Loren Tate

Loren Tate

Tate | Illini's success hinges on the 'Big Uglies'

Football is a violent game. Block and tackle. Overpower. Intimidate.

Disadvantaged coaches employ spread alignments in the hope of finessing it, but that usually fails. The "big uglies" routinely batter down the walls and decide the issue.

Supporters want to start new tradition this fall at Illinois football games

CHAMPAIGN — It wouldn't be football season in Illinois without Chief Illiniwek activity.

Tatelines | Help is wanted for floundering Cardinals

Mediocrity can sneak up like a snake in the dark.

And did. Cardinal fans, who for years matched or exceeded Cub enthusiasm in these parts, weren't expecting the decline. They had been lulled into unrealistic expectations by a proud tradition and so many seasons of small-market overachievement.

Tate | A light at the end of the tunnel

In my cracked mirror, there stands the reflection of a modern-day Diogenes waving his lantern in search of honesty and a brighter day.

Tate | Lovie still playing catch up with rest of Big Ten

Where's the Beef?

So far, with miles to go before we sleep, Lovie Smith's 2019 recruiting efforts show as follows:

— There's more in the pipeline but, at seven, the Illini have the fewest commitments in the Big Ten. They're far behind Minnesota (18) in numbers, and even farther behind Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in quality.

Tate | As shooters reign, bigs are less involved

Dwight Howard, an eight-time All-NBA center, will play for his fourth team (Brooklyn Nets) in four years next season.

Old-time pivotmen are looking for work. Unless you're Anthony Davis it's an unfavorable time for 7-footers (OK, Howard is 6-11). Three-point shooters have taken over the game.

Tate | Shoe companies hold plenty of recruiting sway

If, by chance, Illinois happens to draw Indiana for its annual December date in Chicago's United Center, you could expect attendance there to quadruple from last year's 5,000 to 20,000.

Tate | Ice, ice baby — time to bring hockey to Illinois

City planners deserve plaudits for the way downtown Champaign has exploded on summer weekends.

That festive atmosphere will be expanded into 25 wintry weekends if $50-plus million can be raised to support Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman's plan for a multi-purpose hockey structure.

Tate | Time to take stock post-NBA draft deadline

NBA draft deadline has passed, so now it's time to take stock

May 30 came and went, and here's what we know.

If your favorite university didn't produce players for the NBA draft — or at least have someone sniffing around before pulling out — your team isn't in the mainstream of NCAA basketball.

Tate | NCAA rules create more confusion than solutions

Sometimes NCAA rules take your breath away.

We'll call this a case of "unintended consequences" as I engaged in my weekly search for Sunday's column material.

Following the Illinois women's tennis team's 4-3 NCAA win over Princeton in Lubbock, Texas — thereby reaching the Round of 32 for only the third time — these thoughts occurred: