2019 IlliniBoard Football Preview

Aug 25, 2019

It's such an important year. I cannot emphasize the importance of the 2019 season enough. With a bowl game, a year from today, the expectations for this team will be through the roof. With a losing season, particularly something like a 3-9 season, we'll be staring down yet another rebuild.

That's the reason this is the longest preview yet. There's just so much to talk about. I always list the number of words for these previews, so here's the history:

2014: 23,800 words
2015: 21,858
2016: 22,004
2017: 25,346
2018: 23,882

This year checks in at 28,770 words. I know that's stupid, especially for a team that is 20-41 during the time when I've been writing these previews, but this is my thing and this is just what I do.

I have to be honest here - I was pretty jacked about finishing this thing but then I just looked up the whole 20-41 thing and it brought me down. All of these words and 20 wins? When will this team pay us back for our dedication?

This year, hopefully, I guess. I still have no idea what kind of record I'm going to predict when I sit down to SOC on Friday night. I feel like this season could go so, so right or so, so wrong. But here I am, again, waiting for that moment.

Which is why I needed nearly 29,000 words. There are so many ways to look at all of this. Statistically, this is exactly when programs doing a gut-job rebuild begin a really quick turnaround. But I don't think any team has ever followed something like 63-0 against Iowa in the second-to-last game of Year Three with a turnaround that begins two games later. Let's break some new ground, shall we?

The first year I charged $5 to read the preview, but since then I've just gone with the tip jar. You tell me what the 28,770 words are worth to you. The suggested "tip" is $5, but really, you get to choose between $0 and whatever you think it's worth.

And as I always say, a big thank-you to my wife for putting up with this whole month. True story: she volunteered to drive to and from a wedding approximately an hour and a half away "so you can write while we drive". She's driving and listening to the radio while I'm sitting in the seat next to her writing about the special teams. That's why they call them laptops.

That's how invested she is in seeing me complete this thing. She knew that writing during the drive would save me a few hours of sleep, so she suggested I write while she drives (I decided not to write on the way there but I took her up on it for the trip home.)

So as always, I'm taking the money from the tip jar and building a trip for her. We're going to the UConn game in Hartford and then spending a full week in New England. In August she is so understanding of my trips to Champaign and my nights writing the preview (I try to do most of it after she goes to bed, but it leaks into our weekends). So in early September, it's time to take a long vacation.

OK, let's just get to it. Here's the preview. Now with 5,000 more words.

2019 IlliniBoard Football Preview


iluvrt on August 25 @ 10:31 PM CDT

47 single spaced 8.5 x 11's. Wow. You are prolific.

krush02@gmail.com on August 26 @ 06:37 AM CDT

Having no luck trying to pay... it keeps taking me to the “Looks like you already have access” screen.

Sweetchuck13 on August 26 @ 09:14 AM CDT

Me too....says I purchased unlimited access when I bought the 2015 preview??

Robert on August 26 @ 06:32 PM CDT

Yes - that's the glitch. In 2014 the preview was behind a paywall (you had to pay $5 to read it), the next year (2015) we did the tip jar. When we did the tip jar in 2016 we realized that anyone who tipped in 2015 was told that they had already paid. We changed the setting (so that the payment "expires" after six months), but since then, any of those 2015 purchasers still can't tip.

So if you tipped in 2015... congrats on being grandfathered in. Nothing we can do to change it.

Sweetchuck13 on August 26 @ 07:55 PM CDT

Ha...got it. On that note, when my subscription renews I'll add a little something, you know, for the effort.

Dickbupkis on August 28 @ 11:28 AM CDT

Robert already has total consciousness on his deathbed. Which is nice.

Boris on August 26 @ 09:54 AM CDT

I had the same issue this year and last year... Tinypass dashboard says I have unlimited access to season previews because I purchased the 2014 preview. I logged out of Tinypass, then used a different email address to pay. So essentially, I guess I just created a new Tinypass account.

ktal on August 26 @ 07:56 AM CDT

This is better than xmas to me.

Your first section makes it very clear that "one of these things is not like the other"...all the schools who couldn't get to six are long-time dogs in their respective conferences.

Taking over one of those programs nearly has failure built in. It's damn near impossible to get a two-deep with conference-caliber athletes if they aren't there already when you arrive. Lovie bet his job on this season three ago when he went with his 'future B1G talent' freshmen. This season those kids will show if they've got what it takes, or not.

Illinimac68 on August 26 @ 08:58 AM CDT

My wife had a dollar dance at our wedding reception in Lake County IL, so pretty much South Wisconsin. I think it might be a German ancestry thing given that demographic in far northern Illinois as well as Missouri. On another note, I think you're more concerned about second-year offensive coordinator and less about Lunt. Lunt threw a nice ball but in my opinion never was really comfortable in decision making. I feel he often couldn't see a receiver being about to come open; he saw them when they were open but the window would close before he could throw the ball. He was also really quick to throw the ball away. Nate, on the other hand, could extend the play and complete a pass once all the original patterns had broken down. I appreciate his efforts for the O&B but like Jon Beutjer just not the program changer we'd hoped.

Sweetchuck13 on August 26 @ 11:37 AM CDT

Odd you mention Beutjer as I was just thinking of him as Robert discussed Brandon Peters (another QB transfer within conference and former starter at previous school). I know he didn't quite live up to expectations and couldn't fill Kittner's shoes, but his 2002 season was still pretty solid, and I feel like we'd take that performance from Peters in a heartbeat. (Just looked it up - 2500 yards, 21 TDs, and 4 300+ yard games).

So Robert - obviously a different offense, but can Peters be 2002 Jon Beutjer? Even something like 1500 yards/15 TDs would be a great contribution.

Eagle on August 26 @ 09:03 AM CDT

We're conditioned to expect poor season after poor season so it's very difficult to accept that we might actually be good. With a proven QB, a quality line, the best stable of RB's, significantly improved receivers and maturing defenders, I can see a successful year.

Fido McCokefiend on August 26 @ 06:21 PM CDT

Let's hope for a proven QB some point in the future then!

Groundhogday on August 27 @ 12:55 AM CDT

We don’t need to be good. “Not bad” would get us 6 wins and a bowl. Walk before you crawl in the expectations game.

uiucfan1 on August 26 @ 12:18 PM CDT

When I paid this year - it appears the payment is to "Piano Software" for the 2019 Season Preview...so Robert, I just hope somehow you are related to that account. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this!

Robert on August 26 @ 06:33 PM CDT

That is correct. Piano Software bought TinyPass, the subscription service we use. So the tip is paid to Piano Software and then they distribute to us (after they take out their fee, of course).

Illinimac68 on August 26 @ 03:45 PM CDT

I knew a man, his brain was so small He couldn't think of nothing at all Not the same as you and me He doesn't dig poetry He's so unhip that when you say Dylan He thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas Whoever he was The man ain't got no culture But it's alright, ma, everybody must get stoned

Gadwallgetter on August 26 @ 04:50 PM CDT

Ok this is a little bit frustrating! I paid but continually having to fight the tip jar is annoying! What is the trick?

Robert on August 26 @ 06:29 PM CDT

The tip jar screen will show up each time you go to the page (no way to track first time visitors). So just click the X in the upper right corner to clear it.

Gadwallgetter on August 27 @ 06:26 AM CDT

Thanks Robert I got it workin now! Really appreciate your time putting this altogether!

Groundhogday on August 26 @ 06:30 PM CDT

Thinking about OL tandems...

Jim Juriga (OT for Illinois) started four years at Illinois, with no redshirt. He played 3 years with Babyar (OG), and three years with Mark Dennis (OT). Early 1980s. Was there anything equivalent in the Coach Mac era? We also had some good OL under Harry Heistand and Turner, but they often took time to develop.

Illinimac68 on August 26 @ 11:01 PM CDT

It's been suggested that Turner's O-line recruits who grew up in 07 were the guys that got us to the Rose Bowl.

Groundhogday on August 27 @ 12:56 AM CDT

Juice and the D also improved substantially from 2006 and 2007.

HailToTheOrange on August 27 @ 12:00 AM CDT

$5 tip = a devaluing travesty! Gladly sent my $20 without any tech glitches.

Really not sure what I can realistically hope for this year, but I am sure of your dedication, writing chops and thorough analysis.

Thank you Robert. May you be inspired to leap onto the field again a la Middle Tennessee (even if you don't actually do it)

HailToTheOrange on August 27 @ 12:10 AM CDT

Related: here's to you choosing an entirely different header image for your 2020 preview, for entirely different reasons. :-)

Nashvegas Illini on August 27 @ 09:51 AM CDT

I finally finished it all and this was freakin awesome. I feel like I follow the team as close as anyone and still learned some things.

I never knew about the years ending in 9 as turning points and over 40 years....

The Ron Turner comparisons are really interesting. I believe the story goes that Whitman asked his former coach for a recommendation and Turner said Lovie would be a great choice. I don't believe Lovie has a lot of Head Coaches (former or current) that he leans on for advice but he has mention Ron Turner. I could see Turner giving him the idea to play the kids. I don't know if its a good thing or bad but very interesting.

Thanks Robert for all the hardwork. I feel bad for only giving $5...

ahamm445 on August 27 @ 11:37 AM CDT

YOURE THE MAN BOB! I’m no longer as broke of a college student as I was a couple years ago... thanks for getting me through the rough times!

LongLiveTheChief98 on August 27 @ 07:51 PM CDT

I've been wanting to punch myself for the last several weeks, because I've been burned so many times over the years thinking that once the pieces are in place we'd be adequate/decent/good/great, only to come crashing back down to reality.

But every time I think through this year, I can't help but shake this feeling we go 7-5 (4-5 B1G). And while I would not be surprised to see 4-8 again given the improvement across all of the B1G West, there are always one or two teams that overachieve/underachieve. I think this team raises eyebrows this season.

And then, 2020...real expectations.

illinisludge on August 27 @ 08:25 PM CDT

Way to go, Robert. Magnum opus extraordinaire. Thank you

Alaskan Illini on August 29 @ 01:15 PM CDT

Robert drop me an email - my wife and I will be at the UConn game, and I'd be happy to meet up, buy you a beer and answer any questions you might have about sightseeing in New England.



Robert on August 29 @ 03:53 PM CDT

email me at Robert@IlliniBoard.com

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