UConn won the National Championship in hooptieball season Monday night which can only mean one thing: SPRING FOOTBALL IS UPON US! In case you were unawares, the spring game is this Saturday and if you have the chance to attend, you should. Is it a real game? Nope. It's weird and there's a draft and nothing really matters or counts. But it's your first chance to see Wes Lunt in the proper shade of orange and that's pretty magical.
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 why doesn’t Illinois claim the 1915 Helms national championship in basketball? We claim the football championships.— Alex Ford (@alexlford) April 2, 2014
It is a bit odd. Part of me wants to say it's because that's a silly decade to declare being the national champion in, but two of our claimed football championships (1914 and 1919) are from it, so who knows! At least with football there was a precedent in which the national champion was just decided by governing bodies until recent times (and even then somewhat). With the tournament having existed since 1939, that at least gives a pretty solid date to say "Hey, maybe let's just ignore the years before this." Is it clean? Nope. But neither is hanging your hat on a 16-0 season from before America joined WWI.
@Champaign_Room what is the best type of specialty pizza there is? #asktcr— Ben Dodds (@bcdodds14) April 7, 2014
I'm going to give two answers here because it's my mailbag and I get to do things howsoever I choose. My first answer is one I know you can get anywhere and they won't mess it up. And that would be buffalo chicken pizza. Because buffalo chicken is amazing and pizza is amazing and the two of them together make you feel less bad about eating both foods that are rapidly killing you.
But one I've recently fallen in love with is something I discovered at a local pizza place out here in Manhattan, KS: jalapeno popper pizza. Everything about it is amazing. Cream cheese is spread on the dough beneath a layer of blended mozzarella and cheddar and then topped off with jalapenos. I wind up eating far too much of it every time and having zero regrets.
An email from Shane-
What are some of the best non-traditional but realistic dates you could a significant other on?If you could take any video game from the past and remake it with today's graphics what would it be?and for those more socially inclined
I'm assuming this first part was inspired by today's release of RBI Baseball 14, which I am very tempted to purchase. I'd probably have to go with Tecmo Bowl, but I'd want the original rosters. If I can't play as Bo Jackson or Walter Payton, I don't even see the point in the exercise. I still play old NES games that aren't sports games, but a great deal of the charm in those old games is the graphics. Would I love River City Ransom (my favorite game ever, still to this day) nearly as much if it didn't look and act so goofy? I doubt it. So I don't want that magic ruined. Sports games though? I can live with that.
As for your second question, it all depends on the girl (or guy) you're taking out. Unless you know the person really well, first dates can be pretty awkward, which is why the traditional cup of coffee/dinner and a movie/meet up for a drink kind of date is so trustworthy. Because it's a lot easier to bank on knowing that the girl whose number you put in your phone last Friday at Firehaus likes to eat than that you might remember her hobbies and interests. But if you do remember or know those things, do one of them. Or take them somewhere you know they want to go. It all depends on the person, which is why I don't want to give a specific answer.
@Champaign_Room Who has the all time greatest nickname in #illini sports history? #AskTCR— Anthony Borkowski (@AJB_29) April 7, 2014
Sometimes the obvious answer is the obvious answer because it's just the best choice without any doubt. This is one of those times. The Galloping Ghost is easily the best nickname in Illini sports history. It's memorable, it's alliterative, it describes the player accurately, and most of all it's just really damn cool. It makes me think of a dullahan, which is one of the coolest things you could ever hope to have a nickname invoke. I'd be pretty happy if a current player wound up earning an even better one.
@Champaign_Room When is Tom coming back? Will he return on a white stallion and lead us to a bowl game this year? #AskTCR— Nick Robinson (@IlliNick_17) April 8, 2014
A handful of people apparently did not enjoy me defending John Calipari before the big game on Monday. Nick, you might want to sit down for this. I don't think Tom is ever coming back. That's not to say he won't comment (as he still does) or that if he ever wanted to write an article or two here again we'd tell him to bugger off (we wouldn't). But Tom seems pretty happy running his new site, the Chicago Homer, and I don't see that changing any time soon. If you ever miss his writing, just click on that link and it'll be like he never left.
@Champaign_Room would you say @SBN_UGod is ruining TCR more or less rapidly than @TomFornelli ruined TCR in his run? #AskTCR— Gustavo Adventure (@colintj) April 8, 2014
An email from Scott-
Who do I speak to to request that losing Ryan Boatright to UConn be added to the official list of semi-reasonable/unreasonable Bruce Weber grievances? Is there a committee that decides new additions or do we just handle it Wiki-style and I add it myself?
This seems like a fine enough place for that. Thing is, I don't know how mad we can get at Bruce for that one. Would it be pretty nice to have a PG like Boatright on the roster right now? Yeah. But go take a glance at his offer list on Rivals right now. UConn, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and UNLV. That's a pretty weird offer list. Throw in the fact that he was suspended immediately for "receiving improper benefits" and I'm not so sure Bruce ever had a chance.
And on that note, we're about to enter our final year of being able to complain about/blame things on Bruce Weber. The roster will now be majority John Groce players and the team looks to be in good shape for his third season. Bruce can't hurt us any more. It's time to bury that horse.
@Champaign_Room #AskTCR GO TO SPRING GAME— Nick Robinson (@IlliNick_17) April 8, 2014
That's not really much of a question, but thank you for using the hashtag. Nick, I would love to go to the spring game and look forward to you reimbursing my gas costs and allowing me to sleep on your couch. We'll swap Birkhead stories all night long.
@Champaign_Room worst case scenario for the Nike redesign? #askTCR— chris davies (@chris_d_davies) April 8, 2014
Jack did a pretty good job talking about the impending redesign, but it's a fun topic. In my opinion, the worst case scenario is making something that's both boring and ugly, so something like the bizarre Wisconsin Adidas abominations.
We have the benefit of not having any real tradition with our uniforms, so there isn't really anything to upset there. So the worst they could do is something like that periodic table jersey right above this paragraph. It's ugly and it's bland. I want something orange and wonderful that makes recruits fall in love.
What's your favorite building at U of I? #AskTCR— Tony Gallo (@firet92) April 8, 2014
ARC. I worked there and loved almost every minute of it. That gym is so damn beautiful and massive and you really do not appreciate it enough while you're there. Seriously, the facilities are amazing and it's clean and so pretty from the outside. I'm also a huge fan of Grainger Library and the ACES Library because they're both very well designed and were wonderful places to study. The Animal Sciences Lab was a lot of fun too because there were/are animals hidden in the basement and the general populace has no idea!
@Champaign_Room #asktcr What is Terry 'Black Cat' Hawthorne up to? Last I can find is when he was cut in August last year— Don Smith (@DCSThree) April 8, 2014
Since being cut by the Steelers, there hasn't been much news out there about Terry Hawthorne, which feels kind of odd. Yeah, he was a late round pick, but you'd think another team would at least give him a shot as a special teams player, it just didn't happen. The good news is that he appears to be quite active on Twitter and hasn't given up on the dream quite yet. He also appears to either be living with or very close to former teammate Mikel LeShoure.
@Champaign_Room I feel like our team next year is every bit as talented as the UCONN team that just won it all..agree or disagree? #askTCR— Luke Wiley (@ILLINIwiley) April 8, 2014
I'm not entirely sure if you're joking or not, but I have to go with disagree. I like next season's basketball squad, but there is no Shabazz Napier in that lineup. Just not yet.
@Champaign_Room If you were a billionaire with your own megastadium, who do you bring to your luxury box during the Final Four? #AskTCR— Joel Campbell (@jcampbe17) April 8, 2014
How did I make these billions? Are my gains ill-gotten? Did I cure cat AIDS? Because that is my plan to pay off all this loan debt. Gonna cure cat AIDS and then they'll use my work to cure people AIDS and I'll never need to work again and soooooooooo many lives will be improved.
But I guess that's not the point of the question. I'm assuming this box is just obnoxiously large and is going to fit so many people in it. Obvious (and boring) answers: family and friends. The Cheat from South Side Sox gets to come for starting my writing career. Tom and the rest of the Champaign Room family (including erstwhile uncle Will Leitch). Spencer Hall and Jon Bois because it would be like living with the internet. Chris Sale was pretty fun to talk to, but he'd probably be busy playing baseball. I don't know if I have enough in common with famous people to feel comfortable asking them to come hangout with me that long. I would run out of things to say so quickly and then I'd just awkwardly be staring at them and no one wants that.
@Champaign_Room will Darius gaining 29lbs be next year's "Tisdale eating 10,000 calories a day" & "Ray lost 30lbs" to tv announcers? #AskTCR— Ben Dodds (@bcdodds14) April 8, 2014
It's definitely the current favorite. Transfer student who should play a big role+brother of former Illini great+massive body shape change=story we will never stop hearing about.
@Champaign_Room When is appropriate to start tailgating for a spring game? How early to guarantee being the first tailgater? #AskTCR— Mike Zagorski (@mzagorskijr) April 8, 2014
As soon as they let you into the parking lot. So I guess the only way to guarantee you're first is to go and hold down that spot right now.
Sorry if the answers were a little shorter than usual this week. I've got a big project due tomorrow that's been a little distracting. Next week will be better.
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