Pretty exciting last week for us all. We found out what bowl game we're going to and it's not in Detroit! The hardest non-conference games of the basketball season are now in the past as well. Everything is looking up.
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 #AskTCR How is Billy Gonzales having success as the o cordinator for a top 10 team after the complete failure at Illinois?— Austin McDowell (@austin_mcd97) December 6, 2014
Better talent? Personal growth? More confidence? I have no idea. It really doesn't make much sense. He's essentially in the exact same role: co-offensive coordinator in charge of the passing game. Maybe some things are just supposed to confuse the hell out of all of us.
@Champaign_Room why is no one talking about the real reason tOSU jumped TCU? http://t.co/UWlh2296jj #AskTCR— Mike Zagorski (@mzagorskijr) December 7, 2014
Because Big Government doesn't want you to know the truth.
@Champaign_Room Why cant anything just be easy for us? Is there going to be a blizzard the day we go to Dallas leaving us stranded? #asktcr— Jeff (@jjhparker) December 8, 2014
If you get everything you want right away, what's the point? Yeah, it would be a lot of fun if the Illini were regular contenders for national championships. But that just brings about an entirely new set of parameters to get disappointed about. When you turn into the Ohio States of the world, anything short of a championship season is a disappointment.
That doesn't sound very enjoyable. Then again, I don't let this kind of stuff upset me because it doesn't really matter in the long run. It's sports. They exist to distract us and make us happy.
An email from Joe-
Wanted to tweet this, but I suck at condensing into 140 characters (ironic for a former journalism major, right?)I'm looking to head to law school next fall, and outside of my runaway first choice of going back to the U of I, some of my other top choices are other B1G schools, notably Michigan State as a strong runner-up (hard to look past potential scholarships). Acceptable, or should I hang my head in eternal shame for even considering it?
Totally acceptable. Grad school is a whole different animal. Despite Kansas State being much better at football than Illinois, I have no attachment to their program. I'll watch it if it doesn't interfere with Illinois games, but other than that it has no draw.
And if you can get scholarships, you take them. Do whatever you can to make grad school as cheap as possible. The loans add up fast.
@Champaign_Room Do the Illini dare break out the spiffy Galloping Ghost unis for H.O.D. Bowl? #AskTCR— BigToe (@BigToe66) December 8, 2014
While I do love the Ghost uniforms and we were wearing them for the best win of the season, I don't think the athletic department wants to wear uniforms that don't scream of Illinois while playing in a random nationally televised bowl game. Louisiana Tech wears red, white, and blue so I would like to see us in orange.
@Champaign_Room Does Rice go in an NBA draft down the road (how high)? Do other players on this squad show promise of NBA potential? #AskTCR— Tim Cermak (@toweringCU) December 8, 2014
If his play remains strong throughout the season and we don't see another injury-induced collapse once conference play begins, I could see him going in the mid-to-late second round. Nnanna Egwu will get invited to play for a summer league team and might spend a little time bouncing around in the D-League and maybe some time as a bench player. Leron Black has the physical gifts to become an NBA player one day, but he'll need to develop quite a bit before then.
An email from WilliamsForThreeeeeee-
You can go back into time and "become" an athlete for one critical moment. Whatever unfolds after that will change accordingly (you know, the "butterfly effect"). The one rule is that you cannot just physically make something happen "magically" (I know, now I set limitations on how magic is being used). For instance, you could not become Luther Head in the 2005 Championship game and say you would just make the critical 3-pointer that he missed but you could become Moises Alou and decide not to jump into the stands near Steve Bartman. Or you could become Nick Anderson in 1989 and actually box out Sean Higgins. Damn you, Sean Higgins...Who do you become and what do you do differently in that moment on that field/court/pitch/golf course/(racetrack)?
Oh this is easy. Your examples all seem to be based on me becoming the athlete and stopping myself/themselves from screwing up/missing the big shot. You know what seems a lot easier? Quantum leaping into someone you want to lose? That's the ticket.
I become Sean May and I miss so many shots. Just ... all of the danged shots. Again and again and again. And then I start fouling people and "accidentally" boxing out all of my teammates. "Oh, you wanted to get that rebound Jawad Williams? Whoopsiedunkles! I accidentally tipped it to Roger Powell!" North Carolina winds up losing a dominant player, the game, and then are investigated for throwing the game.
I'm a bad person.
@Champaign_Room Which is less palatable to you: a 4 year, $40+ mil contract for a relief pitcher or four more years of Tim Beckman? #AskTCR— Harry Kroll (@Harry_Kroll) December 9, 2014
That depends on the reliever. When you have someone like David Robertson, the inspiration for this question, the odds are better that you won't hate everything in the world by the end of the contract. In general, that is far too big a contract for a reliever but if you have the money, whatever. This offseason has shown that we might be in for a brave new world of massive player contracts in baseball. Everyone is rich. Give it to the players.
Four more years of Becks, huh? Honestly, my answer hinges on what happens next year. If the team continues to improve then maybe we were/are all wrong about him. The early years were rough, but maybe with a good defensive coordinator things could actually improve, at least to the extent that he would leave the program in great shape for his eventual replacement. But for your question and assuming the contract to be Robertson's, I'm going with four years of Beckman being less palatable.
An email from Brandon-
If you were to name a dog after an Illini sportsman, what would it be and why?-Zuppke-Butkus-Red-Other
One of my favorite aspects of shelter medicine is getting to name stray animals whatever I want. Fun fact: giving them complete human names (both first and last) makes people come in to see animals they weren't considering. It's how I got Abraham Lincoln (a fat beagle) and Michael Jordan (an older male cat) adopted. Bryce would tell you Red Grange is the best name. I think it depends on the dog. Do you have a bulldog? Then Butkus is best. Something quick and energetic? Grange is then very fitting. Tiny loud dog full of heart? Sounds like a Dee Brown to me.
@Champaign_Room #AskTCR Which is more likely: a 2015 Sweet Sixteen appearance or Beckman making it to year 5?— Rob Sefer (@rsefer) December 9, 2014
When I look at next year's football schedule, I can see seven wins. Do you see Mike Thomas firing Beckman after another year of improvement and another bowl game. I do think this year's basketball team is capable of a Sweet Sixteen run, but so much of that comes down to who you draw in the tournament. If we win the bowl game this year, I say Beckman. If we don't, even money.
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