What to make of Illinois Football?

Well, Illinois finished 6-6 after getting blasted by last place Northwestern 29-10. So, what to make of this season?

Objectively: ESPN power index predicted 5.75 victories (I predicted 4-5) and they got 6. And yes, this was the best team of Lovie Smith’s 4 years: 3-9 (2-7), 2-10 (0-9), 4-8 (2-7), 6-6 (4-5). But, in the years prior to Coach Smith, they were 4-8, 6-6 (6-7 with the Bowl), 5-7. So one might argue that it took 4 years to get back to what they were prior to Coach Smith’s tenure.

Illinois was 3-4 at home, 3-2 on the road (winning at Connecticut, Purdue, Michigan State). 3 wins were against dreadful teams (Connecticut, Rutgers, Akron), 2 were against so-so teams (Purdue, Michigan State) and one was against an excellent team (Wisconsin)

What surprised me looking back: I remember the Illini’s dreadful defensive performances (Nebraska: almost 700 yards and 42 points, Michigan State: 34 points, 52x yards, Northwestern 4xx yards, 29 points (high for them) and Eastern Michigan (400 plus yards, 34 points) but, overall, they gave up more than the usual number of yards 7 times, and more than the usual number of points 7 times. They were not stellar by any means, but they weren’t as horrible as I seem to remember, and certainly better than last year.

Predicted wins:


Notice how this dropped right after the Michigan blow out loss but picked right back up after the Wisconsin win.

So now we have a bowl: which one? The 3 most mentioned are the Redbox, Pinstripe and Quick Lane (Detroit). My guess is that, given that Quick Lane has the lowest priority, they will get stuck with the Illini.

Workout notes: yoga, then a 5 mile plus run of 1:04; sort of sluggish (Riverfront; same as last Thursday).

Author: oldgote

I enjoy politics, reading, science, running, walking, (racewalking and ultrawalking) hiking, swimming, yoga, weight lifting, cycling and reading. I also follow football (college and pro), basketball (men and women) and baseball (minor league and college)

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