Saturday, October 23, 2010

Efficient & Stout in Victory on Homecoming ...

Just what the doctor ordered on our 100th homecoming at the University of Illinois. 43-13, Illinois over Indiana. Chief is now 4-3 on the not so young season (2-2 in the BIG-10).

And it was the defense who led the way, with two pick 6's totalling 134 yards of coverage in return. Wow! We held Chappel to only 279 yards on 26/48 passing with 3 INTS and only 1TD. Wow! Ben usually throws for 10 million yards / game (actually 310 / game). The guy never gets sacked either. We put the big fella on his tush side a few times in this one.

As for the offense, Nathan was efficient throwing for 123 yards on just 13/21 passing with 2 TDs and no INTS. Wow! Mikel toted the rock for 77 more yards on just 16 carries. We get Purdue at home next Saturday with a chance to get to three conference wins on the young season.

On a personal note, Zook is saving his job each and every week we take the field. Sure, we're not done rebuilding the program. And no, we're not satsified losing big games. But given where we've been, what we've endured, and where we are today, the Chief is on the comeback trail. I like what I'm seeing on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense this year. We're efficient, opportunistic, and grateful to take advantage of what we're given. These are signs of a mature squad.

As I parouse the remaining five games on the schedule, we should be in position to compete for victories in all of them. I'm not saying we'll finish the season at 9-3, but 8-4 or 7-5 is very realistic this year as long as we keep improving each week.

Finally, a few comments on the state of the game. There is none better. Every week is a playoff weekend. Every play matters. Just ask Alabama, Ohio State, and now Oklahoma. Beware the curse of a #1 ranking these days. I can't recall a time when there's been this much parity in CFB. Florida, Texsas, LSU, Ohio State, and USC are all down a bit from their glory days and national titles. And say what you want about the post-season, the bowl system, the BCS, and your mother-in-law. When it comes to the regular season, there is none better.

My new TOP-10:
1) Oregon - offensively, it just doesn't get any better than this.
2) Auburn - Cam Newton is the Heisman frontrunner. Can't wait for the Iron Bowl.
3) Boise State - great team. Soft schedule. They don't own their own destiny.
4) TCU - see #3 above. This team is physical, gritty, and never quits.
5) Michigan State - Sparty is for real this year. They go to Iowa City next.
6) Alabama - Waxed Tennessee. And not out of the title game race, yet.
7) Wisconsin - Name two better wins? Beat #1 Ohio State and beat #15 Iowa at home.
8) Missouri - Beat BCS #1 this week. No longer a fluke. This team is legit.
9) Ohio State - Lingering inside the top-10. But not the same Buckeyes we know.
10) Nebraska - good bounceback win on the road. Host Mizzou next.

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