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Closing Arguments: Are the Illini going to fight in 2022?

Will Bert build on a decent 2021 or take a step back?

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Illinois
Should we punt on 4th and 1 from the opponents 32 yard line???
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning OTE Commetariat. Today, we begin closing arguments for the upcoming B1G season about to kick off in Septem...err August. Today’s closing arguments will be debate style. Before you go on, you can check out the preview podcast here:

Vegas picked Illinois to win 4.5 games this season and we will debate whether one should take the over or under on that bet. The Illinois fanbase is very divided on where they think the arrow is pointing for this team so I got two fans to take sides in this debate. Representing the Overs will be Orange Kool-Aid Guy and representing the Unders will be Eeyore.

HWAHSQB: Thanks for coming in today to discuss Illinois football. Let’s start with where you think Illinois will end up in the B1G West standings.

OKAG: Illinois is going to roll through the B1G West destroying everything like Bert at the Pizza Ranch buffet! OHHH YEEEEAHH!!!!

Eeyore: It’s going to be another looooong season in Champaign. We’ll probably finish in last place and it’s probably going to rain anyway.

HWAHSQB: Umm, ok. Earlier this summer, we previewed the offense.

What do you expect to see out of Illinois offense this year?

OKAG: Hey, out with the old and in with the new. Bret won’t accept anything except excellence so he kicked ass in the offseason and got us a major upgrade at OC with Barry Lunney Jr from UTSA. We’ve got one of the top running back tandems in the B1G coming back with the two-headed monster of Chase Brown (1023 yards) and Josh McCray (564 yards) and Art the Dart Sitkowski and Tommy How do think I’m funny Devito battling it out for the QB spot. Former Georgia transfer TE Luke Ford is poised for a breakout year. Alex Palcewski has the most starts of any player in the country at tackle. It’s going to be awesome!!

Eeyore: We’ve got another brand new coordinator and we lost 4 of the top 6 OL from last year including Doug Kramer and Vederian Lowe that were NFL draftees. We have one QB that played for Chris Assh and another who was benched at Syracuse. The passing offense was worst in the B1G West last year and that is really saying something and our 2nd and 3rd WR and our top receiving TE transferred out so we have one WR who had more than 6 receptions coming back. It’s going to be awful!!

OKAG: Hey, man! Let’s talk about the D, I mean the defense. Ryan Walters and company made an impressive turnaround and stiffened the Illinois D considerably. They turned Kerby Joseph from a positionless vagabond to a 3rd round NFL pick!! Give them another year and we’ll be stuffing those B1G West offenses on the regular. Tarique Barnes and Butkus watch list candidate CJ Hart are returning at LB. I can’t wait to see them take the field.

Eeyore: Yep, CJ Hart was great for the 34 of one game he played before he got hurt. That just proves Illinois can’t have nice things. We only have freshman backups for the DE/OLBs so if someone gets hurt there, we could be in real trouble. Plus, will the defense be as good without the beautiful Blake Hayes dropping bombs and pinning people deep?

OKAG: We’ll all miss Blake, but we got another Aussie punter so it’s all good.

HWAHSQB: We need to wrap things up, guys. Final thoughts?

Eeyore: Last year, we won 5 games with one of the most experienced teams in the country. How many will we win with the least experienced team in the B1G? Recruiting hasn’t gotten any better under Bert than it was under Lovie. This is going to be a disaster.

OKAG: Bret is going to take us to the promised land of Indy, baby!! Sure, the recruiting rankings aren’t good, but Bielz is building a wall around Illinois and he’s getting his guys in there to run his system. He didn’t have the best recruits when he was punking OSU in 2012 on the way to the Rose Bowl!!! We probably are a couple years away from making the playoff, but there’s no stopping the Bert.

HWAHSQB: Okay, somebody cut him off. He’s had enough.


Where does Illinois finish in the Big Ten in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 5%
    (10 votes)
  • 20%
    (37 votes)
  • 32%
    (59 votes)
  • 22%
    (41 votes)
  • 17%
    5-4 or better
    (32 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now


How does Illinois finish in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    4-8 or worse
    (22 votes)
  • 36%
    (54 votes)
  • 24%
    (37 votes)
  • 19%
    (29 votes)
  • 5%
    8-4 or better
    (8 votes)
150 votes total Vote Now