First and 10: Crucial early-season games

This week’s list: Will the Big Ten find itself in the Final Four for the third consecutive season? How well Jim Delany’s league does in these 10 critical nonconference games will go a long way in determining that:

1. Ohio State at Oklahoma

Tate: Big Ten TV success envy of college world

Due to a series of hopefully nonrecurring problems, the UI athletic department was splashing red ink when Josh Whitman took the reins in early March.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Happy birthday, Doug Higgins!

It’s been 26 years since Normal’s Doug Higgins last wore the Orange and Blue for the Illini, but his lofty ranking on Illinois football’s career scoring list hasn’t changed all that much.

PODCAST: Saturday SportsTalk 07-16-16

PODCAST: Saturday SportsTalk 07-16-16: Play now!

Michael Kiser and Loren Tate host the Saturday edition of Sports Talk. They talk with Hardy Nickerson Sr and Hardy Nickerson Jr., as well as interviews with Josh Whitman and Mike Thorne.


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Top 50 Illini Football Players of 2016: No. 19, Justin Hardee

No. 19: Justin Hardee, WR

Top 50 College Football Teams of 2016: No. 19, TCU

Coach: Gary Patterson

2015 record: 11-2

Projected 2016 record: 10-2

Circle the date: Oct. 1 vs. Oklahoma

Bowl trip: Sugar

Time to watch out for football

The cavalcade of preseason award watch lists is done, with Friday’s unveiling of the Walter Camp Award watch list and Paul Hornung Award watch list the final ones. Five Illini found their names on eight different award lists during the past two weeks. But that’s far from a guarantee they’ll take home the big trophy later this season.

UI hoops recruit glance: McKinley Wright

Minnesota guard McKinley Wright

Why he’s a fit at Illinois
Wright is used to playing with top talent both in high school and on the grassroots circuit and is willing to be a true point guard by facilitating and doing the little things.

Illini target power forwards in 2019 class

ST. LOUIS — Illinois is basically all in with the St. Louis Eagles at this point.

The Illini have targeted nearly half the Eagles’ 17U roster, with an oral commitment from five-star center Jeremiah Tilmon secured on Monday. Jordan Goodwin is the next top priority in the Class of 2017 for Illinois, and 2018 standouts Tim Finke and Darius Garland also boast UI offers.

Top 50 Illini Football Players of 2016: No. 20, Darius Mosely

No. 20: Darius Mosely, DB