Introducing IlliniQuest Comment Count

Brian October 30th, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Last year Minnesota flirted with being the worst Big Ten team in about 50 years until they had the audacity to win games at the end of the year. Ugh, as if.

Anyway, Illinois has just lost to Indiana to go to 0-4 in the league and it's time to fire up ILLINIQUEST. Traditional weird mascot:


Let's do it.


The worst team in Big Ten history has no wins and no ties; nonconference doesn't matter; 1930 is the cutoff since before that teams played highly variable schedules. Teams from WWII are included. We are going on a straight ranking by scoring ratio, which is:

point scored / (points scored + opponent points scored)

This should help normalize for the fact that football has gotten progressively higher-scoring as the years have progressed.

If they lose all their games Illinois will be the worst team since X if they do Y…

2005: Lose all their games

The last winless Big Ten team was 2005 Illinois.

1981: Lose and finish with scoring ratio below 21%

2005 Illinois managed 21% and their 1997 team matched that. The 1981 Northwestern Wildcats scored 75 points in nine league games but gave up 425 for a scoring ratio of 15%.

1961: Lose and finish with scoring ratio below 15%

1961 Illlinois never reached double digits or came within two touchdowns of an opponent (23-9 versus Purdue was their closest game) and had a scoring ratio of 12.3%.

1960: Lose, scoring ratio below 12.3%

1960 Indiana managed just 11.8.

1957: Lose, scoring ratio below 11.5%

1957 Indiana.

1944: Lose, scoring ratio below 8.9%

Iowa 1944 set a low bar, and then they lost to Iowa Pre-Flight, though Iowa Pre-Flight was 10-1 that year.

Pretty Much Ever: Lose, scoring ratio below 8.7%

Harry Kipke's 1934 Wolverines managed this.



Illinois is currently on pace to be the worst Big Ten team since…


Illinois's scoring percentage stands at 21%. The Illini are a couple of bad games from falling to 1981, but they're scoring too much to be threatening the 1960s like Minnesota did last year. Those Northwestern teams were horrible almost beyond modern comprehension, and the league isn't good enough to pound bad teams as much as they should be.

NEXT WEEK: Illinois takes on undefeated Ohio State.


Purdue's nowhere near as depressing as certain past teams: their scoring ratio is currently 33%.



October 30th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

The UFR is going to be tough for the offense one.  I'm looking forward to the D one though, I thought they did pretty damn good saturday. 

What's really keeping Brian busy this week probably is TWIS.  The threads here had quite the meltdown so it might take him awhile to find the best stuff.


October 30th, 2012 at 11:22 AM ^

But in addition to getting what you pay for, you need to have interest. Which jobs were recently open?

Jobs that weren't available in the last couple years: Wisky, MSU, NU, the other NU, Purdue, Iowa.

In terms of marquee openings, OSU did well and based on recruiting so far we have too. No one was going near PSU with a 10 ft pole, and the jury is still out on O'Brien. Who wanted that job? Not a big name

Who wants the Illinois job? They were terrible last year, and as seen by IlliniQuest, they haven't exactly lit the world on fire in recent history either. Minnesota?  Same story, but worse. Indiana? Wilson is doing OK so far, or amazing by IU standards.  

Some idiot asked Hoke if Michigan was still a premier job (fergodsakes), but how would Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, or PSU have gotten marquee coaches in the last few years?

Ali G Bomaye

October 30th, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

Schools can hire good coaches by throwing down $$$, whether they are traditional powers or not.  South Carolina (historically terrible until the past decade or so) hired Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier back-to-back.  Mississippi State, usually the worst team in their division, hired Dan Mullen, who had coordinated two national championship-winning offenses at Florida.  Even Vanderbilt hired James Franklin, who was a more accomplished coach at the college level than any recent B1G hire other than Meyer and Hoke.

Outside the SEC, Duke got David Cutcliffe to run things.  Baylor hired Art Briles, who was a hot property after coaching Case Keenum to ridiculous numbers over his nine years as Houston's starting QB.  Kansas threw down to hire Charlie Weis, which I'm sure seemed like a good idea at the time.

None of these schools are traditional powers, but all got very accomplished coaches simply by paying them.  There is no reason why Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, or schools like that couldn't hire coaches like the above instead of guys that had a good year or two in the MAC.


October 30th, 2012 at 12:45 PM ^

He's never been a head coach. And actually, a lot of the SEC hires weren't head coaches.

Florida Muschamp - DC Texas

Georgia Richt OC FSU

Kentucky OC Kentucky

Mullen OC Floriday

Then you have your guys who were hired from 2nd rate to nothing programs-

Pinkel HC Toledo

Dooley Louisiana Tech

Chizik Iowa St

Freeze Arkansas State

Sumlin Houston (though he did have a good thing going there)


Your big time hires were Saban and Miles.

Then you've got the last second desparation of John L. Smith, and pulling Spurrier off the golf course. Not like they outbid for him.  He wanted to coach, but not in the 24/7 NFL cycle, and S. Carolina would be happy to have him by any standards.

So their two power programs right now got guys who had good gigs before; the other coming back programs got guys who were really good coordinators.  If you look at OSU, Michigan, and Nebraska, that's not that far off (with our other power program in a historically weird position right now). The others throw money for sure, but not always wisely. Some luck out like Miss St. Others are wondering what they were doing like Auburn (or true traditional power Tennessee).  Guys like Spurrier have spent a long time getting that program to a level of respectability. 

Are they generally more successful with their hires? Sure. They have more teams, are the hotbed of success right now, and yes, probably put more $$$ into it. I just don't know that the coaching difference is all that great.  And trying to lift yourself up with the talent base around Mississippi is still certainly a lot easier than living off players in the radius of Minnesota.


October 30th, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

And the 4 teams in the B1G who make the least amount of money in their ADs are..... Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue!


School Conf Total Revenue Total Expenses Total Subsidy Percent Subsidy
Ohio State Big Ten $131,815,821 $122,286,869 $0 0.0%
Michigan Big Ten $122,739,052 $111,844,553 $272,684 0.2%
Penn State Big Ten $116,118,025 $101,336,483 $0 0.0%
Wisconsin Big Ten $96,288,191 $95,623,345 $7,237,901 7.5%
Iowa Big Ten $93,353,561 $88,057,486 $564,680 0.6%
Michigan State Big Ten $84,510,199 $84,004,229 $3,650,280 4.3%
Nebraska Big Ten $83,679,756 $81,916,484 $0 0.0%
Minnesota Big Ten $78,924,683 $78,924,683 $7,778,861 9.9%
Illinois Big Ten $77,863,883 $73,476,818 $3,983,640 5.1%
Indiana Big Ten $71,017,355 $69,314,511 $2,686,769 3.8%
Purdue Big Ten $66,202,493 $59,429,383 $0 0.0%

Minnesota needed almost $8M from student fees, Illinois needed $4M and that was their profit margin, same with Indiana's $2M. Purdue actually turned a profit. Keep in mind coaches' salaries are already in those "expenses" so any raise a coach gets adds to that column.


October 30th, 2012 at 11:36 AM ^

Who did Vandy hire? What about Auburn? Washington State swung for the fences with Mike Leach, who just happened to be toxic enough that WSU could reasonably compete for his services. Even at the more middle-ground programs, Pitt got Wisconsin's former OC after last season. Except at the top few programs, there aren't going to be a whole lot of "set the world on fire" coaching hires. Even at those top programs, Kiffin got hired at USC despite managing to lose everywhere, Michigan hired a sub .500 coach, and OSU got a coach with a golden pedigree and a history of health/family issues.

Now with assistants, I completely agree above. The SEC in particular is outspending the Big Ten on coordinators big time, especially in the second and third tier of the conference.

matty blue

October 30th, 2012 at 12:31 PM ^

it's not a "marquee" opening, but you can't tell me that a high-profile assistant or mid-level head coach wouldn't snap a big ten job up in a heartbeat.  so many of these jobs aren't "marquee" jobs until the right coach gets them.  wisconsin was a coaching graveyard until barry alvarez showed up, but watch a hundred assistants leap for their agents' phone numbers once bret beilema (inevitably) gets caught in a hot tub with a 19-year-old. 

the other side of this is that illinois isn't a lousy job because it's inherently a lousy job - it's because they haven't made a good hire in...let me seeeeeee...EVER.  you can turn a moribund program into a good one if you hire the right guy.  like alvarez.  or glen mason.  or gary barnett.  or joe tiller.  or brady hoke.  you can turn things around a lot more easily if you just stop fucking it up.

French West Indian

October 30th, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^

I've got a bad feeling that Minnesota pulls off the upset this weekend.  Poking fun at teams for their exceptionally bad seasons doesn't feel right.  I'd pull the plug on Illiniquest immediately jsut cause karma is bitch.

matty blue

October 30th, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

i think this is the second time that i've read a post referencing iowa pre-flight, as in "they lost to iowa pre-flight, ha, ha."

just to clarify a bit, iowa pre-flight actually beat US, in 1942, and we were pretty good that year.  we beat them in 1944, and that was their only loss...they went 9-1 and finished 6th in the final ap poll.  they were good to very good for all three years of their existence.