Be our guess

Can Ron Zook's first team fare better than Ron Turner's last team? The News-Gazette sports department wants your opinion, and there's a prize involved.

Tell us what you think Illinois' record will be during the 11-game regular season.

Each day, we will run predictions as part of our training camp coverage. After the season, we will have a drawing from the list of correct entries. The winner will receive four tickets to Illinois' 2006 Big Ten home opener against Iowa.

A sampling from this year's responses:


Can Ron Zook take Illinois to a bowl in Year One?

Tate: All is quiet on Brasic front

In his excitement over being No. 1 at the Illini's most visible position, Tim Brasic forgot Teddy Roosevelt's century-old bromide: "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

Instead, in a mid-July interview with The News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen, you might say he "spoke boldly with unproven ammunition." To be exact, Brasic said:

Breaking down the Illini

Illinois football beat writer Bob Asmussen gives a position-by-position look at Ron Zook's first Illini team

How to visit Camp Rantoul

Lake in the 1990s, Illinois football coaches decided they wanted to have training camp away from Champaign-Urbana. After taking a look at several spots, the ultimately decided on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul. The marriage has been a good one and figures to last long into the future. News-Gazettes staff writer Bob Asmussen has covered every Camp Rantoul. Here are his suggestions if you plan a fisit:

A chat with Ron Zook about Camp Rantoul

Ron Zook has been at training camps with three NFL teams (Kansas City, New Orleans and Pittsburgh). But starting tonight, he has his first college experience away from home. Staff writer Bob Asmussen quizzed the first-year Illinois coach all about Camp Rantoul:

Changes abound, but USC's consistency tops all storylines

There are changes in the BCS formula. Again. Florida State faces off the field issues. Again. South-ern Cal tries to defend its national title. Again.

With the games four weeks away, college football already has made enough news to fill a season. Coaching changes from Florida to Notre Dame. A summer death of a seemingly healthy athlete at Missouri. Revelations of wrongdoing under former coach Lou Holtz at South Carolina. New coach Steve Spurrier getting an earful from high school coaches for telling a few players they wouldn't be welcome back on scholarship this season.

Illini safety feels no pain at long last

CHAMPAIGN – He can walk to class without pain. He can run in practice without wincing. Being healthy again means plenty to Travis Williams.

A year ago, he tried to play through a groin injury. After struggling the first half of the season, he finally had surgery. The first time, it didn't take. A second procedure followed in April.

Coaches working double time

CHAMPAIGN – The players came to and from practice in waves. The coaches weren't so lucky. They stayed the entire time.

Wanting to maximize the number of repetitions his players would get early in training camp, Illinois coach Ron Zook split his team into two equal parts.

Despite long odds, former Illini giving Bears his best shot

BOURBONNAIS – Most of Antoineo Harris' practice days don't appear too tough.

Harris, the second-leading rusher in Illinois history, spends most of his time on the sidelines during Chicago Bears training camp workouts at Olivet Nazarene University. He'll take a knee, push the helmet of his favorite childhood NFL team into the ground and gaze, waiting for his chance.