Bryan: Now that we've sent you a team this week (head over to Off Tackle Empire to see who gets promoted), it's now our turn to receive a newcomer. Last week you, thankfully, avoided giving us Michigan, but we got Penn State instead. This week, I'd imagine Penn State is safe, and Michigan is still terrible, but I have a feeling we're getting a free case of Champaign. Am I right?
Jesse: Well, it's hard not to relegate a team that just made Purdue, of all teams, look like a powerhouse run team. So yes, this week we're sending down the Fighting Illini. They deserve it.
I mentioned this in one of our comment sections this week, but Tim Beckman is probably the foremost example of what happens when you hire a coach based on one year of good returns and ignore the possibility that he has no clue what he's doing. I might have had the fun honor of giving you the Wolverines even in spite of the absurdity that was losing to a Big Ten team that had no conference wins in two years, but then Beckman had to go and start spouting off defenses of his tenure with, "But hey, if we win out, we will win nine games." NO KIDDING!
But really, the Illini prove a lot of things about defense winning... anything. Illinois is currently sitting at 115th in the NCAA in Yards allowed per game, and if you've watched them play recently, you realize that it's mostly due to the fact that their scheme basically allows any OLine with a pulse open up holes that my scrawny little self could walk through. Even before they lost their best offensive weapon, the Illini were in trouble. Now? Well, now I'm worried they don't win one more game. Oh, and it sounds like they're about to burn the RS of their 4* QB who has now sat out half the season because REASONS. So have fun with the Illini...
Bryan: High-profile injured quarterbacks, terrible roster management, no defense. are you sure you're not just sending us another MAC team?
OK, so no defense, and the entirety of the Illini's offense is done for awhile. Is there anything this team can do well? Any reason MAC fans should be concerned about the return of Beckman?
Jesse: Well, in theory, I think Beckman can recruit... so there's that. But I'm honestly not sure what their strength is. They have probably the best freshman receiver in the Big Ten in Mikey Dudek, but that's probably not going to help them that much if there is no one to throw him the ball. Defensively? Seriously, I just really think there is nothing that can be done for the Illini on that side of the ball at this point.
In fact, probably the best part of having the Illini will be to watch Josh Ferguson run the ball. He has deceptive speed, really good field vision, and is getting some yards in spite of his OL, QB, Coach, team, etc. He fights and fights and fights, and I like the spirit he has. In fact, if you have some bad defenses, he might even have one of those record days. Those are always fun. But, uh, other than that, it's not looking good. I think Beckman is basically a lame duck coach at this point.
Bryan: BAD DEFENSES? We have those on stockpile. Three teams allowing over 40 points a game. Four allowing over 200 yards a game on the ground. If Illinois can score some points without Wes Lunt, at the rate that this MAC season is going, the Illini could possibly win it all. I think it's safe to say that the Illini are going to be at least a middle of the pack team. With the right combination of awful officiating, UMass-like performances from opponents, and talent, Illinois could wind up in Detroit come December. YAY! DETROIT!
Jesse: If we're being completely honest, the Illini faithful would be pumped at the prospect of Detroit right now. It's a far better fate than what is probably ahead of them. And before anyone says I'm piling on, just know that I firmly believe that Illinois could be decent. They need to go find a coach who also believes that. Beckman is not that coach. I know, I know. #HOTTAKES and all.
So this is kind of where we end up for the week? We get Zippy for the second week in a row, and Illinois gets to be the first two time relegated team. Fun stuff! Anything else we missed?
Remember to head on over to OTE for the other part of the B1G-MAC Swap this week.