This week we received three questions on Twitter that DID NOT USE THE HASH TAG. Since I am (when I feel like being so) a man of principle, I will not answer these questions. I'm sorry to the two users who aren't Hawkize, but if I answer your question when you didn't ask it properly, you'll never learn. And since we're a college sports site, learning is one of the pillars we built this grand house with. Better luck next week.
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.
If the season ended right now, the Cubs would have the 4th pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Other than the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Rangers (who should snag the 1st and 2nd picks in whatever order), the rest of the bottom is very muddled. There are six teams within that ugly 47-51 win range that the Cubs are sitting in, so it's hard to say where they end up in that grouping. I'll be fairly surprised if they play well enough from here out to slide out of the top 10. I wouldn't be shocked to see them in the top 5 or just outside it though.
But here's the thing: it won't be because of Javier Baez. No one can doubt his power. It's also nice that his BB% creeped up closer to 10% (it's been about 7.8%) over the past two seasons. But the red flags terrify me. Yes, he's very young for AAA, but striking out in 30% of his PA is incredibly alarming. As is the fact that despite hitting 23 homeruns, he only managed a .323 OBP in the notoriously hitter friendly PCL. League average for OBP this year in the PCL is .342. Major league pitchers will stop giving him strikes to hit unless he proves he can resist swinging at balls. If he can develop some actual plate discipline, he could be great. That won't be this season though.
Is Ron Zook acting now? I thought he was working for the Green Bay Packers. A quick Google search only gave results of his daughter being an actress, so I'm going to have to go with a 1% chance for the Zooker. You can never give him a 0% chance in anything because he's Ron Zook and he's done stranger things. It's just pretty unlikely.
I believe so. No Illini blogger I've seen has said that he'd get fired with six wins because none of us are that crazy. No non-blue blood school should fire a coach who gets his team back to .500 after two losing seasons because what new coach would want to move there after that? So it's kind of universally acknowledged that if the Illini reach bowl eligibility, Tim Beckman returns in 2015.
But I also think most of us believe that a five win season with noticeable improvement and close losses could earn him another year as well. Recruiting is trending up and for the first time in what feels like a decade, we actually retained an offensive coordinator. A good 5-7 season is enough for me at least.
An email from Scott-
If you were a Vegas casino where would you set the over/under line on total number of touchdowns scored by Illinois this season?Also, if you were a Vegas casino what would you be called, what design theme would you have, and which current entertainment star would be your first choice to have a residing show at you.
The Illini offense and special teams combined to score 43 TDs last year. We're projected to be better on offense, but how much better to make this a bet that my casino could still come out ahead? The general populous seems less optimistic about our offensive improvement, so I could probably get away with an O/U of 53.5 and make good money.
Confession (I guess?) time: I've never been in a casino. Gambling has never really been my thing. I generally turn down invites to poker nights or trips out to the lovely Missouri riverboats and whathaveyou because it just doesn't appeal to me. I feel like most of the good themes are already taken by casinos in Vegas. Rome? Gone. Medieval shit? Snatched. So in this age of meta-commentary and winking at the audience, I say fuck it. Let's name the casino "Omerta". It fits with Vegas' history and the city motto. My staff will be dressed like mobsters and molls. It'll be real old-timey, except for my performer.
I'm getting Pitbull. Mr. Worldwide gets it. And let's be honest, no matter how much the ever-snarky Twittersphere gets, the general populace cannot get enough of the man. He's everywhere. So since I ideally want my casino to succeed, I want him screaming "Dale!" in my building as much as humanly possible.
This all depends on where you're doing your drinking. If you're tailgating or at a dive bar, sure. I'm never going to shit on Busch Light. Buying it means you have no illusions of grandeur. You want a beer that you can drink a lot of that doesn't cost very much. And that's just fine. My tailgating beer of choice is Hamm's for similar reasons (and a vital streak of self-loathing).
If you're at some place with a good beer menu and have the funds, branch out. Experiment. And then when the Illini pull off an upset, you drink that same beer every game forever. I don't care if you go broke. Don't fuck this up for the rest of us, Matt.
If you're at home? Drink whatever the hell you want! You're at home! You know whose opinion matters the most there? Well guess what, it's yours. I'll probably be drinking my homebrew during the games (provided I don't have a patient to check in on that week) because I have tons of it and I enjoy the taste. As long as you don't have to drive anywhere after the game, drink however much you want of your favorite adult beverages.
Unless it's Miller Lite. That stuff is gross.
I'm going to assume these 100 men are completely average in every way. Also going to assume they know that it's either them or the lion. There is no escape. There is no safety. This is nature at its most primal and brutal. I do think the men would eventually win out. It's no easy thing killing 100 living creatures that aren't complete ants in comparison to you. The lion easily has every advantage other than the fact that it's fighting a swarm of other predators armed with the knowledge they only can live if he dies. No fewer than sixty are going to die. Around that point, the lion will be slowing down considerably. Somewhere around the 70th death, the humans may have done enough damage. By 80, they should be able to land a death blow. Those 20 or so survivors will then never speak of the horror again.
It has to be Aaron Bailey. He's a far more versatile weapon, which should allow him to see more playing time than O'Toole. He also still has three years left to play, making him more important to the future of the program.
I don't think we get both Thomas and Bragg. If we get one, I think it will be Thomas though. And let's say late September/early October.
Yes. They're another year older with another year of experience and another winter sitting around with nothing else to do. The "they're all really young and forced to play before being ready" reasoning no longer applies. Do I think the defense will make the same massive jump that the offense did last year? No, because I'm not insane. But I do think they'll improve somewhere into the 70s as opposed to the 100s and that should be good enough to keep the team competitive.
I don't think this recruiting cycle has been luck-based at all. It's almost entirely built out of offensive players and we're coming off a year that showed what Bill Cubit can do with any weapon you can give him. If you'll allow me to get real nerdy, Cubit is essentially Arsenal from DC Comics. He can make anything you give him dangerous. These high schoolers can see that. Add in the fact that Dre Brown seems to be recruiting just as hard as the coaches and that his enthusiasm appears to have rubbed off on the others and it all makes sense to me.