As the winter storms of...April...subside and the Midwest looks to brighter, vaguely warmer Spring air, naturally a boy’s thoughts turn to Illinois football, and how relegation, EPL-style, might play into its future. Also Ron Zook. Here we go.
(1) You get to relegate two B1G football programs for 2018 and replace them with any two Midwestern non-power 5 conference football programs. Who do you relegate? Who do you bring up? (ed note: some people followed the rules, others flagrantly disregarded them)
Beez: Relegate Ohio State and Penn State, so Wisconsin doesn’t have to face them and has a legit shot at going 13-0 and making so many people mad by making or missing the playoffs. Bring up Appalachian State so I can see them not on ESPN3. Bring up Liberty University so they can get shithoused every game and everyone who roots for them and attends the school gets sad.
WSR: Goodbye Rutgers and Maryland, hello Northern Illinois and Iowa State. I think it’s important for the B1G to have a team in Illinois (and hopefully Chicago) and Iowa State is such a plucky little underdog that deserves a shot at being a real boy.
BRT: I’m with Beez. I know relegation is supposed to be punishment for bad performance, but as a fan of a team that won four games last year, I’d like the Rutgers of the world to stick around. So... goodbye, OSU. Enjoy killing the MAC. I guess Wisconsin would be the other. I would have said PSU because it would be nice to be rid of much of their fanbase for a year, but Nebraska doesn’t play them, so...No, you know what? PSU is my second.
Also, welcome to the B1G, Rice and UTEP. So much Texas ‘crootin! Also, UTEP’s mascot is “Paydirt Pete” which is a great name, even if he does look like a particularly sad bastardization of a Herbie Husker/Pistol Pete hybrid.
LGHF: I’m last second changing my answer. Illinois (boring) and Minnesota (apathetic and irrelevant) football, gone. Welcome North Dakota State (BISON AND CHAMPIONSHIPS) and Western Michigan (Kzoo is a great city to be at, BELLS of course).
Creighton: Relegate Wisconsin and Penn State, for obvious reasons (I hate them and they should go away for a while). In their place, we promote Youngstown State and Idaho. Adding Youngstown State gives Bo Pelini the opportunity to resume his campaign of embarrassing Nebraska all the time. Idaho is mostly for my own personal amusement because everyone out here on the east coast thinks that’s where I’m from and can’t locate Iowa or Idaho on a map. Also sometimes they think I’m just pronouncing “Ohio” in a weird Midwestern way, but we already have an Ohio so that’s no fun. (brt note: Penguins and Pellini!)
Thump: bye ‘gers and penn state, the former big east is calling. welcome our new friends the Northern Iowa Panthers and the Illinois State Redbirds. let’s get rival-y.
Stew: Relegate wisconsin and Ohio State. Because Fuck wisconsin. And did you know Iowa beat Ohio State 55-24. (But really it’s rutger, Maryland, and Penn state, btw). Gimme Cincinnati, SDSU, and NDSU.
MNWildcat: I don’t care that I’m taking a swing at low-hanging fruit: rutger and Maryland, please. Go away. We don’t want you. WSR, I see what you did there, and I think it’s cute you’re trying to score points in Chicago, since Minnesota sure can’t.
I’ll give the nod to Pitt here, because damnit, there’s something about Pitt that I enjoy. Maybe it’s the Cathedral of Learning. That seems like a very B1G thing. Plus, it’d piss off Penn State fans. After Pitt? I mean, there’s Iowa State, but if I’m not gonna let Northern Illinois in, I don’t see a reason to let a different MAC team in. So they’re out. You know what, never mind about the MAC. I’m also remembering something about non-P5 teams, which...OK, fine. Each year, the three Directional Michigans have a playoff to see which one gets to be in the Big Ten. Let’s give the Michigan MAC Trophy some purpose, huh?
LPW: Just remove Buttgers and Maryland. We should’ve locked the door at 12.
Aaron: As much fun as it would be to relegate Rutgers, I still need them in the league so that my cable package continues to carry BTN. Let’s go with Maryland and Nebraska. Nebraska because there’s too much red in the conference and Maryland because it had a cool idea those white turtle-shell helmets but went with something much, much uglier instead. You had your chance, Maryland. I would replace them with Northern Iowa and Ohio, two teams I’ve seen be competitive in Big Ten football games before.
(2) Make up something Ron Zook might have said. Be creative. (or) Tell me your favorite Champaign-Urbana story.
Beez: “For the last goddamn time, no you cannot call me Captain Ron. That movie was terrible and seriously can you believe Martin Short and Kurt Russell were ever the draw for a major release?”
WSR: I’ve left Chambana pretty close to on time every time I’ve ever had the misfortune of going to Chambana.
BRT: “Where’s Urbana?”
LGHF: “Taco Thursday is not cumulative and NOT too much tacos during game week!”
Creighton: “Son, I’d like to give you some life advice. There are three keys to success: First, always know where the best daiquiri in town is. That’s where you’ll find the best divorcees. Second, make sure you come on the recruiting visit next month. I planned it so the women’s diving team recruits would be visiting at the same time, if you catch my drift. Finally, could you let your beautiful mother know that I have an extra ticket to Jimmy Buffett this weekend?”
Stew: “Hell yeah, I want to accept a penalty that gives them another shot at 3rd down instead of forcing them to punt.”
MNW: Went to a basketball game there once, went out in Champaign after. It wasn’t very fun, but that’s probably because I did it wrong. I drank a fishbowl by myself at whatever place sells fishbowls, so I guess that was probably a bad decision, too.
LPW: I went to the Penn State - Illinois game in 2005, and before the game joined the Mug Club at Illini Inn. I think I still have the membership card somewhere. My roommate and I got to campus at 7:30am for beer and krispy kremes at Kams. I don’t think they cleaned the floor from the night before, it was all sticky. Penn State was up 55 to 3 at halftime, and after Chief Illiniwek danced half the stadium left.
LPW, again: (in the style of BHGP’s Ron Zook) WOOOO BRING OUT THE JAËGERBOMBS AND THE GIRLS, THE ZOOKER’S HERE TO PARTY!! DAMMIT WHERE’S MINDY AND TRIXIE?!?
Ron Guenther, Illinois AD Arrives:
Guenther: Ron, I’ve decided to make a change in our football program. You’re no longer our coach. I’ve replaced you with Tim Beckman from Toledo.
Beckman: Me lose football games? That’s unpossible.
Zook: FUCK MY LIFE. YOU REPLACED ME WITH NUMNUTS HERE? FUCK IT, I’M GOING WATERSKIING WITH THE BUYOUT MONEY. ZOOK OUT /drops mic
Thump: last november, facebook saw fit to remind me that on the eve of the wisconsin game that would be our 5th straight loss of the 2011 campaign, i wrote this post:
The end of a hard-fought game in Champaign. Illinois, down 35-34, lines up for the two-point conversion to win the game. An assistiant notices Zook speaking rapidly into the headset and runs over.
”We’re going for two, right?”
”Even better, buddy. Even better.”
The quarterback hands off to the running back. A wide receiver takes the ball from him on an end around, and then hands off to another wide receiver on a reverse. The wide receiver cocks his arm, fires the ball through the goalposts, and then turns to the sideline and throws up his hands in desperate confusion.
”Attaboy, AJ. Attaboy.”
The assistant is aghast. “Whaa--I don’t even. What the hell was that?
Zook smiled. “Something they never saw coming, Jimmy. And that’s what true victory’s all about.”
Thump, Part 2: “When you look at that, I felt that if we get the field goal, we’re only down four, and if you hold them to another field goal we’re only down seven. We still have a chance to get points. I just felt like we should take the points we will for sure have and then count on the defense to get the ball back. If you hold them to a field goal, now it’s a seven point game which is still a manageable game.”