UI roundup: Ferguson among league picks

ROSEMONT — Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is the Offensive Player of the Year and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is the Coach of the Year in the Big Ten.

The league on Tuesday announced Ferentz’s honor and offensive awards, as determined by a vote of coaches and media.

Bowl fate will be known Sunday

CHAMPAIGN —The question for the 5-7 football team: Do you want to play in a bowl game?

If the call comes Sunday, Illinois will answer “Yes.”

That is the word from UI executive senior associate athletic director Jason Lener.

Asmussen: By George, I think he's got it

No need for Illinois to put together a search committee for its next athletic director.

The answer is right there in the school’s football media guide. On page 175: Richard George, 1978-81, DB, Collinsville.

State Farm gets glowing reviews

CHAMPAIGN — In  John Groce’s corner office at Ubben Basketball Complex sits an eye-catching poster resting comfortably on an easel,  depicting a rendering of what the renovated State Farm Center will look like.

Recruits, their families and anyone else who visits Groce’s office have seen and heard for years what the finished product will look like.

Tate: It's time for a fresh start

When NCAA selection time nears and Big Ten basketball coaches begin to extol the virtues of their conference, they’ll have to explain November.

Dreary, unexpectedly disappointing November. Certainly not the ideal way to match last season’s seven teams in the tournament.

SportsTalk 12-01-15

SportsTalk 12-01-15: Play now!

Steve Kelly and Loren Tate host the Tuesday edition of Sports Talk. They talk with Mark Tupper.


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Illinois will accept bowl bid if offered

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CHAMPAIGN — Illinois spokesman Kent Brown announced Tuesday the school would accept a bowl bid if offered.

Illinois' bumpy November in review

For Illinois fans, the past 30 days couldn’t have ended soon enough. With the calendar flipped to December now and the grand unveiling of State Farm Center a day away, a look back at 10 forgettable moments from the month that was:

Nov. 9

Cubit's squad could qualify for bowl

CHAMPAIGN — If Kansas State, Georgia State and South Alabama all win Saturday, the number of bowl-eligible teams will stand at 78. That’s still two short of the 80 needed to fill all 40 bowl games, meaning a few 5-7 teams will get invitations to keep their season going.

Tate: Time to cut Groce some slack

Whatever opinion you have of John Groce, the UI basketball coach deserves a pass for the 2015-16 season.

Win or lose, let’s sit back and accept whatever happens. He’s been handicapped since the summer losses of Tracy Abrams and Darius Paul, and then it got worse ... and worse.

No Illini basketball team since the “slush fund” in 1966 has suffered anything like these setbacks.