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#AskTCR: Fanbase Expectations & Road Trips


Two men generally despised by the more vocal fringes of their fanbases.
Two men generally despised by the more vocal fringes of their fanbases.
Eric Francis

Somewhat lighter week in questions, but that wasn't exactly unexpected following a dreadful Saturday night beatdown. But like the Dude, we abide and endure.

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. We'll 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.


Each loss increases the odds that Beckman won't be back next year, but we haven't yet reached the point in the season where it's the more likely of the two outcomes. This weekend's game will be pretty crucial to him saving himself. I'd put the odds of Beckman being canned this winter at 60:40 in favor of him losing his spot. But you seem interested in a rather bizarre parlay that has a zero percent chance of happening. Rod Carey became a coordinator in 2012. He's been a head coach for 19 games thus far. Grabbing him is far too akin to taking Beckman. There's also the fact that Illinois hiring a coach away from NIU is a no-win situation. If he fails, it looks like NIU is a better program than Illinois. If he succeeds, you had to steal a smaller in-state school's staff to get better than them. It's not happening.


So if Lebron is replacing Jordan (and rightfully so in this scenario), I still think we can get a really fun Monstars squad.

PG- Stephen Curry

SG- James Harden

SF- Kevin Durant

PF- Blake Griffin

C- Kevin Love

It hurt to not make Derrick Rose the point guard, but until he stays healthy for an entire year again I have to go with Curry. Harden can't play defense, but do you remember anyone actually playing much defense in Space Jam? No, you don't. It's like the ASG, but with monsters and cartoon characters. You absolutely cannot have this team without Durant. Blake Griffin has always looked kind of like a cartoon character as is, so combine that with his playing style and he's a perfect fit. And I know Kevin Love isn't really a center, but I like him and want him in the movie and I answer the questions here.


An email from Shane-

What would be good nicknames (similar to Vlad the Impaler and Alexander the Great) for all Big Ten football coaches?

What is the most George Constanza-esque reason you or a friend ever broke up with someone?

I'm going to start with your second question first, since it's a much shorter answer. I don't like the show Seinfeld, but I do still get the reference though. Sadly (for the readers), I haven't broken up with anyone for a dumb reason. I'm not usually much of a dater so my relationships have ended because of (in order): it being a high school relationship that I realized I wasn't very into after a month, realizing long distance wasn't going to work with her, and getting my danged heartbroken because of bad communication. Sorry.

On to the nicknames!

Brady the Blubbering, Kirk the Unkillable, Mark the Heartless, James the Rebuilder, Kyle the Perfectly Acceptable but Probably Not Much More, Randy the Resurrected, THERE ARE TOO MANY TEAMS IN THIS CONFERENCE NOW, Bo the Unloved, Pat the Anointed, Gary the Smotherer, Jerry the Geomyidine (look it up), Darrell the Forgotten, Urban the Unconquerable, Kevin the Konfused, and Tim the Underwhelming.


I feel like with that big of a group, you should probably keep things fairly basic or else costs and time spent will rapidly get out of hand. So I would recommend (if you're in town right now), just going to the Meat Science Lab and buying them out of whatever beef and meat encased in tubing they have. Make some wings to go with it all, grab some potato and pasta salad. Get a couple coolers full of decent beer or a keg of your favorite domestic and that would be pretty danged great.

But seriously, let us know where this tailgate is happening. I'll swing by after the post-game press conference and say hi. I will be livid if there is no pasta salad.


Now Jeremy didn't use the hashtag, but it's pretty rare that we get #AskTCR questions from actual members of the media so I'm going to make an exception. Who has the biggest car? Because while my Dodge Neon gets good gas mileage, the people in the back set won't be as comfortable as they would be if we were in a Ford Escape or something similar.

But since I don't know what kinds of car everyone drive (until I park near you this weekend), I guess I'll have to use other logic. CLARIFICATION: I am only picking people whose primary job is Illini media. So no other bloggers (sorry Robert and Frank) and no general Big Ten folks (no Taylor or J). Since the trip was your idea, it would seem the absolute height of rudeness not to invite you. You're the navigator. Also in charge of snacks. Marcus Jackson is also invited, because he seems like he'd be a lot of fun to hangout with. Besides, anyone who willingly went to Eastern can surely handle the boredom of driving across Indiana. Or final space is reserved for Shannon Ryan because she has interacted with us on Twitter multiple times now, which is the quickest way to earn points in our quasi-meritocracy.


This is easy. Passing is essentially worthless in Tecmo Bowl. Every quarterback in the game is basically the same, so the only real difference you can make is choosing teams with good runningbacks. So I'm picking the Raiders and the Bears. It won't matter which team I get. Bo Jackson is the best player in the game, but the drop off to Walter Payton is not nearly as large as you may think. Plus hey, they're the Bears!


A question from WilliamsForThree-

You’re nervously watching the Purdue @ Illinois game this weekend which has become a harrowing mistake-riddled back-and-forth tussle. You unconsciously nosh away at a certain food for the whole game. When Taylor Zalewski finally bangs in the 19-yard field goal (which hits both uprights and then the crossbar) to win a 30-29 slugfest, you realize that you’ve eaten 3 to 4 pounds of this food. What food could you unknowingly over-eat the most of while pensively watching two Big Ten football afterthoughts? Cost and real-life availability be damned (although "sober v. drunk" may need to be considered).

The only food I really seem to lose all concept of how much I'm eating is candy. When I ate two lbs of nachos this summer, I knew exactly what I was doing. It was incredibly stupid and hurt like hell, but it was so tasty. No, for me to lose complete track of how much I'm eating, it would have to be either Sour Patch Kids or Reese's Pieces. I'll just be sitting there and realize I've eaten an entire box of either in about 45 seconds. Early November with all its cheap Halloween candy is a dangerous time for me.


The commentariat will have to help you with the bourbon question, as I have not spent enough time in Chambana since acquiring a taste for the finer things to know where that would be. If I had to steer you towards an area likely to have it though, head to downtown Champaign. Not Campustown, but actual downtown. The bars there aren't college bars and will be able to supply you with good liquor and ably made mixed drinks.

For food, you should do what I plan on doing this Saturday night with whatever writers will be in town: Black Dog Smoke & Ale House. Best local restaurant in either city. If you want to eat at a bar in Campustown, Murphy's Pub or Firehaus are your best bets. Avoid Papa Del's Pizza unless you don't mind waiting way too damn long for good but not great pizza.


If Wes Lunt is healthy and plays the entire game and we still lose, that's pretty much the end of the current coaching regime. They probably won't be fired mid-season a la Charlie Weis, but they'd be known lame ducks no matter what. There won't be riots or anything like that, but the stands would be a barren wasteland for the remaining home games. Why come see the Illini play Iowa or Penn State in the cold when they couldn't topple Purdue? It would be a nightmare. Mike Thomas would need to hit an absolute homerun with the next coaching hire to win the fanbase back.


Probably a bit of both. Nebraska has a very good offensive line that looked even better because our defensive line was clearly outclassed. Our offensive line is proof that just because a line is experienced doesn't necessarily mean it's good. I don't know that it's because of the last minute OL coaching change, but that's definitely a possibility. I'll ask about it if I can this weekend.


An email from Matthew-

Why do Illini fans take recruiting spurns so badly? Not just the what happened last year but going back to Eric Gordon and beyond. I understand the frustration I just find it interesting how there is a sense among some Illini fans that the program "deserves" these kids. I agree that the turnaround Groce and staff has made in the recruiting landscape has been no short of incredible but to no fault of their own they are still playing catch up. Hopefully by the time this column runs the point is moot (crossing fingers).

I assume the last sentence was in reference to Jawun Evans, which yeah, didn't happen. Honestly, I have no idea why our fanbase gets like this. It's the same way for both of the major sports. We seem to think we deserve the best coaches and the best players simply because we're from the most populous state in the conference. Which is nutty. Illinois is a school that historically refuses to pay top dollar for coaching staffs and facilities.

I think a lot of it may have to deal with the fact that we've never won a national championship in basketball. Each one of these five star recruits that chooses to play elsewhere is somehow viewed to be the savior of the program. That last missing piece that will finally let the Illini cut down the nets at the end of the season. Never mind that only one team actually gets to do that and that almost none of the recruits that choose another program instead actually get to accomplish that goal.

It feels a bit like that whole trope about the friend zone, with people expecting something they think they deserve when really they have done nothing to earn it. Just because you're super nice to a girl or boy doesn't mean you automatically deserve to be in a relationship with them. That's not how the world works. Similarly, just because you think Illinois deserves the hell out of that five star and everything would be great they could just open their eyes and see that the right choice is in front of them and OH MY GOD WHY DID YOU PICK THEM YOU IDIOT I AM THE RIGHT CHOICE I MEAN ILLINOIS AND AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

It feels exactly like that. Pinning your hopes and dreams to the decisions of teenage boys is even stupider than hoping someone you're attracted to will magically fall for you simply because you're super nice. I don't tweet at recruits because it's a silly thing to do. I'm pretty damned happy with how things have been going under John Groce. Yeah, it kind of sucks coming up second so often to a bunch of other other programs but the fact that we're even there at all after the recent history of the program? That shows promise. Buckets of it. If the team makes the Sweet Sixteen this year (a very likely possibility), Groce will have a pretty nice feather in his cap to point out to recruits. We still have a top ten recruiting class for next season as of right now. Things are trending up so quickly that we're in danger of whiplash. But hey, people want to still be hung up about Cliff Alexander and there is nothing that will stop that.


Favorite Illini football moment continues to be the Ohio State upset in 2007. Just watching Juice Williams slowly march the Buckeyes to death in Columbus was all kinds of fantastic. Second place would be Mikel Leshoure dismantling Northwestern at Wrigley. That was so much fun to watch.

For basketball, I'm going with Tyler Griffey beheading the Hoosiers. The 2005 season had a lot of great moments, but I was at a Bulls game the night of the Arizona comeback. So I have to go with one I actually watched and that would be the Indiana game.

Favorite sports moments overall would be the entire 2005 White Sox playoff run. I don't want to pick a single game because each one (other than the one loss to the Angels) was something else. Beating the ever-loving shit out of Boston, El Duque's bases-loaded tightrope act, the four consecutive complete game wins over Los Angeles, Konerko's grand slam, Podsednik's walkoff, Geoff Blum's extra inning decider, and then Uribe's game four heroics? I honestly got chills typing about that.

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