CHAMPAIGN – Check if this sounds familiar:
– The school is coming off a blowout bowl victory, fueling fan talk of a Big Ten title.
– The school is loaded with award candidates. The Heisman Trophy, Butkus and Lombardi are all a possibility.
CHAMPAIGN – Last year's winning season guarantees one thing for the Illinois football team: no change in its pregame plans.
Illinois coach Ron Turner likes routine so much that it borders on superstitious.
Wes Counts has numbers just about as good as Kurt Kittner, until you start looking at TDs and interceptions.
The forecast calls for heat usually reserved for pizzas.
The schedule and Las Vegas indicate today's opponent would be better off playing somewhere else in the state, like in Charleston or Normal.
It isn't the biggest street in Champaign-Urbana. But for the Illinois football program, none is more important.
The sign just went up for Irwin Avenue, which runs between the IMPE building and the north end of Memorial Stadium. The street is the newest memorial to the late Richard and Anne Marie Irwin, longtime Illinois supporters.
There might be no secret weapon like Brandon Lloyd poised to burst forth in an Illini football jersey this season.
Those guys don't come along very often.
Illinois coach Ron Turner planned to get home Thursday night in plenty of time to see his favorite program: college football.
He had a particular interest in the 9 p.m. game on ESPN2. Illinois'' next opponent, San Diego State, hosted Arizona State.
CHAMPAIGN – Steve Fitts never gave himself the chance to think about failure. He doesn't work like that.
Never mind that just two players in the last 50 years of Illinois football managed the double he is about to try.
The News-Gazette Preseason All-Big Ten Team
ONE TO WATCH
6 p.m. Today at Syracuse
Tricia Taliaferro's Illini are off to a 2-0 start as they hit the road. No surprise there. In Illinois' three previous seasons as a varsity program, it opened up 4-0, 5-0 and 5-0.