2019 IlliniBoard Football Preview
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
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.