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Either Tim Beckman Is Going To Illinois Or A Funeral, Or Both

It's probably true, as are these things, but if we've learned anything in the Internet age, you can only put a percentage on the likelihood of things before the rug is pulled out from beneath you. Still, it's looking like Tim Beckman is going to be the next head coach at Illinois, becoming the second MAC->B1G coach in as many years (Jerry Kill to Minnesota).

I'm sure Rockets fans would be a little disappointed in this, but given the state of MAC coaching in the last two years, anyone viable in the conference is soon to jump to the next level, and I began to accept this as early as last year. Beckman just has that stature about him: he's focused and his approach is very scalable to any other program.

WNWO-TV tried to withdraw an answer out of Beckman after a practice today, but was mournblocked on account of Beckman headed to attend the funeral of his former college, Ohio State assistant coach Joe Daniels. Out of respect, they said, they backed down from being more aggressive in their questioning.

Although ... look, if they decline comment, how is it more journalistic to ask the same question again, or to rephrase it? Declining comment is declining comment. Funeral or no funeral. Then again, funerals didn't stop Akron from announcing coaching changes.

But if he does leave, then let that be another tally on the MAC's wall of coaches who've stepped up from AQ conference coordinator to mid-major head coach and then to major-major head coach. If you want to get silly about it the last time someone replaced Ron Zook as head coach they won two national titles.

Beckman had an A-plus game plan against Ohio State, which they lost by five points. He did very admirably all season, from a near-loss at Syracuse to a rout of Temple — despite losing several starters on both sides of the ball. Back-to-back eight-win seasons, despite no MAC West division titles, was a dandy of a rebuild job on the fly considering where Toledo was (PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE POINT SHAVING). Then again Toledo is a rebuildable program. It's widely considered one of the most affluent in the MAC, not only because of location but population and support. Whoever Mike O'Brien hires to replace him will seem to be a solid hire.

And the beat goes on.