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Illinois Continues To Lose Nice Things

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At least this year it will make sense when we're terrible all January

"Oops, I ran into Malcolm! Oh well, at least my hand's not broken or anything"
"Oops, I ran into Malcolm! Oh well, at least my hand's not broken or anything"
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

When I last took inventory of the nice things Illinois had, it seemed quite certain that we'd miss a bowl at 6-6. Bowls are better than non-bowls, but that doesn't mean the Illini kept all the nice things they had. Here's the latest List Of Nice Things Had/Lost By Illinois.

-Bid to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Counts as a nice thing...barely. With possible destinations in Detroit (convenient for a fanbase largely in Chicago) and New York City against major conference opponents (ACC anyway), the Illini were instead thrown to the wolves with a noon game the day after Christmas in an empty Cotton Bowl against the same Louisiana Tech that hung 52 on Beckman's first Illini team in a blowout in Champaign and loudly sounded the meltdown alarms all over town.

-A chance for Tim Beckman to symbolically defeat his 2012 disaster We lost in such an Illinois way...outgaining the opponent but losing by 3 scores. The 2012 LaTech disaster was when the boo birds really came out in full force against Timmy, and a win over that same team would have brought the Beckman era full circle.

-The feel-good story that was the Ballad of Reilly O'Toole (Ended in a loss)

-It is illegal to drag Mike Dudek to the ground while he's running a route Apparently it is not. This was LaTech's pick-six.

-Recovered a fumble Lost the ball while attempting to return that fumble

-It was thought that senior DE Houston Bates would finally break out and be a big contributor for the Illini in 2014, and he came through in this bowl game with 4.5 sacks, but unfortunately he was playing for the other team as he transferred to LaTech prior to this season.

-Wes Lunt (who appears to be a football cannon mounted on a statue)

-Offensive linemen Simon Cvijanovic and Teddy Karras (Week 10) Out for the season.

-Prolific garbage-time quarterback Aaron Bailey (Please don't transfer. We'll figure out how to use you effectively [lol i can't keep a straight face]

-Aaron Bailey's redshirt (Week 7)

-Stud frosh WR Mike Dudek, True Freshman All-American

-Glimmers of hope that Year 3 of the Beckman era would turn the corner? I mean...we oversteered in the middle of the corner and smacked the wall pretty hard with the right rear quarter panel but I guess the corner was traversed?

-V'Angelo Bentley (Week 12; out for season)

-1 game winning streak against Purdue (Week 6)

-By extension, The Cannon (Week 6)

-1 game winning streak against Iowa (unbeaten since 2007!) (Week 12)

-An opportunity against a very confused head coach who tried desperately to give us the game and kept turning down field goals to turn it over on downs (Week 12. Have you ever seen someone try so hard to keep his opponent viable?)

-An opportunity against a very confused offensive coordinator who tried desperately to give us the game and refused to pass in the second half for some reason (Week 13)

-Punter Justin Duvernois, who really needs to get drafted by the Lions

-Confidence in an experienced offensive line (Week 1)

-No members of football staff arrested this season (Week 7)

-New uniforms

-All our games on TV (Week 4 against Texas State was ESPN3'd after lightning delay)

-Optimism that the defense would improve, or at least the belief that it can't be worseStatistics do us no favors in this department...

-College of Engineering

-Morally upstanding, competent, effective university leadership lol Phyllis Wise; lol i don't even know when we last had that We have a new president. Let's see what happens.

-The colors Orange and Blue (Week 8)(do we get them back now?) (YES)

-THE ALMA MATER IS BACK! (Week 1)

-Hope in the fans that our next coach will be a winner, or at least seem like he could have gotten into U of I Well, he's a doofus, but for another year he's OUR doofus.

-A conference win! Over a ranked opponent! (Until the final polls come out anyway)

-A second conference win! Over a future NFL Hall of Famer! (Week 13)

-New basketball court (Damaged due to storm drain leak) (FIXED!)

-Marching Illini (YAY THEY GOT TO GO TO THE BOWL!)

-1983 WILL ALWAYS HAVE HAPPENED

-An undefeated season if you take away 100 plays or so. Just ask Tim Beckman!

-Night game at home? (No)

-Ryan Nowicki, better known as "Helen of Troy" if you're a Penn State fan (lol he transferred to Northern Arizona without ever playing a down for us)

-Ranked men's basketball team. Nothing has ever gone wrong in a season where Illinois was ranked early. We hit January form early.

Senior PG Tracy Abrams, our leader on the court Torn ACL during the offseason

6'9" redshirt sophomore Darius Paul to provide some depth at 4/5 Managed to get kicked off the team; left school; will rejoin next year.

-Opportunity to remind Chicago that the Illini ARE basketball! Why can't we win in the United Center anymore?

-2nd straight win over MIZnOZ in the Braggin' Rights Game! A much closer contest than it should have been, won with a buzzer-beating three by...

-Rayvonte Rice Leads the team in scoring, rebounding, steals, 3 point percentage and broken hands.

-Second-half leads or ties in all men's basketball losses, for which the W-L column gives no credit to anyone.

-5 star PF Carlton Bragg announces his decision tomorrow! The finalists are Illinois, Kansas and Kentucky. He's not going to pick Illinois, and I already know that. But there's still the risk he tries to one-up Cliff Alexander and make his announcement by driving to Champaign and taking a dump on the Alma Mater. Please, Mr. Bragg, all we ask is that you let us down easy.

Things That Aren't Nice But Are Still Things Illinois Has

-The 1984 Rose Bowl will always have happened

-Tim "Lasagna" Beckman, aka "Trips'n'Dip," aka "Train Wreckman," aka "Ron Brickman," aka "Coach Death Penalty 2: Electric Boogaloo,who will return for 2015 and may quite possibly be a poor man's Les Miles. I can't believe I'm saying it either.

-Aaron Cosby and Ahmad Starks were supposed to be the transfer players that gave us some 3-point support. Starks is not quick/shifty enough to make up for how tiny he is, and Cosby can't shoot anymore. Last year I saw this highlight tape of a guy from Seton Hall that was shooting lights out...I think he transferred to Illinois. Cosby should look at that guy's tape and maybe copy his shot. I can't stand to watch any more of these flat bricks.

-In the least surprising development in the history of Illinois basketball, some random guy came off the bench and couldn't miss from deep. Aubrey Dawkins followed up his 20 points against Illinois on 6/8 three point shooting by scoring less than zero against Purdue. None made in Purdue's basket, one made into his own. Please, use the comments to tell me your team affiliation and what random guy will put up 25 on Illinois. If Illinois played Illinois, it would be Austin Colbert.

Epilogue: Illinois women's basketball has a better record (10-4) than men's (10-5). I'm not sure if this has ever happened. Rayvonte Rice deserves to play in an NCAA tournament and it's a shame that he likely won't.