Illinois has had enough of Ron Zook. After starting the season 6-0 no one would have thought that Zook was on the hot seat, perhaps some believed an extension was in order. That, however, was before he lost the last six games of the season. The University has had enough of mediocre football after Zook’s squad only won 18 games against Big Ten teams and only making two bowl games in seven years. Zook is an outstanding recruiter. He always brings in good recruiting classes, but I feel like that is just a testament to what a bad coach he is. With these outstanding young athletes, he still cannot get his players ready to play or revved up for big games.
The Illini are bowl eligible at 6-6 but they do not deserve to go to any bowl game. Bowl games are a celebration of a program and of the student athletes achievements for a given year. Losing your final six games is nothing to celebrate. If they started the season 0-6 and finished 6-6 it would be a different story. They fact is that they had one of the worst collapses in NCAA history. People were shouting Illinois praises as a contender to win the Big Ten. Yeah Right. There is nothing to celebrate in Champaign.
A fresh start is much-needed at Illinois. They need to bring in a new coach who knows how to win in the Big Ten. We have seen it before where a coach comes to a Big Ten team after having success in another conference. They just don’t understand the way the game is played in Big Ten Country. Key example would be Rich-Rod. Zook is a similar case. After success at Florida, he tried to bring an SEC philosophy to a struggling Big 10 program and it just didn’t work. Sure they made it to the Rose Bowl in 2007 but they were blown out by USC. The key for the Illini will be carefully choosing a coach who has a philosophy that will work consistently against Big Ten opponents.