You know who's excited for Saturday's likely loss to Penn State? Me. I get to return to Champaign for the second time this season and the weather promises to be nicer than it was for the Purdue game. I get to celebrate some old friends having taken their veterinary boards licensing exam and eat food from places I've missed. And hey, no matter what the outcome of the football game, something interesting will happen. I either get to see a win in person for the first time in five years or witness the official end of the Beckman regime. If you're having a tailgate, let me know where and I'll try to stop by.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
@Champaign_Room If you could assign all the Big 10 team names to different Big 10 universities, what would you do? Ex. Iowa Spartans #AskTCR— Mark Garofalo (@MarkIllini24) November 12, 2014
I wouldn't change any of them. My favorite thing about college team names is that they make the most regional/state sense out of all the sports leagues. Only three teams in our conference (Northwestern, Michigan State, and Rutgers) are named after things that aren't state-specific, so swapping the names would ruin that. So even if I could, I would have to decline the option.
When's The @Champaign_Room gonna get its own app? #AskTCR— Dylan Pierce (@Dylan_Pierce) November 17, 2014
Back before the current redesign, SBN sites used to have apps. The redesign was done partially to remove the need for them, as they restructured the sites to work better on mobile devices and tablets. I don't think we're going back to apps any time soon.
@ynekzad @Champaign_Room what about Mangino? #AskTCR— Alex Ford (@alexlford) November 17, 2014
I can't see @ynekzad's tweet because he has a protected account, but I'm assuming this is all asking "Why not look at Mark Mangino if we fire Beckman?" to which I loudly say "No." Much like why I don't want Jim Leavitt coming to Champaign, Mangino has an alleged history of multiple counts of misconduct towards his players. This isn't the 1950s anymore and I don't want that kind of coach near the program. And while his overall results at Kansas were impressive, look at his record in conference play: 23-41. Pass.
@Champaign_Room If Illinois football were an "As Seen on TV" product, which one would they be? #AskTCR— AdamMorrisonCrying (@morrisoncrying) November 17, 2014
I was about to ask if they still had those ads, but then I remembered one from this summer that was attempting to cash in on the World Cup media blitz: the Hoverball.
I think this is perfect. Much like the Hoverball is not actually a soccer ball and "practicing" using it will in no way improve your skills as a soccer player, Illinois football isn't completely actual football and attempting to replicate it will result in heartbreak, frustration, and sadness.
@Champaign_Room What are the chances Mike Dudek makes a freshman all-america team? #AskTCR— Dean Parr (@3AboveParr) November 17, 2014
As of this morning, Mike Dudek is 35th in the nation in receiving yards with 787. His 51 receptions have him ranked 62nd. His five TD receptions don't rank anywhere impressive. The only freshmen with more receiving yards than him are Roger Lewis of Bowling Green (858 yards, 60 receptions, 5 TD) and Devonte Boyd (56 receptions, 821 yards, 3 TD). The Freshman All-American Team traditionally picks three wide receivers. As long as Dudek puts up average weeks over the next two, he ends the year with 944 yards on 62 receptions (I won't project TD because that's far less easy to do). Those numbers give him a damn fine chance at walking away from this season with that specific honor.
An email from Scott-
Would it be possible to just talk about Missouri-KC beating Missouri in basketball Friday night? Any bit of discussion about that game would be delightful.
Also, according to Wikipedia: "On April, 2007, it was announced that the school (Missouri-KC) will be dropping its Co-Ed Rifle Program in order to add women's soccer and men's baseball." Could you comment on the wisdom of that decision?
You asked about it, so of course we can. The UMKC Kangaroos went 10-20 last year. That was not a fluke season. They were 8-24 the season before that and haven't had a winning season since 2010-11. Their last win over a major program was in 2003. This is a horribad loss for the Tigers. Yeah, Mizzou is only returning 22% of its scoring from last season and has a new head coach, but there is no excuse for something like this happening at home.
It seems like a wise decision to me. Small schools can thrive on less popular college sports like women's soccer and men's baseball. With how deep the baseball draft is, players get pulled from nowhere programs all the time. I'm just amazed they had a co-ed rifle program as late as 2007.
@Champaign_Room has Colbert leapfrogged mav in the rotation? And would that be good, bad or indifferent? #AskTCR— Matt O'Neall (@matt1all) November 17, 2014
Far too early in the season to make any definitive statements on how Groce intends to use the bench this year, but I'll lean towards indifferent.
@Champaign_Room is the 'Big Ten Teams as ASOIAF Houses' article still in the works or did I miss that? #AskTCR— Marc Vertin (@ChiefVert13) November 17, 2014
@Champaign_Room Hopefully it's not too late: Theme music for each B1G football program? #AskTCR Illini have to be Benny Hill right?— Mike Zagorski (@mzagorskijr) November 12, 2014
Marc, you have not missed it. I've got nine of the teams mapped out currently and plan on typing the whole thing up while back in Chicagoland next week. Once you run out of major houses, the exercise becomes far more difficult. Thankfully, A Wiki of Ice and Fire exists.
Mike, it is not too late. I do want to save this idea for its own post at the end of the season though. It deserves to not be lost in the shuffle of weekly #AskTCRdom. I hope that's okay with you.
@Champaign_Room Can I beat @CAlanDavis12 in 1vs1? #AskTCR— Matthew Agase (@mattagase) November 17, 2014
I have never (knowingly) met either you or Chris. So I did what any good scout would do, especially since Chris has his Twitter profile protected: I took to Facebook. Thanks to Matt's more unique last name, it was easy enough to find both of your profiles. Unfortunately for Chris, I can only see pictures of the group trip you guys took to Las Vegas back in 2012 so I have no idea which person he is. He is therefore deemed imaginary, making you the winner. Feel free to brag.
.@Champaign_Room can the Illini manage to make it to a bowl? Does that mean Beckman keeps his job? What about with 1 W? #AskTCR— Stu Almeleh (@SAlmeleh) November 18, 2014
@Champaign_Room Better to make a bowl and practice with this staff or not make one and hit the reset button? #AskTCR— Matthew Agase (@mattagase) November 17, 2014
I'll start with the easiest part first. If the Illini only win one more game this year, Tim Beckman is gone. Before the season many of us said 5-7 with good losses would be enough to keep his job and that still feels right. But the losses have not been good losses. If they make a bowl game though? Shit, that's a lot harder to fire him for, isn't it? I'm ready to move on to a new coaching staff, but good luck convincing anyone worth a tinker's damn to come here if you sack a coach who improved the team record by two wins each year after his first.
And that's where I'm torn. That extra month of practice that a bowl game grants could be huge for this team. Anything that gives the offense more reps to learn from is great and I'm all for it. But unlike Tim, I don't see this as an 8 win squad next season if the coaching staff is retained. I don't know that I even see it as a six win team. I think it's best to cut the losses and allow for a new system to take over.
@Champaign_Room In all fairness....Who is a realistic possibility to take over for Beckman? Or is too soon to guess? #AskTCR— Chris Staley (@Tristaley1) November 18, 2014
As the esteemed Mr. Fornelli said in the comments of our list of potential Beckman replacements post, if Illinois offers, the odds are pretty good Pat Narduzzi will take the job. I'll be happy with anyone from that list or Justin Fuentes. I'll be unhappy with any MAC coach.
@Champaign_Room #AskTCR who is going to be MT's best hire? Groce, Bollant or the next football coach.— Andy George (@MrOrangenblue) November 18, 2014
With this list of options, I kind of feel like I have to pick Groce. I think Bollant was a great hire, but people just generally don't care as much about women's basketball. So unless he goes on a Pat Summitt run, he won't get those accolades. The next football coach us currently unknown, so it's not like I can go with that option. So I'm choosing Groce by default, though that feels like a slight. I expect a good season this year followed by a great one next year. He's building the program back up very nicely.
@Champaign_Room Which Illini basketball team was the anomaly, game 1 Illini or game 2? #AskTCR— Wes Harris (@sirrah5) November 18, 2014
You have to go with the 114 point game, right? I view the nine point victory over Georgia Southern as more of a shaking-off-the-rust kind of deal than an actually bad game. I don't think we'll play like that the rest of the year, but if the choice is between that or a game in which your team literally scored more than twice as many points as your opponent who scored 56, you have to go with the absurd blowout being more anomalous.
Over/under for Illini basketball's NCAA seed come March: 4.5 #AskTCR Whatcha got?— Alex Quigley (@alexquigley) November 18, 2014
I really hope this doesn't make Alex feel old, but I always geek out a little bit when he submits questions to #AskTCR. As someone who happily grew up listening to Q101, I don't think I'm going to get used to someone I routinely listened to on the radio asking me questions about Illini sports. I love the internet.
I'm going to take the over here. For us to land a four seed (or higher) we need to be arguably a top 16 team (I know you all understand how math works and I'm sorry). Right now, I see the Illini finishing around 6th or 7th in the Big Ten. Let's go with 7th. That likely puts us behind six teams in the seeding right away. Then you have to account for Kentucky and Louisville. Kansas and maybe Kansas State. The ACC powers and Arizona. Gonzaga, Creighton, Wichita State, and some other small schools that I'm forgetting. I do think we make the tournament this year, but I will be absolutely shocked if we do so as a four seed. Shocked and completely thrilled to be wrong.
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