site on a weekend that doesn't take a lot of effort and allows him some freedom!

Well, it's still all of that, except now that the season is starting #AskTCR will be running on Wednesdays. It would just get lost in the shuffle of football over the weekend, and we don't want it getting trampled to death.

So, welcome to the new Wednesday version of #AskTCR. Exciting, isn't it? No, of course it isn't. It's a fucking mailbag.

Anyway, here's how you can go about getting your question featured here next Wednesday.

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.

All right, so let's get to the questions.

As I've mentioned on the site before, and as anybody who knows me is well aware, I'm a Notre Dame fan. Have been my whole life, really and was before I became an Illinois fan. So for me, as in any season, the other team I'll be following closely this season is Notre Dame.

However, I'd like to give you a better answer than Notre Dame.

In fact, what I'd like to do is help you settle on another team to follow this season. Watching college football is my actual job, after all, and I watch football for roughly 15 straight hours every Saturday. Multiple games and multiple teams.

So I have a pretty good idea about what's out there that you should find interesting. So what I'll do is give you one team from each conference that you should "root for." Now, obviously you won't be able to root for each of these teams, but maybe adopt one or two of them.

American Athletic Conference - I'd go with Houston here. Yeah, they're coming off of a down season in 2012, but this was a team that was pretty damn fun to watch while Kevin Sumlin was running things, and I think they're going to get back to that again this season. They're not good enough to win the conference, but they're good enough to keep somebody else from winning the conference.

ACC - If this were strictly for me I'd stay away from top programs, but for you I'm going to say become a Clemson fan. Not only is this team good but it's really fun and creative on offense. Plus the Tigers defense isn't all that great which leads to quite a few awesome shootouts .

Big 12 - Normally I'd say Baylor because I've been a Baylor fan since RG3 first stepped foot on campus and Art Briles took the program over. However, while Baylor is fun, I say you should check out Texas Tech. Kliff Kingsbury was the guy who helped run the offense for Texas A&M last year, and he's returned to run his alma mater this year. He's pretty much the bro-est bro to ever bro and bro this team is going to be fun to watch, bro.

C-USA - Would have been Louisiana Tech -- we all got an up close and personal look what that team can do last year -- but Sonny Dykes left for Cal and was replaced by Skip Holtz so NNNOOOOOPE. Instead go with Tulsa, but just know that if you actually choose a C-USA team to follow you're going to be spending a lot of time watching college football on the internet this season.

MAC - Stay local. Go with Northern Illinois. You probably have friends there anyway.

Mountain West - Forget Boise State, go with Nevada. While NFL folks tend to treat the Pistol offense like something that's new and exciting I've been watching Nevada do it for years. I KNEW WHO COLIN KAEPERNICK WAS BEFORE ANYBODY KNEW WHO COLIN KAEPERNICK WAS. HE WAS MY OSTRICH. I AM A COLIN KAEPERNICK HIPSTER I LIKED HIM BEFORE HE WAS COOL.

Pac-12 - Go with Arizona, as the Wildcats are actually my darkhorse team in the Pac-12 this season and I think they could surprise a lot of people. Plus RichRod's teams are always fun when the life isn't being sucked out of him by Michigan alumni.

SEC - Root for Alabama just so you can know what it's like to dominate everything. Yeah, it's like rooting for the bad guy in the movie, but seriously, have you ever rooted for the bad guy in a movie? It's a lot more fun.

Sun Belt - It's going to be hard to follow the Sun Belt, but watch Western Kentucky because Bobby Petrino is coaching there now, so it should be pretty damn interesting.

Of course it's all right to adopt that dog and name it Chief. As for telling your wife about it first, well, okay, so she'll probably be pissed off for a couple minutes but look at that face. HOW CAN ANYBODY STAY MAD AT THAT FACE?

I thought they were all right. Personally I like the blue jerseys the Illini have better than the orange simply because I think there's just way too much orange going on, particularly with the new helmets. Also I like darker colors in general, so yeah, I like the blues.

If Tim Beckman did get fired at the end of the season, who is the coach you'd like to see replace him? - Mike

That's a pretty good question, and one that isn't all that easy for me to answer. I mentioned Bobby Petrino earlier when talking about Western Kentucky, and that was a name I mentioned last year when there was talk of Beckman being fired. Personally I'm just of the opinion that if you're going to win at a school like Illinois you need somewhat of a "rebel" running the program.

Somebody that isn't afraid to be different or think outside the box.

I like Todd Berry at Louisiana-Monroe, though I don't think his career record would be good enough to please everybody if we did hire him. Whether he was successful at Illinois State or not. But the work he's done at Louisiana-Monroe has been both interesting and impressive, because that's a program that was basically nothing when he got there. And then last year they beat Arkansas and nearly beat both Auburn and Baylor. And they did it by not being scared.

I like that attitude, and I think it could be beneficial here.

I have no idea what you just said. Lay off the weed and watch less cartoons, man.

Maybe, but look at that water skiing form.




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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