Tate: Illini hold their own

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For years, Illinois has played more efficiently at Ohio State than any place else in the Big Ten.

In what many consider an inexplicable oddity of matchups, the Illini and Buckeyes were 10-10 in their 20 previous meetings between 1983 and 2002 ... even though Illinois was a mediocre 116-110-5 during those two decades and Ohio State was 175-67-5.

Vintage Illini

Catching up with Jeff Kinney.

Ohio town full of loud, proud Illini fans

COLUMBUS, Ohio – You'll hear no complaints from the folks in Loudonville, Ohio, about the new football coach at Illinois. They couldn't be more thrilled.The fine people in the town of 2,900 have the signs to prove it.

Enter Loudonville from the north, south, east or west and you'll be reminded that it's the home of Ron Zook, football coach at Illinois. Complete with the school's insignia.

A weekly chat with Bob Asmussen

This week's guest: linebacker Brit Miller.

Illini's intimidating 'Hammer' goes all out, all the time

COLUMBUS, Ohio – He spots the prey. Unsuspecting. Worry-free. Happy.

Then, boom. He strikes. With all the power he can muster from his 215-pound frame. The goal isn't just to hit, it's to plant a seed. Next time, there will be suspicion. Next time, there will be worry. Next time, there might be a dropped pass or a fumble. And no happiness.


This week's storylines in the Ohio State-Illinois football game:

Asmussen: Don't bet on extra BCS bid

No conference has enjoyed the BCS more than the Big Ten.

In the first seven years of the convoluted system, the Big Ten earned more at-large berths (four) than any other league. Not only did it mean a competitive advantage on the field, it also gave Big Ten budgets an unexpected boost. Those fancy field hockey uniforms at Iowa might not have happened without the BCS. Same with the new tennis nets at Illinois or the hockey sticks at Ohio State.

Big Ten football roundup

Jim Rossow' random thoughts:

Tate: I can't wait to see ruling on Ohio State

Troy Smith is the center of attention at Ohio State these days.

The Cleveland junior enters Saturday's Illini game with 10 touchdown passes and eight touchdown runs. Typical of the multidimensional quarterbacks cropping up across the country, he is the leader in Ohio State's quest for a slot in the Bowl Championship Series, a possibility if the Buckeyes (6-2) win out.

10 questions for Chris Spielman

Sure, Ohio State's got great linebackers on the current team. But none of them is as good as the former Lombardi Award winner and longtime NFL standout. Today, he's a successful radio talk show host and ESPN game analyst. He talked with staff writer Bob Asmussen on his drive to Champaign.