Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Pre-Season Illini Hype - How Far Will We Go?

I mean really, as we head into Fall in Champaign - Urbana where are my expectations? After all, for die-hard Illini fans this has historically been known as the 'filler' season between summer and basketball.

And then there was the ruling this week by the NCAA on hostile and abusive names. Long - live the NCAA and their rules committees. Even the native-americans are pissed off at this decision. They claim it's another case of the white-man telling the red-man what to do and what to think. At least Florida State has it right by taking the NCAA to court. Come - on! Even Governor Jeb Bush (George's little brother) had something to say about this one, "I think it's offensive to native Americans ... the Seminole Indian tribe who support the traditions of FSU," Bush said on his way into a Cabinet meeting. "I think they insult those people by telling them, 'No, no, you're not smart enough to understand this. You should be feeling really horrible about this.' It's ridiculous".

That put aside for now (sure to come back here later), ILLINOIS can expect some good things in 2005. We will win more than 3 games this year. Book - it!

Zook's offensive philosophy is to spread things out quite a bit. We have two of the best running backs in the BIG 10 in Thomas and Halsey. Getting them as many touches as possible is going to be key especially early in the season.

Our defensive secondary will also have to step - up and provide early season leaderhip on that side of the ball. We return a wealth of talent at all 4 positions. Not to mention three of the first four games are at Memorial Stadium. We also don't play Michigan or Minnesota this year and that should help some too.

The first real big test is against Michigan State at home in late September. Zook has the Illini Nation talking the 'B' word for the first time in a few years - yes BOWL GAME! Can you say 6 wins? I can....but going 6 and 5 this year is going to be tough. Nonetheless, count on at least one major upset by this young and motivated bunch. Oskee - WA WA! Hail to the Chief!

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