Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Tracing the Illini's trouble - the Class of 2007

Ron Zook's Class of 2007 turned heads nationally. But the class has yet to live up to its billing, enduring injuries, defections and shoddy play at Illinois. In fact, only four will be in the starting lineup at Ohio State.

It's not too late for the class to deliver, but the clock is ticking.


Rossow's Big Ten report

Who can forget the Juice Williams-led upset of No. 1 Ohio State in 2007? It's why some in the media give the Illini a chance to win next Saturday: same quarterback, same stadium, same odds. Here's the difference: In 2007, Illinois went to Ohio Stadium full of vigor, coming off a 27-point win at Minnesota and already commanding big-time bowl attention. This year? Confidence is sagging, injuries are mounting and chemistry still seems to be unsettled.

10 questions for ... Joe Tiller

So the motor home is running smooth.

We hosted our inaugural tailgate last Saturday at the Texas game. We had about 60 people stop by. I discovered that they drink a lot. They don't eat much, just drink a lot. Mack Brown stopped by afterward and I told him, 'While you were walking back to the locker room before the game, your stomach churning and you were pacing back and forth, I had a Bud Light in my hand.' He laughed and gave me a high-five.

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News you can't leave work without:

Illinois finally gets a crack at Notre Dame ... in baseball.

Memory Lane: Jerry Sloan at Illinois

Dave Downey and teammate Bill Small helped recruit Jerry Sloan, a rugged type from McLeansboro who eventually accepted Harry Combes' offer to play at the UI.

Sloan, though, never felt comfortable on campus. Downey, then a sophomore, tried to cheer him up, offering Sloan help with his homework and a room in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house.

It's Game Day

Can Illinois bounce back? Can Illinois State stay within 50 points? Will Arrelious Benn play?

We've got a smorgasbord of information leading up to Saturday's home opener for the Illini, who unveil a new statue and a bunch of new starters.


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News you can't leave work without:

Illinois and Gonzaga will start their Jan. 2 game at United Center at noon on CBS. The game will conflict with three bowl games: Cotton (1 p.m. start), International (11 a.m.) and Papajohns.com (1 p.m.).


10 questions for ... Tony McGee

The former Michigan tight end and 12-year NFL veteran will call Saturday's Illinois State-Illinois game for the Big Ten Network. Living in Orlando, Fla., the Academic All-Big Ten choice (1992) still hears a lot out Ron Zook. Sports editor Jim Rossow caught up with the 38-year-old McGee on his way to Champaign to discus the heat on Zook, his take on Michigan and the Big Ten's reputation.

Jim Rossow's Big Ten football report

Sports editor Jim Rossow's weekly look around the Big Ten:

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(Contest) news you can't leave work without:

We;ve got four tickets to give away, a Redbird to whack and a statue to erect.