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Takeaways: Illinois vs. Iowa

The gap between the Illini and their rivals continues to widen

NCAA Football: Iowa at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The Illini hit a new low on Saturday as Iowa handed them their worst loss in school history.

With this type of loss at this point in Lovie’s tenure, the focus should be on the meta narratives at the expense of the details of the game. So, here are two meta narratives coming out of Saturday’s loss to Iowa.

The Illini are a long way from being competitive in a mediocre Big Ten West

NCAA Football: Illinois at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin is only 7-4 this season, yet they were 29 points better than the Illini. Purdue is a mere 5-6 but had no problem in a 46-7 laugher over the Illini. Nebraska is 4-7 and still dispatched of the Illini without much of a struggle.

Then, Iowa came in to Champaign at 6-4 with a 3-4 record In Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes barely broke a sweat as they handed the Illini a 63-0 loss — tied for the worst in school history.

Bottom line, the Illini are nearing the end of Lovie’s third year, yet still look horrifically outmatched week in and out against competition that ranges from mediocre to pretty good.

The on field results have been worse under Lovie than they were under Tim Beckman

NCAA Football: Iowa at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

There is no way to sugar coat what happened on Saturday. Yes, the Illini were missing their top playmaker with Reggie Corbin out, but a nine-touchdown loss to an average Iowa team is completely inexcusable. It’s time for Josh Whitman — and the top decision makers surrounding Illini Athletics — to look at the Lovie era in the aggregate and asses the trend.

No longer is the question about whether the program can rise under Lovie.

Whitman has to figure out if Illini Football is actually getting worse under Lovie.

Prior to the Iowa game, suggesting that Lovie was going to be worse for Illini football than Tim Beckman would have been heresy. Now, it is time to look at the reality that the football program is currently in worse shape than when Lovie took over — much worse shape. Yes, Lovie is far and away more articulate and presentable than Beckman. Lovie is also not going to embarrass Illinois the way Beckman did every time the latter opened his mouth, but the results on the field speak loudly as well.

So the big takeaway coming out of Iowa is the following: The longer Lovie has had to put his imprint on Illini football, the worse the on-the-field results have gotten.

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