Illinois wraps up another home season Saturday against Purdue. Not since 2001 have the Illini finished with a winning record at Memorial Stadium, but at least the games are competitive. A freshman quarterback, a planned renovation and a some high recruiting hopes have the arrow pointed up. But enough looking ahead. Sports editor Jim Rossow looks back at the best and worst of 2006:
It's been a while since he coached football at Michigan State, but George Perles remains close to the Green and White. The former Spartan still lives in East Lansing, does pregame radio and has season tickets. On Tuesday, he'll find out if his election bid for a spot on the Michigan State Board of Trustees is successful. The last Spartans coach to win a Rose Bowl took time out from campaigning to talk politics, John L. Smith's firing and Bo Schembechler with sports editor Jim Rossow:
Count on P.J. Hill putting up huge numbers. Wisconsin produced a 100-yard rusher in its last 11 games against Illinois. Lou Tepper's first Illinois team was the last to stuff the Badgers in 1992. Since then, Wisconsin's leading rusher has averaged 181.5 yards in the 11 games, topped by the 289 yards gained by Ron Dayne (above) in 1996.
After Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College left his conference for the ACC, Mike Tranghese didn't know if football could survive in the Big East. Today, the longtime commissioner's ony worry is keeping track of so many undefeated teams under his watch. Sports editor Jim Rossow tracked down Tranghese at Thursday's Big East men's basketball media day to ask him about the BCS, Greg Schiano and the troubled Hurricanes.
CHICAGO – Two-time News-Gazette All-Stater Derrick Rose, one of the nation's top recruits, will pay an unofficial visit to Illinois on Friday, his high school coach said.
Chicago Simeon coach Robert Smith said Rose, who did not list Illinois among his five finalists in August, wants to give Bruce Weber's program another look. Rose will attend Friday night's Orange and Blue Scrimmage at the Assembly Hall.
He used to spend the weekend prowling the sidelines at Camp Randall Stadium. Now he spends time with Fox providing analysis on the weekly BCS rankings show. Wisconsin's former coach and current athletic director took time out from his hectic schedule to discuss Jimmy Johnson's hair, Bret Bielema's success and his own statue in Madison with sports editor Jim Rossow: