Now that classes have resumed in full swing for me, I no longer have the luxury of sitting around on Wednesday mornings, writing responses to all your questions. No siree (or madamee as the case may apply), that's a Tuesday night job nowadays. Such is the struggle for your beloved writer. But I carry on, all for you dear readers. Even through the slumps.
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 (currently a sizable if) we make the tournament in March, there's a good chance one of our players gets picked for that massive Where's Waldoian cover collage they use. But that feels like cheating and they'd probably go with John Groce's shiny dome anyways. We don't have a five-star basketball recruit lined up nor are we the dominant team in the Midwest so I don't think it will be a basketball player, at least not one that is currently on the roster or verbally committed.
Which really only leaves me the football team and yeah ... that's probably not going to happen either. Best chance would be if Mike Dudek stays for four years and manages to keep improving. I don't know that he'd get a solo cover, but an undersized and unheralded tiny white wide receiver lighting up college football? That's the kind of story SI seems to love.
Did he catch the ball? Yeah, he caught it. Did he make a catch using the NFL's nutty definition of a catch via the Calvin Johnson Rule? Nope. It's dumber than hell but it's technically right. Doesn't make it suck any less though.
All signs point to yes, sadly. Football Outsiders released their final F/+ rankings for this football season and the good news is that the defense finished twelve spots higher than they did last year. So hey, improvement!
The bad news is those twelve small steps still only amount to one giant disappointment, as they still ranked 88th in the nation. That's one behind Kent State and three ahead of California. If they jump up another twelve spots next year, they'll still be a below average defense. It was put up or shut up time two years ago, yet we're still hearing the same argument.
You shipping me some frozen deep dish? I'll take mine with pepperoni and onions in that case.
An email from Shane-
Ohio St. can say whatever they want about their "issue" with quarterbacks but at least one has to transfer, right? How do you see that situation resolving?Help settle an argument. Who was more annoying when playing a video game: Slippy in Star Fox or the random Pokemon Trainers you would encounter throughout the game?
If Cardale Jones actually sticks with his decision to not bolt for the NFL, then the Buckeyes seem to have what Marlo Stanfield would call a good problem. If that happens, Braxton Miller has to transfer right? Which is just insane to think about, but it makes the most sense. Losing your place to injury is the worst, but that's pretty much what happened. How do you take the starting job away from Jones after last night? My guess is Miller suits up elsewhere next fall.
Slippy. The random trainers you'd encounter in the wild while questing to get those eight badges and 150 Pokemon (I don't count Mew) at least helped you out by giving your Pokemon experience and you limitless wealth. Slippy exists to get in trouble and make you wish you could kill a sentient talking frog more than you ever thought possible. Slippy is on Navi's level of annoying.
PS4 or Xbox One? #AskTCR— Jordan Barr (@jayBarr21) January 12, 2015
I currently have neither and don't know if that's going to change any time soon. Clinical rotations start in May and I don't know that throwing a new system in the mix seems like the greatest idea. Would probably go with an Xbox One though. I still use my 360 fairly regularly and would like to stick with consistency.
Athletes usually seem to come back from injuries a bit before the maximum time they were supposed to miss, so I don't feel out of line expecting Rayvonte to pull that off. Five weeks gives us a return game on 2/12 at home against the Michigan Wolverines. I'd guess either then or that Sunday's game at Wisconsin.
Living in Kansas makes it far too difficult to have little more than a casual interest sadly. I enjoy watching the Hawks when I can and do frequently play NHL '94 while pregaming, but it's pretty damn rare that a game winds up on TV out here before the playoffs. You know who is a massive Blackhawks fan on this board though? Brandon Cain.
Is Groce the basketball version of Ron Zook? Good at recruiting but bad at coaching? #AskTCR— Matt Griswold (@Matt_Griswold) January 13, 2015
I'd be remiss if I didn't link to James' post on this very topic that happened to be the last Champaign Room post of 2014.
There are a couple reasons Groce has generally gotten off lighter than Beckman. The fanbase was so damn over Bruce Weber that his replacement was all but guaranteed to be beloved instantly simply for not being Bruce Weber. While most fans had tired of Zook by the end of his run, it just wasn't the same amount of ragehatevitriol. Then there's how each of their first years went. Groce got the team back in the tournament, reopened pipelines to Chicago, and won every press conference. Becks had the Penn State incident, the tobacco incident, tripping the refs, sounding like a yokel/rube, etc. First impressions are huge and Groce had a much better one than Becks. Every coach ultimately has a length of rope hanging around their neck by the end of their first season. John Groce earned more rope.
I'm not ready to call him a basketball Zook, even with how disappointing this season has been. Losing both of your starting guards will knock almost any program right on its own ass. Adjustments have to be made. We'll see what happens.
I don't know that it will actually help things, but it sure as hell won't hurt them. Illinois wasn't going to win very many head-to-head recruiting matchups with the Buckeyes anyways, so it's not like Monday night's game was going to be the thing that swayed a potential recruit over to Columbus. But this does at least make the Big Ten more appealing, so maybe it helps. I don't know what the mind of a 17-year-old football star is like at all.
The eruption on Twitter from every corner of the conference at the end of the championship game was a result of hearing how crappy the Big Ten is for a decade. Catharsis is a powerful thing. Is it silly to take pride in a conference mate winning it all during a season we went 6-7? Of course it is. Everything about sports is ultimately silly and pointless and that's the entire point of the exercise. You do you, Bob. You do you.
I imagine it's what being a former President feels like. You once had it all and now you're just a regular schnook, putting ketchup on egg noodles.