"Our presence in Chicago is important to us, we are the state team, we need to bring ourselves closer to them for marketing purposes," said Illini Wide Receivers Coach Mike Bellamy- a former Chicago Bears player,
native of the SouthSide (prepped at Kenwood Academy) and Illini wideout who played with Jeff George in Champaign.
"And we have a large alumni base in Chicago and sometimes they can't make it down, so why not bring the game to them?" Bellamy continued.
On Saturday, the Illini were competing for sports fan interest against the White Sox
, a Fire match and the BMW Classic. And they still drew 47,312 fans to the lakefront in Chicago. That attendance is higher than what Illinois drew at home for their first two games this season; and a solid figure when you consider how very low expectations were heading into this year...
football ended their nine game losing streak. And they did it on Social Media Day at Memorial Stadium. Well, they just barely survived: winning 42-34 over the SIU Salukis in a game that went down to the wire. Unfortunately for Illinois football, who reside in the Big Ten
, a BCS power conference, just escaping versus a FCS squad, and a middle of the road one and that, doesn’t cut it.
Coach Tim Beckman
was on the hot seat entering this game. It’s surface of the planet Venus now; after outgaining a FCS opponent at home by just 57 yards and winning by a slim margin. (More on what went down on the field and what it means for Illinois football here)
Let's get to the tweets today (saving my own for the bottom)...
We have real football again! Finally. College football season openers are this Saturday, August 31st. Illini
football takes on FCS school Southern Illinois
as part of Social Media Day. All Illini
fans Liking the official Fighting Illini football Facebook page and following the @Illini Football Twitter
account will be entered to win a personalized Illinois
jersey. Just enter by halftime Saturday.
fans and Twitter
followers can win a pair of tickets to the Sept. 14th Chicago Homecoming versus the Washington Huskies at Soldier Field. The winners will be announced at Memorial Stadium and on Illini football social media pages at the end of the third quarter versus SIU.
Obviously, this match-up would be more intriguing in basketball. Say in a tournament in March. However, Salukis football did produce Bart Scott
, the famous former Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets linebacker who now has a new NFL
pregame show on CBS
Sports. (it debuts September 8th
was on conference call today to preview the game on Saturday...
Very few people connected to Illini
football are extremely happy right now about the Tim Beckman
Illini football was winless in conference play, Ohio State
and Penn State
combined to outscore Illinois
132-29. They went 2-10 despite having four players taken in the NFL Draft
. So, we’re not here to write much more negativity about the Illini football program- it’s been done. And deservedly so.
We’re here to talk about how Tim Beckman deals with all that negative energy. Again, having your games decided by halftime- in a bad way- will do that.
“We’re not going to let negativity infiltrate our program. We’re going to be positive with a great passion towards what we want to get accomplished,” Beckman said in his opening statement during Big Ten
The “other” paper in town has apparently hired a national college football
and basketball writer.
Steve Greenberg announced on his Twitter
feed July 1 (Canada Day coincidentally) that he was joining the Chicago Sun-Times as its national college sports writer and he also Tweeted that he’ll be covering Illinois
. He received the usual slap-on-the-back-welcome-aboard-so-nice-to-have-you-around type tweets from a bunch of his followers as a result.
So this must mean that Herb Gould, the paper’s national college writer and Illinois
beat writer, is gone. Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Herb Gould was going to retire, but nothing was made official — until now, I presume. I cover the Illini regularly, and I've heard whispers about Gould riding off into the sunset from other Illinois beat writers for months.
Now it's official, so I can publish it...
The University of Illinois
and the Chicago White Sox
will soon share a broadcast partnership. WSCR Chicago is home to radio broadcasts of all White Sox
games; WSCR 670 AM will also carry Illini
basketball starting in 2013-14 and football in 2014. (STEAKS AND CAKES!)
The logo of WSCR 670 The Score is blue and orange for a reason. All CBS
owned radio stations adopt the colors of their local NFL
team for the station logos. Obviously, WSCR got it’s colors from the Chicago Bears
. Papa Bear Halas brought the colors with him to the Bears
from the Illini
can be the Big Ten
version of the West Coast vs. East Coast ’90s hip-hop feud?
Remember, that rivalry started as a one-on-one individual bloodfeud between Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. before blowing up into true bi-coastal beef. The Illini
vs. the Wildcats aren’t anywhere near Death Row Records vs. Bad Boy Entertainment.
And the relationship between Illini
A.D. Mike Thomas
A.D. Jim Phillips isn’t anything remotely close to Biggee and Pac.
However, this rivalry is getting much more interesting by the day...
Illini football doesn’t win on most autumn Saturdays, but they do always win: on NFL Draft night and in 2nd-3rd tier bowl games. Illinois saw an O lineman go in the 3rd round, a D lineman go in the 4th. Just wanna reiterate this, so we're absolutely clear: football in 2012: 2-10, 0-8 in . (And I very convincing 0-8 in the Big Ten I might add)
Illini Football in 2013 2 picks in the top 100, 4 overall.
Illinois OL Hugh Thornton
has gone through a lot of adversity
to get to the NFL
. And I mean genuine adversity; not the cliched “adversity” you hear from college football
players and in “coachspeak.”
During his childhood, Hugh Thornton
saw his parents get divorced, his mother and sister were murdered while visiting he was them in Jamaica and he had to move in with his aunt after being abused by his father while living with him in Idaho. He made this move his senior year of high school across the country to Ohio.
I don’t mean to sound all Les Miserables
, as Friday night was actually a joyous event.
However, watching Illini
football last fall made me feel…."I used to dream my life would beeeeeeeeee......so different from this hell I’m living!”
OL Hugh Thornton
was selected by the Indianapolis Colts
in the 3rd round (86th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft
. He’ll be reunited with Coach Gilbert on the Colts
and join former Illini
CB Vontae Davis
in Indy. (You might have read about Vontae Davis
recent Twitter flap a couple months ago.)
It’s been that kind of year for the Illinois Fighting Illini and their hopeless coach Tim Beckman. At 2-10, winless in conference and blown out in more than half their losses, it’s been pure phantasmagoria. Today’s blowout loss to Northwestern brought more pain. On the field, and the sideline. This isn’t even Beckman’s first sideline... Read more »
Here’s a multi-media gaffe for you. Getting caught by television cameras with chewing tobacco when you’re a college football coach. And chew at practices and games is a NCAA violation for players and coaches. That’s what happened with Illini coach Tim Beckman, who apologized for it after his team got destroyed by the Wisconsin Badgers... Read more »