Last week seems like so long ago. We were all high as hell off a flukey victory against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Now? Now we're right back where we're supposed to be after having our wings burned off by Ohio State. What a rush! I'm still working on that Big Ten football teams as houses from the A Song of Ice and Fire novels (Game of Thrones source material for those somehow not in the know) post, so maybe expect that Friday. No promises though. I'll be in and out of surgery suites all day tomorrow.
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 Should Muschamp also get fired, we don't want him either, right? Zook 2.0? #AskTCR— Bob Kibble (@BKibbs) November 2, 2014
We can just go ahead and change that "should" to "when". Beating Georgia may have turned the temperature down slightly on Will Muschamp's hot seat, but unless he manages to take down Florida State, he's getting canned. Ron Zook was fired after three years with a .622 winning percentage. This is Muschamp's 4th season and he's currently sitting at .571. Muschamp has now had multiple losing conference records. Zook had zero.
So yeah, we don't want him as our next head coach. I hesitate to call him Zook 2.0 though. Ron Zook didn't really excel at anything other than recruiting, and even then he couldn't keep those players eligible/on the team. Muschamp is a very good defensive coordinator. I expect him to catch on somewhere in that position fairly quickly after being let go. He was the next-in-line to replace Mack Brown at Texas before the Gators stole him away, so that says a lot more about his reputation in the game than I can. He was a good gamble, it just didn't work out for Florida.
@Champaign_Room Do we know what exact game will be the State Farm home opener now? #AskTCR— Mike O'Connor (@mmoaks14) November 3, 2014
We do! It will be this Friday's game against Quincy. The whole five games in Springfield thing doesn't happen until next season.
@Champaign_Room #AskTCR should wearing a visor be grounds for disqualification in next football coaching hire?— Charlie J. Johnson (@Charliemagne) November 4, 2014
First off, fantastic Twitter handle. Back to the question though. While we've been burned by visor-wearing head coaches recently, that alone is not enough to scare me away from them as a grouping. Gary Patterson, Steve Sarkisian, and Steve Spurrier all seem to enjoy wearing them and they've had pretty good careers.
An email from Scott-
Any thoughts on the new Taylor Swift album?
Nope. I get her appeal. She's pretty and she's a talented musician. She's just not my cup of tea. Most Top 40 musicians aren't. I listened to a great deal of WPGU 107.1 while I lived in Champaign and I do the same with K-State's radio station now that I live out here. The picture of her with the Knicks players did make me laugh though. If the rest of the album is like the song "Shake It Off", I'm okay with not listening to it.
@Champaign_Room #AskTCR what do you think can be done to try and keep basketball schedules in balance with 14 teams in big ten?— Dave Simon (@nyillini311) November 4, 2014
There really isn't anything that can be done about it if you stick with an 18 game conference schedule. It just doesn't work. I guess you could use the football divisions and try and play each team in your division twice, but then you still don't play one conference opponent. It's a bit of a Gordian knot and other than blowing it all up I have no idea how to untie it.
#AskTCR: Does Beckman's job hinge on winning a majority of the final 3 games? Is it as simple as: Bowl game he's saved/bust?— BOOERNS (@MichaelBerms) November 4, 2014
At this point? Pretty much. Before the season, we all agreed that 6-6 saves his job and that 5-7 with good losses probably does too. But look at the losses so far. We've lost by an average of 21.6 points. And that includes an 11 point home loss to 3-6 Purdue. A 3-6 Purdue squad that lost by 21 at home to Central Michigan. That's pretty much unacceptable. So yeah, it's basically bowl game or bust for him now.
@Champaign_Room #asktcr Is it possible to catch a cold from a dog? My dog sneezed in my face and now we both have upper respiratory issues.— Don Smith (@DCSThree) November 4, 2014
While it's very possible to catch many diseases from animals (we call these diseases "zoonotic", the common cold is not on the list. Think stuff like rabies and monkey pox. While it would be fun to blame your pooch for your current maladies, it wouldn't be accurate or fair.
@Champaign_Room What's it take for AD Thomas make @IlliniHockey a member of the Big Ten? And why no love from TCR? #AskTCR— Eric McElfresh (@EricMcElfresh1) November 4, 2014
We get asked about hockey probably more than any other non-major sport. Illinois could add hockey as a varsity sport and still be compliant with Title IX, as there are currently nine men's varsity sports and ten women's, so that's not the issue. It's the ice arena's incredibly tiny capacity. It only holds 1,200 fans. The smallest other arenas in the conference hold at least 6K. Until we have an arena that isn't 1/5 the size of the smaller arenas we'd be visiting, hockey won't be a varsity sport.
As for our site's lack of coverage for it, that kind of goes hand in hand with it. Our first year, the site was me and Tom. I live in Kansas, Tom lives in Chicago. That makes covering the non-televised sports a lot harder than it's honestly worth. The next year we had added Jack (who had graduated and moved away) and Brandon, who then resigned. We were still left without someone on campus. Nowadays we are filled to the brim with young bloods still on campus and if one of them wants to pick up the hockey beat, I'd be all for it.
@Champaign_Room Which real-life movie roles would you give to Beckman, Thomas, Groce, Banks, and Cubit? #AskTCR— Jim Vainisi (@JVainisi005) November 4, 2014
I'm going to have to answer this one in the comments because I'm not entirely sure what Jim means. Am I putting them in non-fiction movies or just in movies overall? Am I assigning actors to be them? Let me know and I will get to it.
@Champaign_Room I have conflicted feelings about the Iowa-NW game. I despise NW with every fiber of my being and I grew up hating Iowa. 1/2— Mike Zagorski (@mzagorskijr) November 4, 2014
@Champaign_Room 2/2 The lack of playing Iowa had dulled my hatred. Help me hate them both equally #AskTCR— Mike Zagorski (@mzagorskijr) November 4, 2014
I don't know that you should or can hate them both equally. NW is our in-state rival and there is a trophy involved. Iowa is that ugly state next door where we send the not-so-bright kids from Chicagoland. The whole not playing the Hawkeyes since 2008 thing certainly makes it a lot harder to hate them as much as you properly should. But rejoice! We're now in a division with both of them and the hate can flow freely again. The internet makes it so much easier to hate other teams because their more annoying fans will flock to your Twitter account and tell you how great they are. Never mind that their basketball team has only made the tournament three times in the past decade, never advancing past the first round. Or that despite their football team being the "vastly better program", Illinois still somehow has a winning record against them. Just point out facts and they'll get all frothy at the mouth and the hate feelings will erupt on both sides. Maybe I'll make a State of Hate post for them soon.
@Champaign_Room Now that Wes is "confirmed" to start against Iowa, how will the offense will adjust back to a "pocket presence" QB? #AskTCR— Brad Repplinger (@brepp310) November 4, 2014
It should mean that the offense goes back to being able to put up more than 300 yards of total offense per game, something it has not managed to do since Wes Lunt's leg was broken. Yes, two of those games were against the top and 8th teams in terms of fewest yards allowed per game (Wisconsin and Ohio State, respectively). But other than a hot start against Minnesota, the offense has looked completely lost. We keep hearing how much easier it is to run block than pass block, but over those three games the highest rushing yard total for a single player is 75 yards.
For whatever reason, the running game simply is not working this year. It wasn't while Lunt was healthy and it really hasn't while we've used the mobile QBs. If we're being honest, we don't really have a big play threat when Lunt isn't on the field. Mike Dudek still exists, but his deep threat abilities get negated when the man throwing to him either can't throw a ball deeper than 20 yards (Reilly O'Toole) or can't do that with any hint of accuracy (Aaron Bailey). When your only weapon is then Josh Ferguson behind an offensive line that forgot how to run block, you're screwed.
@Champaign_Room #AskTCR So one coaching candidate name that keeps surfacing is Greg Schiano. I just detest the man. What's your take?— Andy George (@MrOrangenblue) November 5, 2014
Schiano is something interesting. Prior to his tenure at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights had played in one bowl game. I will repeat that. A football team that had existed since the dawn of football time had been to one bowl game prior to the 2005 season. That's insane. They've been to eight since. They've missed a bowl game once in the past decade and are probably making one again this year. He took a nothing program in New Jersey and built it into something respectable.
And then he had that bizarre two year stretch in the NFL where he couldn't do anything right on the field, with the media, or in the locker room. But that was never an issue while he was coaching at the college level. His teams were exactly what most Illini fans are clamoring for: strong defenses with offense centered around the running game. He has strong recruiting ties with the East Coast. He's not on my short list of candidates, but I can't say I'd be upset with hiring him. Failure at the NFL level means nothing when it comes to college football.
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