Just like you shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch, and just like you shouldn't diss Kelly Clarkson, you shouldn't start to write your next blog at halftime.
Indeed, this is one that very few of us saw coming. But we’ll certainly take it. Other than a blip here and there when Cincy sped up their offense, both the Illini offensive and defensive units excelled, highlighted argulably by the goal line stand. And with another banner day, perhaps Nathan Scheelhaase has silenced the chatter about whether he would have a repeat of last year’s less-than-stellar season. Also good to see the coaching staff not just put Aaron Bailey in, but put him in with a specific purpose. If you know your role (no Dwayne Johnson pun intended), you can plan like heck for it and have positive results on the field. And that’s what Aaron did today.
Postgame, Coach Beckman shed some light on how the Illini were looking to click on offense heading into this one.
Predictions-wise, congrats go out to smccaw_11748, krervin2, Jam, sclark, and Gill52 for nailing the upset. For the other 46 of you, the RSDTs were not kind, as many picked a big Cincy win. Overall, smccaw_11748 is in the lead with sclark and Gill52 nipping at his or her heels. We're at 58 pickers overall and had 11 new pickers this week.
First, I think the Chicago game and all the events surrounding it are a fantastic idea that should be done as often as possible. The Wrigley Field game a few years ago produced a great atmosphere, and you can’t pass up exposure in the city as big as the windy one. Not to mention Illinois’ large alumni base in Chicago and the fact that, you know, we have a campus there. Something else I love is how much people (mostly purple people) get bent out of shape over Illinois’ presence in Chicago. It’s good marketing, folks. State your case on the field if you want to make one.
Anyway, in doing my research on UW (or U-dub, as is found on their website), I got a little chuckle over the nickname for their coach Steve Sarkisian – Seven Win Steve. That’s because the team has gone 7-6 for the past three seasons. Around these parts, that would be fine and dandy like sugar candy. But for a team with a history like UW, it’s tongue-in-cheek nickname territory. Early reports indicated that this year’s Huskie squad could very well fall into that same slightly above average category. But now the hype level is starting to rise. The experience level is up from last year, too, when a multitude (nay, plethora) of underclassmen saw playing time.
If I were a college football player, I wouldn’t want to have a bye week this early in the season. But UW is dealing with just that, after a 38-6 thumping of then-#19 Boise State in week one. Those six points were the Bronco’s lowest output since 1997 and quite uncharacteristic of the high scoring, BCS-busting team that we’re used to. UW showed a fast paced offense in the game (85 plays) and in an effort to redeem himself from a lackluster 2012, UW QB Keith Price (who obviously thinks highly of himself - that photo over there is from his Twitter) wasn’t afraid to air it out downfield. That, along with the return of UW’s All-American tight end, will give the work-in progress Illini secondary another test. If the UI offense can keep up and the partisan crowd can give the O & B a boost, the squad will keep this one close. Yet, you just can’t ignore UW’s talent.
My prediction: Washington 42, Illinois 34
So do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail with your prediction and analysis. Don’t forget that there are Big Ten basketball tickets on the line!
Coming up next Sunday: Washington thoughts and prediction standings