Program counting on more from Spoo

CHARLESTON – Questions about how much longer Bob Spoo will coach are nothing new to Eastern Illinois' athletic director.

"It's come up probably the last five years," Rich McDuffie said this week.

Opportunity knocking for Hutson

CHARLESTON – From the time he first joined the college football coaching ranks in 1990 – as an eyes-and-ears-wide-open graduate assistant at Oklahoma – Mark Hutson's career goal was to be a head coach.

On Saturday night, the fourth-year Eastern Illinois staff member will realize a 16-year quest when the Panthers open their season at Illinois. But now that it's here, Hutson only wishes his long-anticipated debut as a head coach could be delayed at least one more season.

We love college football because of TROPHY GAMES

Here are 10 of the best by staff writer Tony Bleill:

UI hoping better product leads to bigger crowds

CHAMPAIGN – The folks in charge of selling tickets at Illinois are begging you and pleading with you: Don't wait until Saturday night to buy your football ticket.

"For people who don't purchase in advance of Saturday, they might be surprised by what they see when they get to the game," Illinois assistant athletic director Chris Hanna said.

Tate: Hope exists (even at Illinois)

CHAMPAIGN – The Illini always bounce back in football. They find a way. At some point.

In six decades since World War II, the Illini possess seven Big Ten championships, which is roughly their numerical share.

Growing ratings, crowds show football is fan favorite

One of the greatest title games ever showed the nation what college football fans already knew: The sport is at a peak.

Southern Cal-Texas. No. 1 vs. No. 2. In the Rose Bowl. With Keith Jackson at the microphone for the last time.

Illini insider

A weekly review and preview of Illini sports:

Small makes PGA history

GRAYSLAKE – Mike Small made it look easy, even if he said it wasn't.

The Illinois golf coach won his fourth consecutive Illinois PGA title – and fifth overall – on Wednesday, beating Darren Stanek by 5 strokes.

Ex-Illini Davis on IR

The Philadelphia Eagles placed former Illini fullback Jason Davis on injured reserve Tuesday. The rookie free agent suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee Aug. 17 in a preseason game against Baltimore and underwent surgery shortly thereafter.

QBs to get their fair share

CHAMPAIGN – Tim Brasic definitely will be the Illinois starting quarterback Saturday night against Eastern Illinois. Coach Ron Zook reiterated that point Tuesday.

But Brasic won't be the only quarterback to play for Illinois. Zook said the coaches plan to use freshman Juice Williams at a predetermined point in the game. And Zook hasn't eliminated the idea of also using freshman Eddie McGee against the Panthers.