Asmussen: Surprises expected in Top 25

It happens every year in college football. Most times, without warning.

A group of underappreciated schools will rise from beyond the Top 25 and force the rest of the country to take notice.

Guard chooses Sooners

One high school swingman has swung away from Illinois. A second is dangling back and forth.

DeAngelo Alexander, a 6-foot-4 wing guard from Midwest City (Okla.) High gave an oral commitment to Oklahoma, choosing the Sooners over Illinois, Arkansas and Kansas, among others.

Early radio start suits Barnhart fine

BERKELEY, Calif. – Brian Barnhart is getting an earlier start than expected with his duties as the upcoming voice of Illinois sports.

Barnhart will handle play-by-play today on the school's radio network, replacing Jim Turpin, who did not make the trip. Turpin, who is leaving the job at the end of the school year, will be back for next Saturday's home game against Northern Illinois.

Ceremony for Brems set

Urbana native Karen Brems, a 2000 Olympian in cycling, will be inducted into the Tribute to Olympic Athletes on Saturday.

News-Gazette Preseason All-Big Ten Team

Listed below are The News-Gazette''s preseason selections for an All-Big Ten team:

Tate: Illinois needs opening boost for fans' sake

Illinois needs a win Saturday.

Not for Ron Turner. The fifth-year coach is solid. His recent recruiting classes have upgraded the program and, in averaging nearly 30 points a game for two years, he has flashed superior offensive instincts.

Turner returning to scene of youth

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Wanda Silveira has been to Tucson and Evanston and El Paso to see her family's football teams. Finally, the game is coming to her.

Silveira is the sister of Illinois head coach Ron Turner and the mother of Illini assistant Dan O'Dell. When the Illini visit California on Saturday, Silveira and 100 family members and friends will be in Memorial Stadium.

UI soccer team wants to be among league elite

CHAMPAIGN – Maggie Kellett smiles and says her Illinois women's soccer team isn't looking ahead to Oct. 14, the day the Illini host Penn State. Rebecca (Patrick) Johnson rolls her eyes and says the Illini have a great rivalry with the Nittany Lions, but it's not tearing her apart.

Family ties no longer only reason Butkus is on everyone's mind

CHAMPAIGN – Luke Butkus didn't necessarily set out to become the best center in the Big Ten.

This was not his childhood dream. It isn't anyone's. Great centers are a little like lottery winners – you don't make it a goal as a kid to become one, but you certainly don't complain when you do.

UI football camp update

   Morris Virgil didn''t leave for Berkeley with his teammates Thursday. Illinois didn''t receive last-minute word from the NCAA Clearinghouse, meaning that barring an 11th-hour decision  in which case Virgil could fly today to California  the freshman running back won''t play in Saturday''s season opener against the Bears.