Getting to the postseason routinely should be the goal.
That was the message communicated by Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther Wednesday when discussing the University of Illinois football team. Another point discussed was the fact that Zook and his staff, based upon the success of last season, were given raises.
Zook will get a $250,000-a-year raise, boosting his salary to $1.75 million once approved by university trustees. Seven wins is worth a 16.67 percent raise at Illinois? At the University of Miami, it will get you fired. Just ask Randy Shannon.
Fifteen wins the last three seasons gets you a pay raise more than the annual salary of Todd Berry, the coach at Louisiana-Monroe. At the University of Michigan, it would get you fired. Just ask Rich Rodriguez.
Twenty-eight wins in six seasons gets you a raise that is equal to about the salaries of three assistant professors at the University of Illinois. Twenty-eight wins in three seasons gets a replacement hired a year in advance at West Virginia University. Just ask Bill Stewart.
Two bowl games in six years gets you praised by your Athletic Director at Illinois. Two bowls in six years gets you pressured to resign at Pittsburgh. Just ask Dave Wannstedt.
Clearly the powers that be at the University of Illinois have accepted the fact that mediocrity is acceptable. In Zook's six seasons, he has an eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th-place finish in the Big Ten. He has proven himself to be one of the worst coaches in the Big Ten in the last 20 seasons.
While he was considered to be an ace recruiter, this has not been the case in recent history. The most recent class was another that was not up to the standards Zook set early on in his tenure (currently ranked 35th by Scout.com).
Guenther said he expects the team to make it to a bowl game next season. Hopefully he is right, considering the money being given out for the level of success that Zook has provided in his Illini tenure. Otherwise, the fans of the orange and blue will just be I-L-L.