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B1G 2022: Illinois Mailbag

You asked, we answered!

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Slice85: Didn’t read article and am not paying attention but does Kofi have eligibility left and would he make some kick ass tight end?

HWAHSQB: Two years of eligibility and while he would make a kick-ass TE, we are desperately short on the defensive line. I think Cockburn would make an incredible DE. Try throwing over him and talk about setting the edge!! Forget the read option to his side, he can reach the QB in one hand and RB in the other. Although he has been cutting weight to try to be more nimble for the NBA, he’s still 280.

Thumpasaurus: I bet he’d catch a football a little better than he catches a basketball. But I agree with my colleague. Legendary Cowboys DE Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones was 6’10”. Kofi is taller than Too Tall and would be a terrifying presence at the edge.

LincolnParkWildcat: How’s Bret Bielema’s recruiting going around high schools in Illinois? Is he snatching players away from other teams in the suburban Chicago and Saint Louis areas?

Thumpasaurus: Not...just...yet. 5* receiver Luther Burden went to Mizzou from East St. Louis, In the 2022 class, 9 different schools got a player from Illinois higher than the highest rated croot that Bert got. These include Ohio State, Clemson and Michigan, but also Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa. Hope of an immediate and massive boost to in-state recruiting is basically gone, but that doesn’t mean the long-term strategy of building those relationships will fail to pay off.

In the ‘23 class, 4* athlete Kaden Feagin has committed to Illinois. He’s a top-250 player and the 3rd-ranked player in the state currently. 7 of the remaining top 10 are uncommitted. A bowl game could provide the credibility to get this thing off the ground, but even if we don’t quite get there, Bielema’s staff will continue to grind in-state.

HWAHSQB: We do seem to be doing extremely well in NJ with players that weren’t good enough to get an offer from Rutger.

greenie71: What is the over/under number of seasons before Illini fans turn on Bert?

Thumpasaurus: Barring an off-the-field catastrophe, it would take until at least 2024 at this point. I think he’s saying and doing all the right things for the moment, and you can’t underestimate what the savage and vicious mauling of Northwestern did for this fanbase. Bert will also fly under the radar late in the season because Illini basketball hype is at fever pitch. I’ll be in Vegas watching the Illini in the Vegas Invitational instead of watching them get mauled by Michigan in Ann Arbor.

He’d really have to fuck up big or fall off the wagon to squander this goodwill before 2025.

HWAHSQB: Yep, there is no bar lower than Illinois football and Bert’s down home personality, openness with media and fans, actually having a plan as well as a beer belly are playing very well in non-Chicago Illinois.

BoilerUp89: Northwestern is performing testing on making hamsters vicious - they were actually attempting to make them more peaceful but where completely off on their ideas. What testing is Illinois performing on harmless animals to benefit their football program?

Thumpasaurus: The only animal testing I’m aware of is happening in a smoker in Bert’s back yard experimenting with ways to make cows taste better. Those are NOT harmless animals, by the way; the grain they consume requires so many resources that we’re running out of water.

87 Rides a Surfboard: Isn’t it great that either IU or Illinois’ season will effectively be over depending on the outcome of the first game of the season?

Thumpasaurus: UNLESS. unless we lose to Wyoming, in which case we will be playing the role of the crab trying to prevent other crabs from climbing out of the bucket. NOPE NOPE NOPE STAY IN HERE AND FRY WITH MEEEEE

No offense to Maryland

HWAHSQB: We aren’t going to lose to Wyoming. I mean, we aren’t, right? That being said, I have no illusions of either of those teams going to a bowl regardless of the outcome of that game. I just want to lose by better scores than 63-0 next year.

FreeBeerTomorrow: In the grand tradition of player “X” has gained 20lbs in the offseason and looks better than ever, I want to know if Bert has lost 20lbs and looks sexier than ever.

Thumpasaurus: If not, I’ll take up the mantle for him. Got about a month til the BTN Big10K in Chicago and I ran a PR for 10K practice last week. I’ve also somehow gained 10 pounds since then and my ankles are a big problem all of a sudden, but I’ll be in shape for that race on July 10th.

Then I’ll probably be content with what I’ve done and be fatter than ever by the end of August.

HWAHSQB: I am travelling a lot now for work, which means that I’m going to Hardee’s drive thru first thing in the morning instead of spin class. I’m about 1.5 Sausage Egg Biscuits from hitting 350. I wished I looked as sexy as Bert. Thump and I are still trying to organize the OTE “writers” two man tug-of-war competition, by the way. Come get some!!


For the season, Illinois finished 12th in the Big Ten in average attendance. Only Northwestern and Maryland had smaller home crowds.

Ranked by percentage of capacity, Illinois finished last. The school’s 58.3 mark ranked just behind Maryland (61.7 percent.)

I would like to know how you were able to get so many Northwestern fans into Illinois football?

Thumpasaurus: With 2021 being the first year back from COVID, it also just happened to be the first year that the traditional Champaign adage of “don’t watch football, they suck, all your energy should be on basketball because they’re great” actually held some water since 2006.

HWAHSQB: I’m still trying to get a tracking number for our orange tarp, which will fix the percentage of capacity problem. It’s pretty wild to think about, but I attended the first game of the Lovie era, which was a sellout. Seriously, that happened!! Illinois fans will show up if someone gives them any sliver of a reason to, but what Underwood has going definitely doesn’t help and Bert didn’t have the “I took the Bears to the Superb Owl with Sexy Rexy Grossman at QB” Chicago street cred that Lovie had.