Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Big Ten is so inept that any team has shot at postseason ]]> Lead story image

The curse of the Big Ten this season — its resounding blah-ness — also happens to be something of a blessing. It’s a simple explanation: The Big Ten is so bad — 1-10 against opponents from the other Power 5 conferences — that any team with a pulse has a chance to win it. And if not win it, then at least contend. And if not contend, then at least make more noise than usual. When you’re Illinois, for example, and you’re desperate to get to a bowl game, any bowl game, you like the way the Big Ten is … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 22:30:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Big Ten’s struggles continue as 2-0 teams drop from unbeatens ]]> Lead story image

It’s starting to feel like we’re constantly picking on the Big Ten. Perhaps it’s because we are. How could we not? Another week, another humiliating display for a rich, powerful, overrated and incredibly un-clutch conference. Playoff? Please. Pride? Maybe there’s an ounce of it left somewhere. It’s hard to tell, and it’s harder to watch. What went wrong Saturday other than everything? Iowa, thought by many in the preseason to be right there with Wisconsin and Nebraska in the West Division, played its second consecutive terrible game. In Week 2, the Hawkeyes beat Ball State 17-13 in spite of themselves. … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:32:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Notre Dame win over Purdue no walk in the park ]]> Lead story image

Everett Golson threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Irish defeated pesky Purdue for a 30-14 victory in front of 56,832 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium. ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:33:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Irish coach Brian Kelly sees benefit of Shamrock Series ]]>

Saturday marked the sixth edition of the Shamrock Series, in which Notre Dame plays a scheduled home game at a neutral site. The contest has grown on Irish coach Brian Kelly. “My initial impression was, why would you give up a home game? But I really didn’t understand the implications of the Shamrock Series and really what it meant,” he said. “It’s been really good for us because it gets us into some geographical areas that make sense.” San Antonio and Chicago have been among the destinations for the game. “You may question Indianapolis as to why that makes sense … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:33:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Despite blowout, Illini aren’t same team they were last year ]]> Lead story image

Well, that was interesting. In a never-had-a-chance kind of way. In a “did you get the number of that bus?” kind of way. In such a way that the easy thing to do after Illinois’ 44-19 defeat at Washington would be to assume that nothing has changed at all for the Illini. And yet it isn’t that simple. There are areas in which the Illini (2-1) clearly are more capable than they were a year ago. Certain other things have gotten worse. Here are five takeaways from Game 3 of the season. Better yet, let’s call it a Take 5: … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:33:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Turnovers doom Illini in blowout loss to Washington ]]> Lead story image

Shaq Thompson returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown and picked up a fumble and rumbled 52 yards for another score as Washington routed Illinois 44-19. ]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 21:41:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Northern Illinois rolls up 600-plus yards, beats UNLV ]]>

LAS VEGAS — Northern Illinois ran up more than 600 yards of offense Saturday night, but the Huskies still needed to hold off a furious rally by UNLV to beat the Rebels 48-34.  The victory extended Northern Illinois’ streak to 17 consecutive road wins, dating to 2012.  The Huskies (3-0) held a 23-point lead in the third quarter before UNLV (1-2) scored three touchdowns and eventually tied the game 34-34 in the fourth period on a 9-yard scoring run by Shaquille Murray-Lawrence and a two-point conversion.  But Northern Illinois broke the tie quickly on its next drive, getting a 54-yard … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:32:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ A Husky task awaits young Illini ]]> Lead story image

Question: Why doesn’t Skokie have a major-college football team? Answer: Because then Evanston would want one. Hey-yo! Listen, Northern Illinois started it. You know, with the school’s “Chicago’s big-time college football team” advertising campaign — surely you’ve caught wind of it — a direct shot at Northwestern, not to mention a dare to Illinois to meet the Huskies between the white lines. Some bad blood between our college teams? Awesome. There can’t be too much of it. But I digress. The 10 things I’ll be looking for in Week 3: ◆ 1. How will Illinois adjust in the early going … ]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 02:12:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Heisman buzz no big deal to Notre Dame QB Everett Golson ]]>

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The chatter, by all accounts, is too soon. It also is inescapable. Everett Golson has made a variety of highlight-reel plays in leading Notre Dame to consecutive blowout victories. Various media outlets have noticed. The quarterback has skyrocketed up several Heisman watch lists. Golson isn’t getting caught up in those conversations. “It goes back to me putting higher expectations on myself than anybody could,” Golson said. “I have a lot of potential. Even this team has a lot of potential. It comes down to preparation. “I want to be great. I expect a lot of myself, … ]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 02:12:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Big-Game Hunting: South Carolina will provide some intrigue with upset of Georgia ]]> Lead story image

Let’s begin with the truth: Week 3 is a dud, a dog, an outright debacle. Week 3 wouldn’t recognize a marquee matchup if one kissed it on the mouth. Week 3 is as uninspiring a collection of games as we’ll see all season. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice. No, it isn’t really that bad. The beauty of college football is in the vital nature of every week of the season — lose even one game, especially one you aren’t supposed to lose, and your biggest dreams can be instantly dashed. Which brings us to Week … ]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:24:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Four-star guard Rex Pflueger picks Notre Dame ]]> Lead story image

The Notre Dame men’s basketball team landed its first four-star recruit for the Class of 2015 on Thursday. Rex Pflueger, a shooting guard from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., orally committed to play for the Irish. “I’m blessed to announce that I am verbally committed to the University of Notre Dame!” he wrote on Twitter. ranks the 6-4, 175-pound Pflueger No. 97 among all players nationally for the Class of 2015. He is the third member of Notre Dame’s Class of 2015, joining forwards Elijah Burns and Matt Ryan. Email: Twitter: @lamondpope … ]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:06:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ St. Francis flourishes with no-huddle scheme ]]> Lead story image

With an explosive offense and a defense focused on ­takeaways, St. Francis of Joliet has its own way of getting things done on the football field. The Saints (1-0), ranked 20th in the NAIA coaches poll and expected to contend in the MSFA Mideast, had things their way in their opener, rolling up 465 yards and forcing four turnovers in a 41-10 rout of visiting Olivet Nazarene. Junior quarterback Trace Wanless passed for 139 yards and ran for 96. Senior tailback Malik Norman also ran for 96, junior tailback John Magee ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns, and senior … ]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:13:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ Losing out on Jalen Brunson another blow to Illini basketball ]]> Lead story image

If Chief Illiniwek were still around, he would be gasping for air. Another heavyweight area basketball prospect dealt a massive gut punch to the Illinois when Jalen Brunson chose Villanova on Wednesday. Brunson, a point guard from Stevenson, is the latest in a long list of top area prospects to spurn the Illini for an out-of-state school in the last decade. Brunson is considered one of the best guards in his class. Other than Jereme Richmond, who turned out to be a disaster, the last blue-chip area kid to choose Illinois was Dee Brown, a Bill Self recruit. He was … ]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 21:19:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Expect Notre Dame to keep climbing in the football polls ]]> Lead story image

The estimable Mark Schlabach of has a blast of a weekly column called the “Eliminator” — a tracking of which teams are still in, and which are out of, the hunt for the first College Football Playoff. You will not be shocked to learn, for example, that 0-2 Northwestern is one of the 59 teams Schlabach has ruled out. Or that Illinois and Northern Illinois — strictly because they haven’t lost a game yet — technically are still in. Notre Dame, of course, is very much in. The Irish (2-0) raised their profile in a big way with a … ]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 02:24:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jalen Brunson picks Villanova over Illinois ]]> Lead story image

Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson chose Villanova over Illinois on Wednesday, becoming the latest in a long line of local stars to spurn the Illini. Brunson’s father, Rick, a former Bull, delivered the bad news to the Illini coaching staff. “Some days I knew, some days I didn’t,” Jalen said. “I woke up and had a gut feeling this morning. For the most part, Illinois’ basketball program has been striking out on the elite local players since Bill Self left for Kansas. That fact drifts into every recruitment the Illini get involved with. It’s an unavoidable narrative. “This is about Jalen,” Rick … ]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:55:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ THE B1G PICTURE: Nebraska gives Big Ten best shot to be represented ]]> Lead story image

SETH GRUEN: Hold off on burdening Michigan State with all of the Big Ten’s problems. The Spartans’ loss at Oregon didn’t help the conference’s reputation, but there’s plenty of blame to go around. ]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 09:52:00 -0500