Since the Big Ten Conference has welcomed Nebraska starting in 2011, this puts the chances of the Illini rising in the conference at slim and none. Nebraska has been a successful program in the Big 8 and now Big 12 in the past, and the addition of the Cornhuskers will give perennial programs such as Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan another hurdle to climb when it comes to getting to the big bowl games. Other sports such as volleyball and men's basketball may in fact benefit the Illini, as the Nebraska program in other sports have not been nearly as successful than the football program. Still, it is a good thing for the conference, as it brings the total number to 12 (name change?), and will more than likely begin fueling debate over conference realignment into divisions. Early talk, however, has centered more on RPI rating over the last 1o years and less on geographical placement. More on this as it becomes available.
Illini Nation was once again represented well at the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities, the closest venue for a PGA event in the state of Illinois. Four former Illini began the week in the tourney, and only one, defending champ Steve Stricker, regained his title by shooting a 4-day total of 258, good for 26 under par for the tournament. Fellow Illini alums Joe Affrunti (139), D. A. Points (139) and current Illini golf coach Mike Small (146), all missed the cut and was done for the weekend on Friday. Congrats to Strick on another PGA title!
Coming in August, the first of 3 previews on the upcoming football season as Camp Rantoul approaches. Stay tuned.