Now what?

Now what?

For two weeks and a half of the Illinois season, it looked like Ron Zook was in the middle of pulling off a miracle. The last six quarters have shown us the reality of the situation.

Zook did not inherit enough talent to contend at the top level of the Big Ten. You need to know that. That's why he has been spending plenty of his time and that of his assistants on rounding up players for next year and beyond. The Illini won't win consistently until the speed improves on both sides of the ball. Period.

Does that mean the team is done winning this year? Absolutely not. Illinois can beat Indiana and Northwestern. Plus, Zook has shown a penchant for beating teams he shouldn't. Mark down Penn State as a possibility.

What you do know is that the 61-14 game won't be forgotten. Not now. Not 10 years from now. If the Illini get a chance some year to put up a big number on the Spartans, they will do it. Without hesitation.

Should you keep coming to the games? That's your choice. The offense is interesting and it will be nice to see Barry Alvarez (for sure) and Joe Paterno (probably) in their last games at Memorial Stadium.

You'll have a month to think about it. The team is getting out of town for its next two games. As the guys learned in "Animal House," sometimes a road trip is just what you need after Dean Wormer/John L. Smith brings the pain. OK, last "Animal House" reference for at least a week.

Finally, I would like to apologize for the long delay in my latest entry. I can't use youth as an excuse. So, the sun got in my eyes.

Talk to you again sooner,


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