Iím Thankful for an Illini Thanksgiving
By Jeff Mayfield
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[December 01, 2014]
If you are an Illini fan, and most of
the cool kids are, could you have scripted a more fun or more
exciting Thanksgiving weekend? I think not.
First the men's basketball team went out to Las
Vegas, smoked Indiana State and then made a great second half rally
to dump the Baylor Bears to win the tournament! The Illini have
started the season with a sparkling 6-0 record.
Not to be out done the lady Illini upset No. 9 Kentucky and the
volleyball ladies clubbed Michigan and are once again on their way
to the NCAA tourney where they will host two rounds as the overall
No. 9 seed. Throw-in some high school and junior high wins along the
way and I had to eat more congratulatory pumpkin pie than you can
shake some cool whip at.
What I wasn't expecting was a college football team to show up in
Illini white uniforms up in Ryan field at Northwestern on Saturday.
Not that I didn't think they were capable, because I thought they
were earlier this season and I said so...but because they haven't
looked as much like a college football team in the middle portion of
the schedule. In fact, they looked so lost most of the time the
LDNís own Greg Taylor remarked, "Have these guys even practiced?" I
had to agree with him. And even though the fans deserted them like
rats on the sinking titanic, they somehow upset Minnesota for
homecoming, beat Penn State which always does my heart good, but
still needed one more win to become bowl eligible and show that they
have made some progress.
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I hate to say it as a homer reporter for the good guys, but I
saw little chance of an Illinois victory on the lakeshore.
However, Illinois didn't just beat the mildcats- they pummeled
them! The Illini hammered them into submission. I guess that
Illinois didn't want to say goodbye to their coach. They beat
Northwestern in every facet of the game and should find out
their bowl assignment next weekend. I'm in disbelief that I even
just typed that last sentence. It doesn't seem like it
belongs...that's the way the Illini felt, but now they do!
Congrats to coach Beckman, to Reilly O'Toole, to the seniors,
and to the Illinois football team...I hate to admit it, but I
sure didn't see that coming!
As for the hoopsters, we'll soon see how good they really are as
well. Tues night they'll travel to Miami, FL - I have to get on
a travel schedule like that; anybody want to fund that?-to face
Jim Larranaga's tough Miami Hurricane. They will return home for
a game versus American which I know nothing about. After that
they will tackle an outstanding Villanova squad out east before
returning to Chicago to face always challenging Dana Altman and
his Oregon Beavers. I donít know how itís all going to pan out
butÖI say, keep passing the turkey leftovers and let's just keep
on winning! I want this Thanksgiving weekend feeling to continue
all the way through 2015!
Make it a great week everybody!
[By JEFF MAYFIELD]
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