Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder how the Illinois football team will play the rest of the season after one of the biggest upsets in recent college history…
• I did not get to see any of the Illinois game Saturday, due to multiple coverage events, but I was checking my phone for scores every so often. The brilliant people I was standing with at the regional final soccer match all agreed that we did not give Illinois much of a chance against the unbeaten Wisconsin Badgers, who had only been scored upon in TWO of their previous six games. So imagine my surprise as the game stayed close. I had not checked the score for a while after it was 23-14, but to see that James McCourt nailed a field goal on the final play of the game to finish off the shocker (as an aside, how big of a letdown would it have been if McCourt had missed that kick? I shudder at that thought!).
This will take Lovie Smith off the hot seat for a while, maybe even the rest of the season, assuming no horrible games from here on out. With three wins and games against Purdue, Rutgers and Chicago’s Big 10 team left, there is now a realistic road to six wins, but the Illini must win Saturday in West Lafayette in my opinion. Nothing would slow the momentum of that big win in Champaign Saturday (thanks in part to some uncharacteristic mistakes by the usually fundamentally strong Badgers) than by going east and getting beat by the Boilermakers.
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