Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast Can Zeke channel Eddie George

The bye week is over and we can talk about an actual football game. Chip and I reviewed the Minnesota game, I may or may not have had a hot take about Buckeye fans and Cardale Jones.

We had the great privilege of discussing the Illinois Fighting Illini with Robert Rosenthal from We discussed what is going on in Champaign in regards to the coaching search, athletic director search since it just became available this week. We eventually actually discussed the Illinois football team, he had to bring up 2007 and I had to talk about Eddie George and if it’s possible Zeke can go Eddie George mode on them Saturday.

Robert was nice enough to join us for our MotSaG Pick ’em segment, we also answered our listener questions in the #askmotsag segment. We once again want to thank our listeners for submitting questions and love that you all are helping the show grow so much. Without you, we are nothing so we surely appreciate you all.


Check out this episode!

Let Me Fix Your Team: Illinois

I look around college football and I see a lot of disgruntled fan bases. They aren’t happy with their team whether it’s the coaching, the play on the field, all of the losing or a combination of these three. When I see these problems I start to think of a solution for these teams, but I never put them on paper. But in you’re luck now downtrodden schools! Now I’ve decided to use my expertise to help you through your issues. With my help you’ll be a winner in no time. Just call me Doctor Josh.

So who’s my first lucky patient? Fellow Big Ten brother Illinois!

Patient: Illinois
Status: 3-4 (0-3 Big Ten)
Current Fan Base Mood: Depressed and hopeless. Want Tim Beckman’s head on a platter.
Most Embarrassing Moment of the Season: Lost to Purdue at home. Ouch.

Dr. Josh’s Advice: First you need to fire Tim Beckman. That should’ve happened by now. Do you think he’s just going to miraculous turn this season around? Your best player, quarterback Wes Lunt, is done for the season with a broken leg. You lost to freaking Purdue! That’s terrible, even by Illinois standards. You gave Beckman a shot and now it’s time to let him spread his wings and fly back to the MAC.

Second you need to wake up every day with a smile. Just think about the success of the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Bulls, Jay Cutler, Illinois basketball. On second thought just remind yourselves that at least you’re not Kansas and paying Charlie Weis lots of money to do nothing.


Prescription: Hire Will Muschamp! The last time you hired an ex-Florida coach, things worked out great for you guys. You beat Ohio State and went to the Rose Bowl in the same season! Not even Michigan can say they’ve done both these things in the same season the last 10 years. Nothing can possibly go wrong by hiring another ex-Florida coach. Muschamp even took them to the Sugar Bowl. SEC! That means something. On top of that Muschamp runs a high-octane offense that puts lots of points on the board. Florida fans can’t get enough of his charisma and charming personality. When he leaves Gainesville there’s going to be so many tears running down the faces of Gator fans. He’s the greatest coach they’ve had since Urban Meyer. This is a no-lose hire. It’s a match made in heaven! So it’s settled. You’re hiring Muschamp and going straight to the top, Illinois! I guarantee it.

The first of many satisfied patients! You’re welcome Illinois fans. Let me know what team I should examine the next week in the comments.

Q&A with an Opponents Blogger:Illinois Fighting Illini

The Buckeyes have another strong opponent this weekend the Illinois Fighting Illini. What did B1G basketball start already? Seriously Illinois has been a team to upset the Buckeyes in years past and here to help me with this weeks post is Robert from

MotSaG: Two years into the process and many folks are calling for Tim Beckman to be removed, has the team lost the confidence in their coach also?

IlliniBoard: I don’t get that sense. Compared to other teams, this seems like a tight-knit group that is fairly close with the coaches. At least compared to last year. During Beckman’s first season, there was a lot of chatter about the seniors on defense not liking the scheme change and the offensive players not meshing with the co-coordinators. That’s been completely different this year, from spring ball through today. This team is very close. They’re just all stuggling under the weight of this conference losing streak.

MotSaG: Beckman said this week his team is aware of the unfortunate 19 game conference skid but are making strides do fans see them making these strides?

IlliniBoard: This is a tough question to answer. I think I need to explain the Illini fanbase to answer that.

Mike White and then John Mackovic built the program in the 80’s, and in 1990, I’d say it was Michigan and Ohio State and then Illinois-Iowa-MSU for the next tier in the Big Ten. Illinois was going to bowl after bowl and were ranked as high as #5 that year. Since Mackovic left for Texas, nothing has gone right. It’s been 22 years of digging a giant hole. Bad coaching hires, changing coordinators and systems year after year, and an athletic director that scheduled the most difficult non-conference schedule in the nation becuase “we’re not afraid to play anybody”.

So fans are fed up. At the first sign of the football season going south, I’d say the majority of the fanbase tunes out. It’s just been too many years of bad decisions and poor leadership. To make things worse, the program has teased fans with two BCS bowls (2001 and 2007), only to fall right back down.

To your question: there have been strides, and the offense is greatly improved, but that’s asking a lot of this fanbase to see them. The coaching staff continues to get sideline penalties for tripping officials (two last year and, unbelievably, two this year). Illini fans will just repeat the words “fire the coach” over and over until we win eight games for three consecutive years. Can you blame them?

MotSaG: What are the chances the famed IlliBuck stays in Champaign?

IlliniBoard: 2.41%

This game is always weird – remember when Ohio State came to Champaign in 2006, played a 2-8 Illini team, and only won by seven? Strange things happen in this game when Ohio State is thinking national title game (overtime in 2002, 7 point game in 2006, Illini win in 2007).

But no, there’s no chance. OK, a 2.41% chance.

MotSaG: the Fighting Illini fans be out in full support Saturday or will there be Scarlet overrunning Memorial Stadium?

IlliniBoard: The 2002 game was overrruning with Scarlet. Since then, though, Ohio State crowds in Champaign have been muted. I never understood why. We have the cheapest tickets in the conference. You can probably get four tickets on the street for $80 total. Why not make the drive to Champaign? If I had a program like Ohio State, I’d drive 1,800 miles for $20 tickets.

To the first part of your question, no, Fighting Illini fans will not be out in full support. 34 dogs at home as you approach the second longest conference losing streak in history? Would you go?

MotSaG: What are Illinois fans looking forward to the most for the Buckeye match-up?

IlliniBoard: For it to be over with no injured players. I’m kind of serious.

MotSaG: I read on one of your message boards that fans are surprised that the spread for the game is like 33 points do they not have enough faith in their team that it should be less?

IlliniBoard: This defense lost nine starters last year. To make matters worse, Ron Zook stopped recruiting cornerbacks and safeties around 2008 or so, which means that nearly the entire secondary is made up of first and second year players (it’s not that he’s playing the young guys to build for the future – he only has young guys). No member of the starting defensive line had a single Big Ten offer from any other school.

So if Ohio State wants to run for 400 yards on Saturday, they can just do that, no questions asked. There’s literally nothing we can do to stop it. We just don’t have the horses. Our only chance this year is to force turnovers… and we’re dead last in the Big Ten at that. So watching an Illinois game feels a bit inevitable. Giving up six or seven yards on the ground every play and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

MotSaG: Ohio State is 282-0-1 when they score 35 points or more and Illinois is allowing an average of 34.7 a game, do the Buckeyes keep their streak alive and score more than 35?

IlliniBoard: Without question.

MotSaG: Weakness you see on the Buckeyes defense?

IlliniBoard: The one thing Illinois has going for it this season is that Nathan Scheelhaase is having an outstanding season. There’s not a single player on this offense that will sniff the NFL draft, and he’s taking that offense and putting up big numbers. Put him on a team with an average defense and people would be noticing his season.

So the one thing we can do is throw the ball a little bit, and the one thing Ohio State struggles with a little bit is passing defense. Teams that can throw a little bit – Cal, Northwestern – have put up some yards and points against you.

Is that enough to say “watch out for 400 yards from Scheelhaase”? No. I’m not sure we can contain the Ohio State pass rush, so Nathan would have to make these plays while scrambling around. But you asked if I saw a weakness, and the one (and only) thing we do well is the one (and only) thing Ohio State has struggled with a bit.

MotSaG: What does Illinois need to get recruiting wise to improve the team for next season?

IlliniBoard: This is the youngest Illini team in maybe 20 years. Starting with only having 10 seniors. So this might be the smallest Illini recruiting class in 20 years. Maybe 14-16 players. Last year was a full 25, but this year will be 10 less.

So most of the class is already verballed. And the biggest get is already on campus (Wes Lunt, 4-star QB who transferred from Oklahoma State). The rest of the class is… underwhelming. It will finish 12th out of 12 in the Big Ten rankings. So yeah, things are going great in Champaign!

MotSaG: What is your prediction?

IlliniBoard: Again, this game is always screwy when Ohio State is trying to get to the title game. So I could see some crazy game like Rams/Colts last Sunday: the Rams had 12 first downs the entire game and won by 30. Becuase football is sometimes football.

So put me down for the Illini covering the spread. Also, I won’t be in the press box for this game as my son has a high school playoff game that day. That’s a near guarantee that the game is close becuase I always miss all the good stuff.

Still, Ohio State wins easily. I have this thing where I won’t put down a score prediction until the Friday night before the game, so I can’t give you a score, but put me down for “Ohio State wins easily but Illinois covers the spread”.

As Robert stated this game shouldn’t even be close. I would like to thank Robert who you can find on twitter @AlionEye or read his stuff at, his work is outstanding and a joy to read.

If you want to get involved and have questions about upcoming opponents feel free to send them in to me and I can send them on. Email your questions to or Would love to know your thoughts on this post and hope you enjoyed it.