Prediction Standings, & Cincy Predictions (still time to chime in)

Prediction Standings, & Cincy Predictions (still time to chime in)

Normally it’s a thrill to watch a college football game come down to one play.  But in this case, Illini Nation would have rather not been forced to hold its breath.

Blog PhotoAlas, other than the shakiness near the end, this one was mostly what I was expecting.  A good, but not great performance where the offense took a little while to get rolling but then did in a big way.  And as I had hoped for in my last blog, we saw a much greater emphasis on the passing game to the tune of 415 yards, including a career high for Nathan Scheelhaase and two players with 100+ receiving yards for the first time since 2011.  Defensively, the unit showed signs of greatness early, especially against the run (66 rush yards for SIU).  But there’s still plenty of work to do, as that area is still the biggest weakness of the squad.

Coach Beckman kept it short and sweet on the WDWS postgame interview when asked about the series of events with Reilly O’Toole at quarterback.

Blog PhotoTurning our attention to our friendly competition…

First of all, I have an update on a prize.  News-Gazette Sports Editor Jim Rossow is offering up tickets to an Illini Basketball game to whoever is the top picker at the end of the football season.  The specific game is still TBD, but it’ll be a home Big Ten game.  There will be no midseason prize, but if someone logs a pick that gets the score and victor right on the money, I’ll try and scrounge up something for you.

Now, the good news is you all are 1-0 in the standings.  The RSTDs were all over the board though, as many of you picked a big Illini win.  However no one is out of the running at this point, so don’t be discouraged if you didn’t fair well.

Now, we move from dogs to cats.  Bearcats, that is.

First, it’s story time.  Do you all remember the last time the Illini squared off with Cincy?  It was the day after Thanksgiving 2009, a 49-36 Illini loss in cold Ohio.  The Illini were 3-7 at the time, and much of the media and fanbase has turned its attention tBlog Photoo basketball season.  There was even a basketball game on that same day, so even the WDWS radio crew was split up.  The rest of the Illinois media turnout was the lowest I’d ever seen for a game – myself and my colleagues from the Daily Illini/WPGU, Bob Asmussen from the News-Gazette, Shannon Ryan from the Chicago Tribune, and Stu Durando from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  It was about the time that the soda machine broke down and the stat monitors lagged behind (they were tinker toys to begin with) and the Internet cut out that we turned our chairs in our cramped quarters and shot each other a “What are we doing here?  We should be eating turkey leftovers!”-type look.  The only saving grace of the day had nothing to do with the game itself.  Rather, it was the fact that I snuck away for Donatos Pizza at halftime and a Five Guys burger after the game.  I felt then much like Homer Simpson in this moment.

Ok, back to the present day…

Blog PhotoThe consensus from what I’ve read is that it’ll be a two team race in the new American Athletic Conference between the Bearcats and Louisville.  That fact alone puts an early tally in the Cincy column, as the Illini are nowhere near that type of discussion in the Big Ten right now.  They have two capable quarterbacks and a head coach who knows what it takes to win.  And the recent coaching turnover (five in the last five years if you count interims) hasn’t seemed to have an effect on morale.  Senior guard Austen Bujnoch told the Cincinnati Enquirer on AAC media daBlog Photoy, “This has been the best transition.  I think everybody respects coach Tuberville and what he’s done.”  It’s tough to say whether the Cincy offense is ahead of its defense at this point.  In particular, both lines appear to be strong.  And the Cats had no problem today handling Purdue its worst season-opening loss since 1996, despite their top receiver being limited by a nagging injury.  It’s also worth noting that the Cincy D was ranked 12th in the nation last year, giving up just 17.2 points per game in the regular season.  As Scott Steiner (the big guy up there) once put it, those numbers spell disaster for the Illini.

My Prediction:  Cincinnati 42, Illinois 27

So now it’s once again your turn.  Leave your prediction and analysis in a comment or via e-mail by 11 AM on Saturday.  It’s likely that you’ll have to pick every game of the season to be in the running for the prize, so don’t fall asleep at the wheel!

Blog PhotoOther notes…

  • What were everyone’s thoughts on the ambience at Memorial Stadium during week one?  In my location in the radio booth, I wasn’t able to focus on the new scoreboard and ribbon boards too much, but I know that they’ll be utilized more and more by the talented Illini Productions video crew as the weeks go on.  It’s also good to see MS get on par with other top stadiums in the country when it comes to amenities.
  • If you stopped by Streetfest on the west side of the stadium before the game today, you might have seen yours truly along with my colleague Steve Kelly.  That’s because Steve will be broadcasting the first portion of his football pregame show from Streetfest this year.  So drop in and say hello.
  • It was quite a surprise on Monday night of this past week when I got an e-mail from News-Gazette football beat writer Matt Daniels informing me that I was among the lucky few whose football picks would be featured in the Friday paper.  So be on the lookout for that.  I’ll try to make things as fun there as they are here.


Coming up next Saturday:  Cincy thoughts, standings, and Washington predictions.

[Cincy photo via]

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brownie832 wrote on September 01, 2013 at 12:09 am

OK, now "real" play begins.

Hope I'm wrong but:

Illini 24

Cincy 33

Go Illini!

Railsplitter wrote on September 01, 2013 at 4:09 am

I think Beckman will get it done but, thats a young team he's got here . Soooo... Cincy38  Illini 23

Bwp 5P wrote on September 01, 2013 at 9:09 am

Cinncy 48

Illini 23

Didn't see enough defense yesterday to lead me to believe we can hang with them!

Eric 22 wrote on September 01, 2013 at 9:09 am

This will be a learning experience that should help against Washington.

Barekittens - 36

Illini - 13

conner34 wrote on September 01, 2013 at 10:09 am

Illini 17

cincy 47

our defense looked very weak, little or no pressure on the QB.  I think the game was what we expected, inexperience on D and much improved on O.  But Cincy looks to be very tough.  Hope I am wrong. More than any thing else I just want to see them be competitive. Go Illini

Dan Bloeme wrote on September 01, 2013 at 10:09 am

Cincinnati  Bearcats  49

Beckman Illinois Illini 20

illiniearl wrote on September 01, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Mercy me!   Hope my standing doesn't last all season!    Illini 10  Cincy 56                                                           

IMAN wrote on September 01, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Cinci   56

Illini      3


I was at the game Saturday and it is going to be a brutual season.  Our defensive backs are very inexperienced and frankly not very good.  


On offense we couldn't run the ball on a 1AA school and I see we still have a challenged O.C. who thinks we can run the ball with no blocking back....really? At least in the past when we went with a one back sett it was a read option play (didn't see us try to stretch the corner once yesterday). Even with a great offensive line it is hard to run out of a one back set, but we don't have an average O Line so what makes this guy think we can run the ball with no blocking back?  A good defense is going to force 3 and out, after 3 and out, after int or fumble from NS getting sacked because we can't run the ball.

The only postive that will come out of this season is that after the season we will no longer be saddled with a coach who can't avoid sideline interference penalties.



kelkaidru wrote on September 01, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Cindy 45

Illinois 24

mvillini wrote on September 02, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I really hate to be negative, but this is just the way it is. These fellas maybe have had their only win of the year. Sorry !  Cinncy 45, Illini 17.

BleedOandB wrote on September 02, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Cindy 37

illini 17


ehsfan wrote on September 02, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Cincy 54 Illini 13. 

illini82 wrote on September 02, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Cincy 41

IL       17

burkejo wrote on September 02, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Sorry to say, but the D didn't look too good, but at least we weren't one of the 8 teams to lose to an FCS or 1AA school. My prediction:

Cincy 49

Illini 13

Gill52 wrote on September 02, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Someone has to be the hopeless idiot...

                    Illini 31    Cincy 30


tonyjb37 wrote on September 03, 2013 at 7:09 am
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As long as Tim Banks is defensive coordinator we will continue to get blown out by good teams!      Cincy  52         wussies on d   17

Mike Goebel wrote on September 03, 2013 at 9:09 am

Cincinnati 42, Illinois 13

jruss62 wrote on September 03, 2013 at 11:09 am

Cincy.........31   ILLINI.......27  

nutleyillini wrote on September 04, 2013 at 6:09 am

Cincy 42, Illini 28

Illini have the advantage of seeing the Cats' offense in action agains Purdue so they should be more prepared than the Boilermakers were. My guess is Cincy still spanks us but goes to the bench in the 4th quarter which will allow us to post a couple touchdowns to make the score look more respectable.

Bob Patterson wrote on September 04, 2013 at 12:09 pm
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Cincinnati 49

Illinois 21

aaeismacgychel wrote on September 04, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Shame I missed the SIU prediction thread. I picked Illinois to win by 4 and would've been in good shape. So, Illinois vs. Cincy. Yep, that's bound to go well. Wait, I think I just heard Cincy score another touchdown on Purdue. Oh no, my apologies that was actually the sound of SIU scoring another touchdown against us. This is going to be a long season. A long long season. I do have to give Beckman credit though- I mean, I'd say a good 99.9% of people if they were the Illinois coach couldn't have watched that 4th quarter and seen SIU come back from a 22pt deficit and move the ball 3 yards away from the tying score at which point SIU's QB overthrow 2 wide open receivers in the endzone to end the game and been smiling and celebrating. But good 'ol Timmy- boy was he excited. Well, Cincy is just a bit of a step up from SIU, Timmy. Best of luck. Usually I talk about a way Illinois can win, but let's face it, who am I kidding? I'll go with the optimistic*:

Cincy: 45
Timmy The Clown: 7

*I'm seriously being optimistic. I truly don't feel we hold them under 50 or score a touchdown but a 52-3 or 59-3 score seemed a bit negative

walker wrote on September 04, 2013 at 1:09 pm

We are all shocked as the Illini take a 14-10 lead into the half, but things unravel a bit as Cinncy roars back and we can't sustain our efforts:  UC 34  ILL 17

sclark wrote on September 04, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Ever the optimist. Illini 30. Cincy 28.  GO ILLINI!!!!

cretis16 wrote on September 04, 2013 at 5:09 pm

cincinnati: 63

Illinois; 10


Banks gets 2 on the field penalties....and a technical foul for impersonating a defensive co=ordinator.

Reillini wrote on September 04, 2013 at 6:09 pm




I;m looking for small steps here. A bit of improvement in the defense and the run game picks up....We are not going to win this game but I hope to compete...Or as Robert from alioneye says"We need to football"

yellowjacket wrote on September 04, 2013 at 7:09 pm

This one is going to be ugly  Cincy 42 Illini 21

IMAN wrote on September 07, 2013 at 8:09 am

Sorry to say it because I bleed orange and blue, but it is going to be a lot uglier than 42-21.    I doubt if we score 10 points.   We couldn't run for 50 yards against a D1AA or whatever the heck we call those schools now.  Against a D1 school that means we won't be able to run or pass because they will drop 7-8 guys in coverage and just rush 3-4 linemen.



smccaw_11748 wrote on September 04, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Cin 28

Illini 35


Dreaming-  oh well

krervin2 wrote on September 04, 2013 at 9:09 pm


Cincy 25

teachdacc wrote on September 05, 2013 at 5:09 am

Cincy 42. Illini 30

illinibadger wrote on September 05, 2013 at 7:09 am

UC 35, UIUC 31

Thrillionois07 wrote on September 05, 2013 at 8:09 am

Would love to pick another way but Cincy 38  Illini 20.  I have a bad feeling we get bitten by the turnover bug.  If we run for more than 70 yards I will consider this is a win!

buckhunter2 wrote on September 05, 2013 at 10:09 am

CINCY   48

ILLINI     30

robertxc1 wrote on September 05, 2013 at 11:09 am

CINCY:  48


zyoungbl wrote on September 05, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Cincy 51

Illini 3

Their defense is too tough. Ours is too slow and can't tackle.  Leave after the Alma Mater & tailgate or go to the golf course....or just don't go at all. 

touchdown_illinois wrote on September 05, 2013 at 2:09 pm

UC 45, Illini 24

SanDiegoJoe wrote on September 05, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Something tells me the Def Co let them have it in the locker room and on the practice field this week.  Gotta bet they'll be more motivated coming out on Saturday.  Something also tells me that they didn't use up all their good looks against SIU.  Pretty sure they kept some new stuff in the bag to try to pull off the surprise against UC.  Nevertheless, that inexperience on defense is gonna hurt them in the end against a strong team that took Purdue behind the woodshed.  

Sometimes you eat the bearcat, and sometimes the bearcat eats you...

UC: 39

Illini: 24

ddub923 wrote on September 05, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Cincinnati      35

Illinois            17

Jack Hamner wrote on September 05, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I hope these guys bask in the glory of their win last week.  There wont be many more.


Cincy 56

Illinois 3

mbelcher wrote on September 05, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Illinois   27

Cincinnati    41

DarrenAlman wrote on September 05, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Cincinnati  37

Illinois  14

Illini-5 wrote on September 06, 2013 at 8:09 am

Cincy - 47

Illini - 27

Jam wrote on September 06, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Cincinnati  31    ILLINOIS 34

smills89 wrote on September 06, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Illini 21

Cincy 40

ILLINI04 wrote on September 06, 2013 at 9:09 pm



illini7074 wrote on September 06, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Cincinnati       47

Illinois.              7

IMAN wrote on September 07, 2013 at 9:09 am

Those of you who are predicting that we will score in the 20's or 30's today, well I drink a lot of orange kool aid but I am thinking somebody spiked your's.  



Love the enthusiasm, but this is going to be brutal reality today that none of us are going to like.

ERE wrote on September 07, 2013 at 2:09 pm
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What a bunch of dank pestimists! Looks like the great majority of you will be eating crow for Saturday dinner. Hope the vinegar you have been obviously sipping on helps it go down....

Go Illini!

IMAN wrote on September 07, 2013 at 2:09 pm



I was just coming here to make a post about enjoying some delicious crow!


I will admit I am shocked, and very pleasantly so.   Having been at the game last week I didn't think we would win a D1 game this year.


Great game boys!


Jack Hamner wrote on September 14, 2013 at 9:09 am

Think these guys are living on borrowed time; sorry but.....

Wash - 45

Illinois - 14