Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2009 Illini Football: Let's Get It On

It's time to get excited about the upcoming Illinois football season, with the kickoff against Missouri on Saturday. I have got 5 reasons that the Illini are going to rebound and have a successful season.
1. Pick up some Juice!
It is Juice's senior year and it is time to prove that he is a premier quarterback. He has shown signs and had good games before, but it is time to put together a consistently great year. He has sweet receivers like Rejus, Florida transfer Jerred Fayson, Jeff Cumberland, and A.J. Jenkins. It's not Kyle Hudson and Jacob Willis anymore, no excuses. If Juice wants to be in the NFL, he needs to have a great year.
2. Martez gets the Paul Pierce stab wound transformation
After Pierce got stabbed in 2000 he lead his team to the Finals in 2002 and eventually won it all in 2008. He upped his game and became a more determined player. I think the same thing will happen to Martez Wilson after being stabbed in January. Maybe it will toughen him up a little. It couldn't hurt. Wilson was named again to the Butkus award preseason list, despite never really playing well for the Illini.
3. Zook will start beating people if the team plays like it did last year
When your head coach benches 315 and squats 500, you have a pretty good reason to fear him. I have the feeling that if the season starts going downhill, he might just make an example of the back-up punter or something to jump-start the team.
4. Athletes Galore
The Illini have assembled a team that is so much more athletic and physically impressive than any U of I team in recent memory. You have Rejus Benn, who is essentially a NFL wideout. Josh Brent, who is 330 pounds and extremely athletic and no longer in prison for the DUI. Juice, who is physically a perfect quarterback. Martez Wilson, at 6'4 245 pounds and one of the fastest players on the team. Great athletes all over the field, almost like a team from the SEC.
5. Weak Big-Ten, weak schedule
Penn State and Ohio State will be difficult, but beyond that there isn't much. Missouri will be down, and Illinois State is a W. Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, and Northwestern are all very winnable games. And then you have the wild cards of Fresno State and Cincinnati at the end of the year. There is no reason that the Illini shouldn't be 9-3 going to a good bowl game.

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