On the day Illinois football returns to padded practice, Mike Carpenter is relishing the ridiculous amount of live sports: MLB Playoffs, NBA Finals, the undefeated Chicago Bears, and college football. In the midst of a pandemic, sports mean more than ever, even though COVID-19 remains a lingering threat for pro and college leagues.
The ghost of Chief Illiniwek was awakened after the Orange and Blue Belted Kingfisher passed the UIUC student senate. Mike Carpenter analyzes the age-old mascot argument, along with the possibility Big Ten football completes its season uninterrupted. Finally, may Illinois basketball be on the verge of a big 2021 addition?
Mike Carpenter, Trevor Vallese and Harry Black look at the Illini football schedule and play everyone's favorite prediction game, Dare to Dream! In this edition, they analyze the path to a .500-or-above record, and identify which games will make the difference between a satisfying and disappointing season.
Big Ten Football is back . . . yet again! Mike Carpenter breaks down the announcement of a 9-game season beginning October 24, and analyzes how all the interested parties (players, coaches, admin, and disgruntled parents) come out on the other side of a month-long debate.
Ryan Day is peeved, James Franklin is confused, and angry parents are probably writing even more letters to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. Mike Carpenter tries to answer the question of "why can't they play?" as campuses quarantine, move to remote-only learning, and initiate partial shutdowns.
The Illini-Ohio State game that wasn't got the attention of Pat Forde, who wrote an article on the economic impact on Champaign-Urbana. Mike Carpenter discusses how the community is affected, along with the latest murmurs of Big Ten football possible restart from Dan Patrick.
On the night Illinois would have welcomed Ohio State to Memorial Stadium, Mike Carpenter wonders what could have been as COVID-19 cases rise at UIUC. Meanwhile, days after Illini athletes and coaches marched for Black Lives Matter, a local website refused to cover the event despite an absence of newsworthy sports stories.
Led by Illini football standout Kendrick Green, the University of Illinois athletic department came together for a Black Lives Matter protest. Mike Carpenter discusses the impact of Josh Whitman, Lovie Smith, and Brad Underwood's solidarity with the hundreds of students who marched.
The NBA boycott highlighted the increasing role of athletes in social and political issues. Mike Carpenter looks at the impact of professional athletes on discussions of racial injustice, and why "sticking to sports" is no longer an option.
After reports of an NBA-like bubble setup for college basketball, Mike Carpenter is feeling optimistic about seeing Brad Underwood's loaded roster on the court this season. Also, he looks at the aftermath of the Big Ten parent protest and nominates Shannon Ryan (Chicago Tribune) to be the new PR person for Kevin Warren.