Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
From the Chicago Tribune website:
It's being reported on 106.5 "The Ticket" in Toledo that Tim Beckman, coach of the Toledo Rockets, will be replacing Ron Zook at Illinois next year. This is not a done deal yet, but it is expected to be announced sometime soon.
If this goes through, I think this will be a pretty good move for Illinois. As seen on several Wednesday/Thursday games on ESPN, his team does not know how to play defense, but overall Beckman has done a solid job with the Rocket's team in the past 3 years and has done real well on the recruiting front (The Ticket said his recruiting class last year was 1st in the MAC and would have been the 5th best class in the B1G).
Thought I'd take some time while working nights to see how the Big Ten has done in the Sugar Bowl, historically.
I included Nebraska, Penn State, and Notre Dame, despite not being Big 10 when they played in the bowl (or in ND's case they're still not).
The Big 10 (plus Nebraska, PSU, and ND) is 6-10 all-time in the Sugar Bowl. In their victories, they won by an average of 10 points. Notre Dame (’73, ’92), Nebraska (’85, ’87), and Ohio (’99, ’11 [according to some this game never actually happened]) all have won two apiece.
In their 10 losses, they lost by an average of 15 points. Penn State leads the way with three losses (’72, ’75, ’79) while Ohio (’78, ’98) and Notre Dame (’81, ’07) each have two. Michigan (’84), Nebraska (’67), and Illinois (’02) each have one.
Virginia Tech, meanwhile, has played in three Sugar Bowls (’95, ’00, ’05), losing all but one ('95--thanks btjabrone). They lost by an average margin of approximately 2 points a game.
This probably won’t tell us anything, but I was interested to see how our conference has performed thus far, and how VT has fared.
*All data and image taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_Bowl
Athlon sports looks at the coaching candidates to take over at Illinois, for the fired Ron Zook.
Tim Beckman, head coach, Toledo – Beckman is a rising star in the non-BCS ranks, leading Toledo to a 21-16 record over the last three seasons. The Rockets fell just short of winning the MAC West title this year, but have earned a bowl trip for the second season in a row. Beckman also has coaching stops as an assistant at Bowling Green, Ohio State and Oklahoma State.
Ron English, head coach, Eastern Michigan – Coaching in Ypsilanti at Eastern Michigan is arguably one of the toughest jobs in college football. English has made steady improvements, starting 2-22 through his first two years, but leading the Eagles to a 6-6 record in 2011. While six wins may not seem like much, before this season’s record, Eastern Michigan had only two seasons of at least six victories since 1988. English has Big Ten coaching experience, working under Lloyd Carr at Michigan from 2003-07. He may not be the flashiest name, but he’s a no-nonsense coach and someone who can get results at a bigger program.
Brent Venables, defensive coordinator, Oklahoma – Venables is regarded as one of the top assistants in the nation. He does not have any head coaching experience, but has worked under two of the best in college football: Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma). While Venables is likely to come up in this search, he could be more interested in the opening at Kansas.
Out of the candidates listed, I think these three are the best options. But, I'd respectfully like to add a candidate close to home, that they neglected to mention.
Seeing as we just came off of a great performance against good ol' Ron Zook, I figured I'd pass along an "Uninformed Zook" meme bank that I came across earlier today. Many of them are pretty funny, but here's one referencing last year's Michigan game:
There's quite a few gems in there across eight pages that had me laughing. Hopefully these start popping up across the interwebs. Share your favorites.
Mr. O'Shea Jackson says it best.
It was a good day. Let's enjoy it.