Grubb Bites for September 3, 2010: Let’s Make Some Illinois

September 3, 2010

As the summer months wane and fall approaches, the smell of football is in the air. As anyone that has had to endure them well knows, wake up too early any given morning in late August or early September, and for some reason it just feels like “two-a-days”.

Even if you’ve never experienced a 5 a.m. flashback to four-hour practices and small, enclosed rooms fouled with the funk of 50 unwashed girdles (yes, that is what they are called), you still know the distinct smells of fall, and this can mean only one thing: the beginning of another college football season.

For fans of the Fighting Illini, there always seems to be the extra added stench of failure – which is way worse than 50 girdles mind you – and this go-round appears to be no different.

That’s why it’s with extremely low, low expectations that Illinois begins 2010 by saying hello to the Missouri Tigers and goodbye (and good riddance) to the State Farm Arch Rivalry game Saturday, Sept. 4th at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, with kickoff set for 11:30 a.m.

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Grubb Bites for January 5, 2010: Big Ten Network Comes to St. Louis

January 5, 2010

We have something really special for you today. It’s called a blog post. No, actually it’s something we’re calling Grubb Bites.

We at Grubb Hub have decided that instead of always trying to stir up the motivation to polish off the proverbial 6-course meal in the form of writing full, feature-length articles (which clearly is not working, as evidenced by the lack of posts lately), we thought it might be fun to quickly go through some items of the day and offer our reaction in a more “bite-sized” or condensed form. So here goes nothing:

Charter Brings the Big Ten Network to Southern Illinois, St. Louis

Since its inception in 2006, I have spent many a night dreaming of what it would be like to have the Big Ten Network for my very own – to possess her, to hold her in my arms, to caress her slowly and softly; as she deserves to be caressed. To toss aside the cares of the world and just spend the day with her, watching her replays of games I’ve already seen again and again…and again and again.

But alas, it was not meant to be, for I had Charter Cable. And if it were not insufferable enough that I could not possess her for my own, too often I had borne witness to her flaunting herself in the arms of others – like a wanton and promiscuous whore!! Until it turned my stomach just to hear her name.

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Now Was the Wrong Time to Bench Juice

October 10, 2009

Today should have been Juice’s Last Stand.

No, I’m not talking about the latest fledgling fruit drink franchise to be crushed by the heartless corporate shell Orange Julius. I mean Juice Williams, the embattled senior quarterback for the Fighting Illini football team.  Juice has been the poster boy for an Illini season that started so promising, and now conjures up what Illini fans hoped were long-forgotten nightmares of Tepper and Turner.

Illinois head coach Ron Zook made the call early this week:  Junior backup Eddie McGee would make his first career start under center, against the Michigan State Spartans and their evil, racist mascot Sparty.

This was the wrong call for a number of reasons.  First of all, Illinois finally gets to play a mediocre opponent at home.  Sure, the Illini and Juice have looked terrible in their three losses.  But for a moment, consider the opponents:  Missouri, Ohio State, and Penn State.  All three of those teams are currently ranked.  Ohio State and Penn State are both in the top 15. Only one of those games – last week’s 35-17 disappointment against the Nittany Lions – has been in the somewhat friendly, renovated confines of Memorial Stadium.

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Sparty the Spartan: Evil Mascot

January 21, 2009


Did you know that Michigan State University, one of the most esteemed and respected public universities in the world, has a mascot that is a member of a specific ethnic group?

I was watching last Saturday’s disappointing 63-57 loss by the Fighting Illini to then tenth-ranked Michigan State when I noticed something rather alarming.

I just kept thinking to myself, this can’t possibly be. I had to rewind my TiVo just to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. In this day and age, you just don’t think this kind of thing is possible. I mean, did we not inaugurate Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States today? Kind of makes you take for granted that we have progressed past this kind of bigotry as a society. But no, when ESPN came back from commercial after a timeout, there he was. I could hardly believe my eyes.

His name…is Sparty the Spartan. He looks like this:

Sparty the Spartan (File Photo)

Sparty the Spartan (File Photo)

With his Popeye-like arms, horribly oversized head, and generally dopey look on his face – clearly he is a caricature of the well-known civilization from ancient Greece.

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Illini Basketball Motto for This Year: Wait ‘Til Next Year?

November 21, 2008

This season, the University of Illinois basketball team will likely take the phrase so often uttered by their woolly neighbors just three hours to the north, “Wait ‘Til Next Year”, to a whole new level.

That’s because many Illini fans may have been saying it before this season even began. In case you hadn’t heard, 2009 is when Bruce Weber’s first crop of prize recruits since becoming the head coach of the Illini five years ago, start strolling into Chambana.

Four players, guards D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, and Joseph Bertrand, along with forward Tyler Griffey are all ranked in the top 100 nationally and currently give the Illini the 8th-ranked recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals.com.

Throw in five-star verbal commitments from small forward Jereme Richmond and shooting guard Crandall Head for 2010 and all of a sudden the Illini, who started to take on the look of a mid-major program Weber supposedly left behind, might again start to resemble the national power we were hoping “Bail” Self was going to build before bolting for the only place where the Earth’s crust is flatter and more boring to look at than Central Illinois – that being Kansas.

Of course, this is all assuming that Kelvin Sampson doesn’t somehow worm his way back into college basketball and give all these guys’ fathers cushy jobs.

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Pearl Before Swine…Sounds About Right

March 20, 2008

As the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament swings into high gear this weekend, University of Illinois fans find themselves in an unfamiliar and rather unpleasant situation.

For the past eight years, those of us without real lives have quite enjoyed taking that Thursday or Friday off work to sit at home or in the company of friends (only those that own HDTV’s) and watch our beloved Fighting Illini in their first round match up.

This year, much to my chagrin anyway, that is obviously not going to be the case. While Illinois made a valiant run to the finals of the Big Ten tournament, the Illini were rudely and thoroughly reminded of just how inferior they really were this season by a solid – albeit incredibly boring – Wisconsin group led by the perennial Big Ten coach of the year, Count Dracula.

So it would appear that Illinois fans have nothing to root for this time around. On the bright side though, there is plenty to root against. Sometimes, that can be just as fun (if not more).

Enter Bruce Pearl, the slimy, scumbag of a coach for the Tennessee Volunteers. Back in 1989, Pearl decided that a mini tape recorder, scissors, and Scotch tape would prove invaluable as recruiting tools in an effort to land Chicago Simeon star and McDonald’s All-American, Deon Thomas.
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