Redwolves and Jackrabbits- Redux

Paul Klee (left) with Loren and Jim.

Jim and Loren get these calls on weeks like this from neanderthal Fightin Illini fans who go on way too long about  how great this team is going to be based on two victories over rather weak opponents. I mean rather weak like Tboro junior high rather weak.

“This offense is going to exciting”. “These guys can block”. “They are really showing me something new”.

Tate bites his tongue…swills some coffee. Sighs in the mic.

Sorry. But the only new thing I am seeing is that it is easier to whoop up on minor teams from nowhere Arkansas and everywhere South Dakota- or was it North- than the likes of Rutgers and Missouri.

Speaking of the Tigers, who WERE ranked before being beaten by the team we face this week…the idea was to bag Mizzoo get some teams in here that we can score over 50 points on. But here comes one next Saturday that may be a bit of a problem.

And also speaking of piling up wins at the first of the season, in my humble opinion, I am fairly sure our piling days are done. We may add a few marginal wins here and there, but my prediction (you heard it for the 400th time and you heard it here) that you will be able to count the victories of this group of boys on one hand, thumb included perhaps.

Sand or no sand, I predict the Devils from Arizona will “tear up the pea patch”. Big time.

6p, next Saturday, Arizona State, in the house the Red built.

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She’s Still Got It!

Is the U of I in slow decline? No way! (Photo by Kevin Dooley from Flicker.)

Robert Easter teased us with it yesterday and today it is confirmed: the University of Illinois moved up a couple of notches in the academic ratings posted by US News and World Report.  US News published their annual rankings and reviews of Universities and colleges yesterday and the list starts as you would expect: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, EIU (little joke), Columbia, CIT, MIT and so on. And in this prestigious list we slipped from 39th to 47th. Various resons for this were given by Easter as quoted in the News Gazette this morning.

But the good news is that among public universities, the U of I moved from 15th to 13th.

Considering the state budget crisis, the Category I admissions scandal, changing leadership on campus, and the almost totally inept point leadership in state government- even staying in the rankings is a miracle for the old Alma Mater!

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Tim Johnson and Jesse Jackson, Jr.

“The American people are best served when members of Congress put aside our partisan differences and engage in open and honest dialogue with one another to address the pressing challenges facing our country. It is for this reason I plan to sit with my colleague and friend, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., at tonight’s Joint Session of Congress at which President Barack Obama will unveil his plan for economic recovery.

“While my colleague and I may not always agree on the best course of action needed to solve our nation’s problems, we both share in the same interest of serving our constituents to the best of our abilities. In order to do this, we must put an end to the hateful rhetoric found so frequently in Washington, DC.”  Tim Johnson

So they sat together last night and I say- good for them!

You could not ask for a more staunch Republican- always has been, nor a more Democrats Democrat than Johnson and Jackson have been over the years.

Another move by Representative Johnson of note lately was that he unveiled his proposal for a new approach to the budget process.True to his style, this was not so much an idea fueled by partisanship and positioning as it was a pragmatic and an across- the – isle solution to a bad system.

Tim has this simple plan “to create a more efficient and reliable Congressional budgeting process”. Basic idea he is proposing is to do the federal budget every two years and to time it so it never falls on an election year. Great idea.

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Redwolves and Jackrabbits?

Is this football or what?

Sounds like a piece off the Nature Channel.

But no…it’s the first two opponents the U of I football team faces this season. As a matter of fact they faced those Redwolves (never heard of such a beast for real) from Arkansas State, bit them hard, and sent them howling out of town.

And next week it is the Jackrabbits easing into town from South Dakota State to meet our boys…who have sand of course. They will roll- or hop – in from Brookings and there is good news: they can scream “gojacks!” all they want, but this team should be cake.

More good news.

There are plenty of tickets for this match…surprise! As a matter of fact the low (45,154) attendance at last weeks wolf deal was of real concern to our new athletic director, Mike Thomas. This morning’s News Gazette featured this issue and explained that Thomas would be knocking on a few doors (actually getting his coaches to do that), digging up some old tricks he used at Cincinnati, and looking at the “philosophy of scheduling”. Hey Mike- I’m not sure it is really a philosophy. This is football- smashmouth football and this is just called plain ole “scheduling teams you can cremate” so that when the Big 10 season comes. you have at least four wins…five if you can knock off Northwestern again this year.

 

Attendance can be an issue at Illini games...but at least the band is good!
Hey speaking of Northwestern, we aren't doing that run into the wall and switch direction Wrigley thing again are we? That place was built for baseball. Leave it alone.

Even more good news.

The next two games on the Illinois football schedule are very winnable and actually the whole season looks about as favorable to the Illini as it could be. And Thomas says winning is one of those things that is most important for bringing the faithful into the old house that Red built. Actually we all know that alcohol sales would do it a lot quicker- but that’s not going to happen.

Thomas knows what he is talking about I think. He packed out Nippert Stadium (great name!) by encouraging coaches to get out into the community and of course by showing Gilligan’s Island reruns on the jumbotron during time outs.

Did I miss something?

I was just poking around on this football schedule site and I saw this info on Illinois:

Location: Champaign, Illinois
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Capacity: 62,872
Mascot: None
Conference: Big Ten
Schedule: 2011 Football Schedule

Two things- I had no idea that that place held over 62,000 fans- Thomas has his work cut out for him.

Also we have “none” for a mascot? I know the Chief is gone- sort of – but did we not replace that racist image? We can think of something…anything- even a Jackrabbit  – would be better than NONE! Can you imagine the dance they have at halftime up there in South Dakota?

Here is how to get tickets.

I used to just call Mad Max back in the 80s to get good tickets…or go around the corner on Ells to his house …or catch him along Kirby before the game. Max was a Champaign legend.

But I think the approved method now for Illinois football tickets is to go to this site and buy them.

Prices are $50 for these first five winnable games and $65 for the last three loosable ones. Hmm…not sure I get the logic of the pricing structure. I guess we pay a bit more for the pleasure of seeing our boys in orange just maybe knock off Ohio State or Michigan or Wisconsin….maybe.

I will tell you something my friend: I saw those Wisconsin guys play on TV last week and to be sure, they play like Badgers- not Jackrabbits!

We're loyal to you, Illinois...have a great season!
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Market at the Square in Downtown Urbana

When is it? Every Saturday morning, 7 AM-12 noon, rain or shine

Where is it? Corner of Illinois & Vine Streets in Downtown Urbana

Why do you not want to miss it?

  • Market at the Square is one of the largest and most diverse farmers’ markets in Illinois, and helps demonstrate Urbana’s firm commitment to sustainability.
  • This gateway into Lincoln Square Village and historic downtown Urbana has enjoyed steady patronage since its inception in 1979…and over the years it has been alot of fun!
  • Market at the Square showcased over 170 registered vendors in 2009, and people flock in by the thousands each weekend.
  • You can choose from a wide variety of made-in-Illinois goods at the Market, including fresh produce, meat and dairy products, prepared foods, plants, and flowers to jewelry, pottery, wood workings, candles, bodycare products, garden décor, clothing, and more!

 

Join thousands of residents and visitors during Market season and connect with growers. Choose locally-raised foods and treasure-hunt among the art and craft vendor booths. Gather information about local non-profits, schools and other community groups on our Community Row. Catch up with friends, take in a set from local performers, and enjoy the public square atmosphere the Market has to offer.

Saturday morning at Market at the Square is one of Urbana’s signature institutions. It’s a great way to kick off your Saturday!

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Fall Events Around Champaign Urbana

Urbana really has the festivals.....here the big stage for the Blues, Brews, and Barbeques in the spring.

Both Champaign and Urbana have various great events during the year. Blues, local bands of all kinds, arts, food- and there is a great weekly farmer’s market in downtown Urbana from spring through fall.

The Urbana Business Association is hosting the 36th Annual Sweetcorn Festival & The Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce is converting downtown Mahomet into the Sangamon River Music Festival.   Both communities invite you to come out and spend the weekend with them.

Coming up soon is the 36th annual Sweetcorn Festival in downtown Urbana August 26 and 27.

Here is the lineup for this free event.

Friday:

5:30 – 6:45 THE BRAT PACK

7:15 – 8:45 The Tons O’ Fun Band

9:15 – 10:45 Headlining – The Boat Drunks

Saturday:

6:00 – 7:00 Lou Dibello Band

7:30 – 8:15 The Feudin’ Hillbillys

9:00 – 10:30 SURVIVOR

For a complete list of activities, <<click here.

Also coming up is the Sangamon River Festival in Downtown Mahomet…one of the truly local festivals.

Here is part of the lineup…

Friday, August 26:
4:00-7:00pm
5:00-10:00pm
5:00-11:00pm
6:00-8:15pm
6:00-8:00pm
8:45-11:00pm
Raminator Monster Truck Rides
Carnival Rides, $17 Armbands
Booth Vendors & Food Court
“Kings Highway”
Bingo – At the Community Building
“Ryan Ideus & Feudin Hillbillys”

Saturday, August 27:
10:00am
11:00am-11:00pm
11:00am-10:00pm
11:00am-7:00pm
11:30am
12:pm-2:00pm
1:00-3:00pm
2:00-6:30pm
2:45-5:00pm
5:30-8:00pm
6:00-8:00pm
8:30-11:00pm
Parade – Begins at Lincoln Trail School
Booth Vendors & Food Court
Carnival Rides $17 Armbands
Raminator Monster Truck Rides
Ronald McDonald Magic Show at Masonic Lodge
“ApologetiX”
Bingo – At the Community Building
CAR SHOW at Sangamon School Parking Lot
“Renegade”
“Poprocks”
Bingo – At the Community Building
Blooze Brothers

Have fun!!!

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