Penn State (7-2) dominated Illinois (4-4) in every facet of the game during their 39-0 victory on Saturday. That is literally all you need to know. If you want a more detailed explanation, here's a cool video that I found on Twitter dot com:
Now here are some things we learned today:
1. Not-so-Happy Valley
2. Illinois' defense can't keep up
And who can blame them? It's nearly impossible when you have an offense that can't stay on the field.
It's unfortunate, too, because the Illini have some nice pieces on this side of the ball. Christian Hackenberg was playing like a future first-round pick today, but the secondary performed somewhat admirably and at least give their offensive counterparts a chance to stay in the game. The defensive line didn't have their best game, either, and they still managed to put the quarterback under pressure quite a bit.
3. Illinois needs to hire a new coach this offseason
Illinois' early season performance with Bill Cubit at the helm was a nice story -- it was. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it'd be to fight through a coaching change one week before a season starts. But fast forward a few months and the reality is that Illinois is a missed Middle Tennessee field goal and a stunning mental gaffe by Mike Riley away from being 2-6.
Believe it or not, Illinois has some talent on this roster. It just doesn't look like it because this team gets woefully out-coached against quality opponents. First halves of games haven't been too bad this season, but halftime adjustments have been non-existent. Plus, road games are still automatic blowout losses and we've seen nothing to suggest that the Purdue game will be any different.
So, no, Bill Cubit should not return as the head coach next season.
The problem is, it's already shaping up to be a bad year for a mediocre program to hire a coach. The pickings will be slim with USC, Miami (FL), South Carolina, Minnesota, and Maryland already scanning the market. That shouldn't be an excuse, though. Mike Thomas -- or whoever the hell Illinois' athletic director may be this offseason -- needs to identify a candidate that can build this program back to being at least somewhat respectable. Is that really too much to ask for?
TL;DR - Bill Cubit is not the answer. Please hire a new coach soon, Illinois.