Welcome to Illannoy Week. Trust me, it's been a long time coming.
As much as I have enjoyed watching the kU game at Camerohead, the Cotton Bowl destruction, or the comeback in the Indy Bowl a few years back on a DVD repeat for the past eight months, lately I've passed the time whittling a soap chessboard like I've been locked up.
Needless to say, football needs to get here, and we are five days away from being housed in a shitty lot outside one of the most pathetic sport venues, the Edward Jones Dome.
To kick off Illini week, we went with a reliable source on Illannoy football: former Deadspin head honcho, author, New York Magazine writer—and more importantly, University of Illinois grad—Will Leitch. We shot a sixer of questions to Will about his beloved Illini.
1) Ron Zook: Prophetic Demigod or Barefoot Waterskiing Retard?
Both, without question. This is why he is so brilliant. And seriously: Have you seen the guns?
2) Did you "legally bet" on Illinois in the Rose Bowl? If so, how quickly did you have remorse?
I do not wager on sporting events, and if I did, I would have never, ever bet on the Illini. Honestly, I didn't care at ALL about that loss. I mean, Illinois was in the freaking Rose Bowl! Illinois! They could have downed the ball every possession and I would have been happy.
3) Eddie McGee torched us last year at the Dome, and us Mizzou fans automatically fear the guy. Are Illini fans in the McGee corner or Junk Williams?
It was actually closer between those two all season...until the Ohio State game. After that performance, we'll love Juice forever. That doesn't mean he's become that much better of a passer, though.
4) Daniel Dufrene. Really? (How much will Rashard Mendenhall be missed?)
Lots. Lots lots lots. Particularly because he trashed Zook on the way out the door. (An odd situation, that one.) Everyone keeps touting Dufrene's RPC last year...but he had two huge touchdown runs that skewed it. The offense is going to be a real problem this year.
5) The city of Urbana seems like a clingy, psycho ex-lover that still has the idea of a "Champaign-Urbana" thing, while Champaign wants to get rid of the baggage and be single. So, Champaign or Urbana?
When I was an undergrad, I only went to Urbana for house parties where they had a nitrous tank in the basement and room with a hookah upstairs. So: Urbana.
6) Better University of Illinois alum: Hugh Hefner, Jesse Jackson, or Will Leitch?
Jesse Jackson only went there for one year; Hugh Hefner actually graduated. Even though I'd go with Roger Ebert or Dave Eggers, given those choices, Hef wins. If you disagree, Jesse will cut your nuts off.