Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder if Brad Sturdy’s favorite college basketball official, Bo Boroski, and his comrades could have been a bit more consistent in the Illinois-Purdue game…

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When is a loss not too discouraging? That’s easy. The Fighting Illini put up quite a fight against one of the most talented teams in the country Monday morning/afternoon, and that’s with All-America center Kofi Cockburn playing one of the worst games of his career. Along with some questionab…

Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder if Michigan and Juwan Howard are scheming to find a way to not play in Champaign Friday night as they battle COVID issues in the program…

There’s so much to get to, I could probably write three or four columns this week. But I’m sure one dose of me is enough for most folks. In any event, we’ve got to start at Halas Hall. Change is coming for the Chicago Bears organization. However, George McCaskey is still running the show, so…

Welcome to 2022. It sure seems a lot like 2021, and most of 2020 for that matter. Nearly two full years, with no end in sight, of living through a pandemic. And yes, if you haven’t figured it out yet, we still have to live our lives. Last time I checked, we only get to live once. Democrat, R…

• Funny thing about last week’s Illinois-Mizery game: I admit I wanted the margin of victory to be a LOT bigger than it was. I think Cuonzo Martin is inching up into the territory of Bruce Pearl in terms of my dislike, though NO ONE will ever reach the depths that the conniving scumbag reach…

So...how is your holiday season going? No matter how you spin it, the hysteria surrounding COVID-19, its variants, its spread and the daily scramble to find a test or testing site is dominating our lives as we turn the calendar to 2022. It’s no laughing matter, and you can see what’s coming …

What is a Monday without a hangover, full day at the office, a school board meeting and Monday Night Football? It’s just another day in the life, and of those four, which do you think was the worst part of my day?

• What an atmosphere Saturday at Assembly Hall for the Illini-Arizona game. The Illini had maybe their best four-minute stretch since the 2005 Final Four game with that epic 19-0 run, fueled by Trent Frazier, but then they gave it right back and could not close out the Wildcats, who are a Fi…

It was just a huge weekend for your favorite grouchy local columnist, who ventured nearly 100 miles south to an outlet mall to, yes, do some Christmas shopping! I battled idiots who should not have drivers licenses, thick traffic on six lane roads, non-positive fast food choices, crowds, mas…

When do you go to bed excited and joyous on a Monday night? Well, as a die-hard Illini basketball fan, it doesn’t get much better in the regular season than a win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. As a ‘famous’ local mayor told me last week after I took his challenge to fit a ‘mystery’ word into my c…

• Progress definitely this year was made by the Illinois football team under Bret Bielema, but how frustrating it is at the same time since ONE MORE WIN would have sent the Illini into a bowl game? Five of the Illini’s seven losses were by 10 points or less, including games against Purdue, R…

If you had any doubt the impact Ayo Dosunmu had on the Fighting Illini men’s basketball team, you don’t now. You can tell me about injuries, illnesses, suspensions and everything that has gone on so far in November, but let’s be honest. Brad Underwood and his team, even when they all finally…

• The Illinois football team missed a chance to pull off another upset Saturday in Iowa City against Will Peters’ Hawkeyes. Ryan Walters’ defense came through again, giving up only one offensive touchdown and four field goals in a 33-23 loss.

What am I doing getting worked up about a college basketball game a week before Thanksgiving? Well, on a lovely Monday evening I had time to sit down and take in our Fighting Illini in their first true test of the young men’s basketball season. And I have a few thoughts, as you might imagine...

Thoughts for all to ponder while we wonder who will take a chance on former Cardinal Carlos Martinez next season…

How does a .500 baseball team for five-plus months (that caught fire and won 17 games in a row - I know!) have five of the top eight fielders at each position in its respective league? Oh, and how does that same team (the St. Louis Cardinals) fire its manager that was a finalist for the Nati…

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• The Illini football team just cannot handle any kind of success, unfortunately. After that epic win at Penn State, the Illini came home and laid an egg in a very winnable game vs. the State University of New Jersey. I watched most of the first half before heading to the WHS playoff game, a…

The hypocrisy of the National Collegiate Athletic Association knows no bounds, of course. Sure, a three game suspension at the beginning of the season is a ‘slap on the wrist’ for Kofi Cockburn and the Illini, but it still doesn’t pass the smell test. The rules changed over the summer, right…

• Of course, I had not planned on paying much attention to the Illini football game Saturday in Happy Valley, figuring the top 10 ranked Nittany Lions would have little trouble with the Fighting Bielemas. Naturally, the Illini pulled out a win in NINE overtimes, in large part because both of…

Well, I have to say I was a little bit disappointed Monday morning. The Cardinals called a press conference to announce a new manager, and I was absolutely shocked that John Mozeliak did not announce that John Mozeliak was taking over as the new manager. Yep, I know, just hysterical...

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• I just had gotten home from my usual Thursday running around when I checked Twitter, and I was stunned to see that the Cardinals had fired manager Mike Shildt. Mr Bow Tie, John Mozeliak, cited ‘philosophical differences’ in the decision, though he denied multiple opportunities to elaborate…

Yes, Aaron Rodgers, you still ‘own’ the Chicago Bears. Any reasonable fan knew the Bears had to score more than 14 points to win that game, and they were proven correct. The Bears’ offense can run the ball, but that only gets you so far. Quarterback Justin Fields continues to hold the ball t…

• While the other columnist had already fallen asleep, our college roommate kept texting with me during the Cardinal game last Wednesday night. When Alex Reyes came in to relieve in the ninth, I texted him and basically predicted something bad would happen, and it did not take long for that …

The record will show that Justin Fields’ first victory on the road as a starter in the National Football League came against the Raiders in what surely will be Jon Gruden’s final game as a coach in the NFL. Yep, we all saw that coming, didn’t we?

Everyone wants my hot takes on the Cardinals, but there’s no chance this week. The big wild card game is on Wednesday night and you will know the outcome by the time you read this drivel. I got up at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to start on this mess, so good luck reading the rest...

• I wish I had put money on the Cardinals running off a 17-game win streak in September a month ago. Not only did they win their last 11 road games, they did it in many different ways (including two crazy plays in Saturday’s and Sunday’s games).

Sunday was a good day to watch sports on television (or your device of choice), but there was one game that was certifiably unwatchable. The Chicago Bears, GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy finally, at last, may have drafted a franchise quarterback. And three games into Justin Fields’ ro…

• My St. Louis Cardinals have decided to perk up in the last week, sweeping two key series against Scott Weller’s Metropolitans and then the free-falling San Diego Padres at Busch over the weekend, including with the 2011 World Series champs in the building.

Yes, I'm sure you all saw this coming. The Cardinals flop around all season, barely staying in contention for a playoff spot and hovering around .500. Fans and impatient local media folk rail for weeks and months on the roster issues and the changes that need to be made and on and on and on.…

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• Not that I expected Illinois to win at Virginia Saturday, but getting routed 42-14 and having the defense savaged was not a good look for Bret Bielema’s squad. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the defense was a concern going into this season, even with all the super seniors re…

No matter how many times I try to shovel dirt on the St. Louis Cardinals' season, the fact is that as of this writing the team is a half game out of the second Wild Card spot. Of course, that's only 17 games behind the other Wild Card team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. And with the Cardinals onl…

• No one said it would be smooth sailing for Bret Bielema and the Fighting Illini football team. The win over Nebraska was dulled after the loss to Texas-San Antonio Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Yes, UTSA is a Group of Five team that got paid $1.1 million to come to Champaign, but tha…

Yes, the Cardinals are in the 'race' for the second wild card spot in the National League. So are several other teams, in fact. That doesn't change the fact that this is just an average team, with a number of issues, and the season was put in crystal clear focus Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee…

• Even if the other team is not very good, like Scott Frost’s Nebraska Cornhuskers, opening with a win is never a bad thing, and the Bret Bielema era at the University of Illinois started with a Big 14 Conference win at a sultry Memorial Stadium Saturday.

• It was nice to see the Cardinals win a few road games earlier this month, but just because they went 6-0 did not mean I jumped back on the bandwagon, because those wins were against Andy Becker’s Pirates and the Kansas City Royals.

Hey everyone, it's hot outside. Look, something we can all agree on! In this polarizing world, where bias and half-truths rule the day, I'm not sure how you can argue that a heat index of 105 isn't hot. And that might be all we agree on, as once again I will dive into some non-sports topics …

Time for a week off from mask talk; this is a mask-free zone (for one week at least). But the 'stick to sports' crowd will once again be up in arms. Hey, I can't please everybody, and I never will. Nor would I ever want to...

• Before the Atlanta series, Cardinal manager Mike Shildt said he liked his team’s chances to make a run for the playoffs if they could win each of the 18 remaining series on the schedule. WELP! The first series, against Macon’s Brian Snitker, saw a sweep by the Tomahawk Chop-loving squad, a…

Welcome to Facemask Theater, August 2021-style. Yes, it's still going on, and yes, I don't see an end in sight. And it's never been a more hot button issue locally, either, with the Illinois State Fair getting underway this week and the new school year starting up as well.

Welcome to August 2021, also known as the major transition month back to insane workload levels for many of us, including yours truly. Schools will be back in session soon, football and volleyball practices (and so many other sports) are set to begin and we're enjoying the final days and wee…

• We all know that the Cardinals will make a run to the World Series title now, since they traded for 600-year-old J.A. Happ and 550-year-old Jon Lester last week! I am surprised that the Cardinals even made a trade or two, and while those players would have been better to get a few years ag…

• By the time you read this, it is quite likely that Vladimir Tarasenko will not be a member of the St. Louis Blues. The Seattle Kraken were slated to announce their expansion draft selections Wednesday night, after our press time, and reports are out there that Tarasenko could be picked by …

In an ode to crybaby Bryson DeChambeau, I'm gonna blame this week's terrible column on my computer, my employer, my loud neighbors, my wildly inconsistent golf game, Byron Painter, Donald Trump and, well, the entire Pritzker administration. Nothing I ever do is my fault; nor is anything 'cor…

It's Open Championship week, or the British Open, or whatever you want to call it. Yes, golf. Turn the page, I know. But who knows what you might miss???...

Since I did not bless this space last week, I have much more material than space, so let’s get going and see what fits…

My mind is wandering in a bunch of different places this week, and I'm not sure how that's any different than normal, but it will likely bring a mish-mash of topics. In other words, nothing is safe from discussion this week. Buckle up those seat belts...

• Nothing might indicate the dire straits of the Cardinals more than having a player named Lars Nootbaar on the roster! I admit I don’t follow the Cardinals and their minor league system as much as I used to, but Lars Nootbaar? Of course, he is off to a decent start for the Redbirds, who hav…

Hopefully by the time you read this, it will have stopped raining. I mean, I know I like to complain and I know some of you do too, but what a ridiculous weather pattern we have been in lately. We've seen lots of crops damaged and/or flooded, and that's obviously not a good thing, at all...

I'm not sure how off the rails this is going to be, but not all 'Phase 5s' are created equally, apparently. We're 'back to normal' in Illinois? Hardly. Ask the school superintendents, principals, teachers, kids and parents if we're 'back to normal?' And on college campuses? They won't let yo…

• Since the Cardinals have tanked, getting swept by Steve Hindert’s Cubbies over the weekend, I still am focusing a lot of attention on the Blues. Saturday was the two-year anniversary of them winning the Stanley Cup, so what did I do to celebrate? I watched Game 7 AGAIN! Bally Sports Midwes…