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** 2018 Opponent Previews: Illinois (Game 10) **

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CollegeFootballNews: Will The Payoff Come?

It might not have been fun, but this is how the whole experiment was supposed to work. Sort of. The desperate hope was that Lovie Smith would come in and make Illinois a big-time player in the Big Ten right away – mainly because he’s Lovie Smith.  He was the splashy hire at a time when the program needed something to rally around, but going 5-19 in the first two years after finishing 5-7 in 2015 was tough. But it might have been necessary.

https://collegefootballnews.com/2018/04/illinois-fighting-illini-college-football-preview-2018

 

– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction

 

 

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Athlon: 2018 Illini Preview and Prediction

 

Improvement has been tough to find in Lovie Smith's two seasons at Illinois. The Fighting Illini have won just five games in that span and finished without a win in Big Ten play last year. Smith has played a ton of young players, and the hope is that the product on the field will improve as those players mature. However, marked improvement in 2018 won't be attainable without a solution at quarterback. New coordinator Rod Smith could turn to one of three incoming freshman quarterbacks or a graduate transfer to jump-start the offense. The defense also experienced its share of growing pains last year, but the return of seven starters should lead to some improvement. However, unless a quarterback emerges, Illinois is likely headed toward another last-place finish in the Big Ten West.

https://athlonsports.com/college-football/illinois-football-2018-illini-preview-and-prediction

 

 

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SBNation: Lovie Smith’s race against time

There’s an obvious shift when going from coaching college football to pro football, or vice versa. When you go from college to pro, you find that while offensive success rates are about the same — passing success rates are a little higher, rushing success rates a little lower — the big plays and turnovers dissipate as you get fewer lopsided matchups and mistakes. So the margins matter more; getting five yards instead of four can make even more of a difference than it does in college.

When you go from pro to college, you find limited practice hours force you to simplify a lot. You also find how important raw talent differences are. The talent differential between the best and worst NFL teams — the Super Bowl champion Eagles and 0-16 Browns — isn’t all that vast; in college, the talent differential between Alabama and UTEP is absurd.

Smith came to UI after 11 years as an NFL head coach. He went 89-87 there, winning double-digit games four times with the Bears and making a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games. He wasn’t the most accomplished coach, but he was above .500 in a league with the 32 most talented football teams in the world. And through two years in Champaign, he’s gone 5-19 while navigating schedules in which his team has few edges.

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2018/6/19/17440004/illinois-football-2018-preview-schedule-roster

 

 

 

More to come...

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11 hours ago, Redux said:

Without looking at their schedule at all......4-8.

 

Kinda sucks for them.  They lost a chance for 5-7 when Riley was fired.

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1 hour ago, Mavric said:

 

Kinda sucks for them.  They lost a chance for 5-7 when Riley was fired.

 

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Mandel's Mailbag


 

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Where do you see Lovie Smith taking this Illinois team? Finally excited.

Curtis T., Alton, Ill.

If Lovie were as good at coaching college kids as he is at growing a beard, the Illini would go undefeated this year.

Short of possessing magic powers, however, I see him taking this Illinois team to an exciting 4-8 season.


Which Power 5 coach will be the first to be let go this year?

Brendan F.

See above.


 

 

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On 7/25/2018 at 12:05 PM, Mavric said:

 

 

He's been named the starter

 

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QUARTERBACK SPOT

A.J. Bush will be the starting quarterback.

The fifth-year grad transfer was relatively consistent and impressive as he quickly moved past the four other scholarship QBs and took charge of the camp’s most interesting and vital position battle.

Smith wouldn’t get pinned down on his QB depth chart after the end of a scrimmage Saturday, but he all but said the 22-year-old lefthander is his man.

“He came in and has quickly taken control of the team,” the head coach said. “It seems like he has really taken over this last week.”

The best race might be to see who is No. 2 on the depth chart. Freshman M.J. Rivers had a terrific week and may have moved even with — or ahead of — sophomore Cam Thomas.

 

 

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Kinda speaks volumes about their situation.  At least there is finally a reason to slightly care about this meeting.

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2 hours ago, Redux said:

Kinda speaks volumes about their situation.  At least there is finally a reason to slightly care about this meeting.

 

 

Unless he got better.

Although, IIRC, we heard he was playing well and then when he got out on the field in front of the fans he was awful. Maybe he had a bad day or maybe he is bad when there's pressure.

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More so that a division foe is starting our 5th stringer over all their guys, just explains the 3-9 level expectations.

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42 minutes ago, Redux said:

More so that a division foe is starting our 5th stringer over all their guys, just explains the 3-9 level expectations.

 

I read where at Iowa Western, he had like 3 TDs, 8 ints, 45%, and 602 or so yards in 10 games.  Some (~245ish) rushing yards/td's but not enough to make up for the lack of passing ability.  Given that, and lack of starting, lack of production at other stops, 3 might be generous.  (Don't quote me on exact numbers, going off memory.). Maybe he is just a very late bloomer.  I don't think someone becomes great overnight, though.

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53 minutes ago, Dilly Dilly said:

I read where at Iowa Western, he had like 3 TDs, 8 ints, 45%, and 602 or so yards in 10 games.  Some (~245ish) rushing yards/td's but not enough to make up for the lack of passing ability.  Given that, and lack of starting, lack of production at other stops, 3 might be generous.  (Don't quote me on exact numbers, going off memory.). Maybe he is just a very late bloomer.  I don't think someone becomes great overnight, though.

 

This would be accurate

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It is not that hard to get a competent QB, and Bush is not a competent QB. Excellent athlete, though. If this is the best a Big Ten school can do, then they aren't trying.

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20 minutes ago, Dilly Dilly said:

The line opened at -19.5.   :o

I expect NU to put up at least 45 points, so it’s a matter of the Blackshirts keepin Illinois to in the low 20s. 

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18 minutes ago, olddominionhusker said:

Damn. I thought the win by Ill. might leave an opening. I don’t like 19.5. May have to pass this week or just make a MOneyline bet

 

I'm sure it will come down.  It seems really high - i can't be the only one who thinks that.

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Ran for 430 yards (12.3 ypc) vs Minnesota.  Had TD runs of 72, 72, and 77.  

 

One guy went 13 carries for 213 yards.  Bush had 127 on the ground.  

 

 

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Had to really stop and think about how 2AM had a reception for negative 11 yards.....then I got frustrated on that call by the refs all over again.

 

Nebraska definitely has the more potent passing attack.  Our defense has been better throughout the year at stopping the run.

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20 minutes ago, cheekygeek said:



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It’s weird having a QB like the one on the bottom chart when we’re so used to having one like the top chart.

 

The top chart guy can win games but the defense has to be better and it’s a lot more nerveracking.

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6 minutes ago, Moiraine said:

 

 

It’s weird having a QB like the one on the bottom chart when we’re so used to having one like the top chart.

 

The top chart guy can win games but the defense has to be better and it’s a lot more nerveracking.

 

Especially weird when you consider that the guy in the top chart WAS a Cornhusker QB.

He was recruited to Nebraska by Charlton Warren (Now on Dan Mullen's staff at Florida).
https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2014/aj-bush-11581

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On 11/4/2018 at 7:59 PM, Red Five said:

Ran for 430 yards (12.3 ypc) vs Minnesota.  Had TD runs of 72, 72, and 77.  

 

One guy went 13 carries for 213 yards.  Bush had 127 on the ground.  

 

If you're thinking that's the kind of performance that gets the opposing DC fired, you're right.

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12 minutes ago, everybody knows my name said:

 

If you're thinking that's the kind of performance that gets the opposing DC fired, you're right.

I hear Hardy Nickerson is available :)  What the heck is going on in gopherland? We beat you up then you beat Indiana but lose badly to Illinois who I thought might be your only B1G win. Are the gophers going to beat Purdue?

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22 hours ago, 4skers89 said:

I hear Hardy Nickerson is available :)  What the heck is going on in gopherland? We beat you up then you beat Indiana but lose badly to Illinois who I thought might be your only B1G win. Are the gophers going to beat Purdue?

 

I wouldn't bet on it.

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