SOC – Ohio State November 2, 2012
I’m resigned to wanting a Minnesota finish. Is that so bad?
Yes it is. Here’s what I mean. Minnesota fired Tim Brewster and hired Jerry Kill. They looked OK in their opener with USC last year, but then they were awful. Home loss to New Mexico State. Home loss to FCS North Dakota State. Open Big Ten play with a 58-0 loss at Michigan (sound familiar?). Lose to Purdue by 28. Lost to Nebraska by 27. They looked like one of the worst Big Ten teams on record at that point (sound familiar?)
But then, late in the season, they shocked Iowa at home 22-21. And they hung with eventual Legends champ Michigan State on the road, losing by seven. And then in their last game, they kind of totally destroyed us at home. So no, they weren’t one of the worst Big Ten teams in history. And I don’t want to be either.
That’s kind of what Illini fans need at this point. Something that tells us we’re not headed for another 2-30 four year run (lose our next four and we’re halfway there – seriously). Tim Beckman and his coaching staff need to show that their teams will get better as the season goes on. They need to show what Jerry Kill showed late last season – that even with a 3-9 record, there’s a little hope that things can start to turn around.
November is that kind of month around college football. I have no stats, but it feels like 60% of the head-scratcher upsets happen in November. Remember 2007? Ohio State has a shot at the national title… and then they lose to us. Oregon has a chance to play for the title… and then they lose to Arizona. Which means Oklahoma can move up to… they lose to Texas Tech. Which means West Virginia has it locked up if they can beat Pitt… and they lose. Which means Missouri can actually play for the national title… and they lose to Oklahoma.
But it’s not just that. Head scratchers just seem to always happen in November. And we never get to play. That 2007 upset at Ohio State was our last head-scratcher win. Seriously. In the five years that followed, the only Illini win that made people scratch their heads and say “really? Illinois?” was… maybe Penn State 2010? But they were bad that year. Maybe Baylor? Nah – nobody knew how good RGIII was back then. Yeah, in nearly five seasons, if we’re supposed to lose to a superior opponent, we do.
This won’t be the head scratcher, by the way. That’s not where I’m going with this. This is a loss. But I’m looking ahead to our three games after that. Is it too much to ask us to kill this losing streak and win one of them? How about two? Is that too much to ask?
I’m just longing to see some fight, that’s all. I want to see us punch. I feel like I’ve been watching a boxing match, and we’re in between round eight and round nine right now, and our boxer has pretty much just been standing there protecting his face the first eight rounds. And when he gets cornered, he latches on for a hug until the ref breaks them up.
So now you already know the fight is over. Our guy has already lost too many rounds to win the fight. And we know he doesn’t have it in him for a knockout. But it is too much to ask that he come out in Round Nine and start swinging? You know, to the point where maybe the crowd gets into it a little bit and the opponent is stunned for a few seconds?
And so you still lose the round, but you come out stronger in Round Ten and actually win a round? And even though you’re losing the fight, you still feel pretty good about your future in boxing? Could we maybe possibly kind of do that the next four weeks please?
I just want to see some fight. That’s all I want. Fight. Even though we’re losing this round, please throw some punches. Maybe we can learn something we can use in the next round.
Ohio State 37, Illinois 10