You thought I didn’t do it but I totally did it! Hey, let’s talk about why this could seriously be Lovie’s last stand. I know we’ve all been saying this season doesn’t count, but bear with me here because there could actually be something to this. Consider the following:
- This defense is just so much worse than even the least optimistic predictions would lead you to believe, and there’s talent and experience there. Something like this happening is only explainable by coaching adding no value. This was supposed to be a good year for Illinois prior to COVID, and while COVID has obviously changed a lot of things, the results don’t suggest that the Illini defense would have been better than this if not for COVID, at least not compared to the conference’s offenses. I’ve seen enough to feel like had there not been COVID, Illinois wins four games tops this year.
- Lovie Smith’s buyout is extremely manageable thanks to the contract re-negotiation that was dressed up as an extension back in 2018. It wouldn’t be substantially more than the cost of his 2021 salary. I believe it’s $2M or less now.
- Money may be short, yes, but if Illinois goes 0-8 this year, how much do you think 2021 ticket revenue actually adds back to the budget? Even if a vaccine is distributed next year and there are no more restrictions for COVID reasons, fewer people will be going to the game. Combine that with the perception that this is a lame duck coach that couldn’t win a single game with a bunch of upperclassmen and you have a pretty trivial number for ticket revenue. On the other hand, a new coach bump could make up some of the difference.
- Illinois would almost certainly be the only P5 program looking for a new coach at this time were Lovie fired after tomorrow’s loss. It does no good to wait longer since the new early signing period is a month away.
Anyway, there’s some food for thought. Here’s the main course.
Hey guess what? HERE’S DESSERT!
Listen to our preview!