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.

The B1G Is In BIG Trouble On The Coaching Front

There is an old axiom that football teams take upon the personality of their head coach. For Ohio State fans, think back to when Jim Tressel was on the sidelines as Ohio State’s head coach from 2001-2010. During close games, most especially during the 2002 national championship season, Tressel remained calm and composed. Consequently, a player such as Craig Krenzel seemed to also remain calm and focused, especially when the game was on the line for the Buckeyes.

This article is not going to be about how Ohio State has taken upon the personality of Coach Urban Meyer. Ohio State fans, and college football fans everywhere, will generally acknowledge that Coach Meyer is one of the best coaches in college football. Ohio State does not have to worry about the positive direction of the football program under Coach Meyer.

The rest of the B1G? I will be charitable when I say, “Ugh”.

There are so many theories that are being offered up for the decline of B1G football – Population shifts to the Southern areas of the country. Oversigning of recruits by other conferences, most notably from the SEC.

My theory? It all starts with the coaching, or lack thereof.

For example, here are some of the names who were B1G coaches in 2004: The aforementioned Jim Tressel. Lloyd Carr, who shared the national title in 1997, and won five B1G titles during his tenure. Joe Paterno, who won two national championships while at Penn State (1982, 1986), and could have arguably won others, such as the 1994 season. Joe Tiller, who won the B1G title in 2000 and led Purdue to the 2001 Rose Bowl. Barry Alvarez, who built Wisconsin football into a top program and won three B1G titles. Glen Mason, who made every school he coached at into a competitive team (Kent State, Kansas, Minnesota). Randy Walker, the winningest coach in Miami University football history and the man who helped to make Northwestern competitive via the spread offense.

Now think about who is on the sidelines today: Only a few truly respected coaches, such as Coach Meyer. James Franklin has won at Vanderbilt, and will win at Penn State. Mark Dantonio won the B1G in 2013 and his Michigan State team ranked fourth in the nation at season’s end.

The reality is the rest of the conference have entrusted their programs to individuals who are not necessarily in-demand on the coaching front. I believe Darrell Hazell of Purdue has potential, but will Hazell be able to turn Purdue around? Pat Fitzgerald may have done all he can at Northwestern. Jerry Kill may have done the same at Minnesota. I believe Brady Hoke is demonstrating to fans of That Team Up North what is meant by The Peter Principle. And Kirk Ferentz of Iowa, who has been the team’s head coach since 1999, has a contract that makes it virtually impossible to be replaced. Tim Beckman of Illinois has taken a bad situation from Ron Zook, and somehow made it worse.

December is usually when programs determine to replace their head coaches. Based upon the dismal performances and reputation of B1G football in 2014, do not be surprised if the axe falls more frequently than ever before. What remains to be seen is if the respective B1G institutions decide to open up their checkbooks to truly bring in quality coaches, like other conferences seem to be willing to do to be relevant within the college football landscape.

Ranking The 2014 Ohio State Football Schedule (Part One)

As Ohio State fans everywhere anxiously count down the days toward the start of a new football season, it is somewhat natural to review the schedule from start to finish. Which game looks to be the easiest? Which game may be the most difficult or challenging? Which game could be a trap for the Buckeyes?

Over the period of two articles, I will give you my perspective on the 2014 Ohio State football schedule, ranking the games from the perceived easiest, through the games that could truly jeopardize Ohio State’s goals of winning the B1G Championship in 2014. Let us begin.

I. Easiest: By my definition, Ohio State should have this type of game well in hand by the end of the first half, and certainly by the end of the third quarter. These are the type of games where it would truly serve Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer to play as many backup players as possible, for live game action and skill development.

1. Kent State (09/13/2014 – 12pm EST kickoff, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 telecast): A sort of homecoming for former Ohio State assistant Paul Haynes and former Buckeye Najee Murray, this game might get out of hand in a hurry, if past games versus the Golden Flashes are any indication (2002 – Ohio State 51, Kent State 17. 2007 – Ohio State 48, Kent State 3). Yes, I know that Kent State played well in 2012 (11-3 record), but I believe Kent State will be overwhelmed by the superior speed and athleticism of the Buckeyes in this one.

2. Illinois (11/01/2014 – 8pm EST kickoff, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2): Last season, Illinois played Ohio State tough until the fourth quarter before losing, 60-35. Considering how Illinois head coach Tim Beckman is under fire to save his job, how Ohio State is looking at a challenging slate of November contests, and how this will be under the lights in Ohio Stadium for Halloween weekend, I see Coach Meyer wanting to send a message with this one.

3. Rutgers (10/18/2014 – 3:30pm EST kickoff, telecast TBD): Rutgers’ first visit to Ohio Stadium may not be an easy one. Rutgers has a bye week before the contest with Ohio State. Unfortunately for them, so do the Buckeyes. This might be the game that spends Rutgers’ first season in The B1G into a downward spiral.

4. Indiana (11/22/2014 – kickoff and telecast TBD): In 2013, Ohio State had this game well in hand 28-0 by the end of the first half. Indiana did not score until late, losing 42-14. While Indiana has probably made strides defensively, the fact that this game will serve as Ohio State’s final home game of the 2014 season does not bode well for the Hoosiers.

II. Trap Games: Any football coach worries about complacency and overlooking their opponents. Several of these teams have the talent and coaching to stick with Ohio State, possibly until the end of the contest.

5. @ Maryland (10/04/2014 – kickoff and telecast TBD): Maybe I am giving the Terrapins too much credit, but I believe Byrd Stadium will be well-amped for the first B1G contest between Maryland and Ohio State. Maryland WR Stefon Diggs was heavily coveted by Coach Meyer in 2012, and could play for any football team in the country. Ohio State will win this game, but I look for this one to last until the end of the third quarter before the Buckeyes pull away.

6. @ Penn State (10/25/2014 – 8pm EST kickoff, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2): The designated “white out” game for the Nittany Lions, Penn State head coach James Franklin will do his best to have the fans and the players ready for this one. Ohio State is familiar with the “white out” theme, having played at Penn State in 2012 in a similar theme. Another bonus for Penn State is the Nittany Lions will have a bye week before this contest, while Ohio State will not. Revenge will be a topic, as Penn State looks to avenge its 63-14 mauling by Ohio State from last season. Look for a Buckeye victory, but for it not to be easy.

Part two will cover the remaining 2014 Ohio State contests, ranking the games in difficulty as I see them. Hope to see you then.