June 2010 Archives

Illini golf coach Mike Small shot a final-round 73 Wednesday to win his second straight PGA Professional National Championship at French Lick, Ind. Only the second player to win the event three times, Small finished at 8-under par (278) in the 72-hole event, three shots ahead of runnerup Sonny Skinner. With the victory, Small earned a slot in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August. The top 20 finishers at French Lick all will compete at Whistling Straits.

Illini golf coach Mike Small shot a 65 Tuesday, a record at the new Pete Dye Course at French Lick, Ind., and opened a four-shot lead after 54 holes in his bid to defend his title in the PGA Professional National Championship. Small, 44, posted a 54-hole total of 9-under-par 205, which is four strokes better than Danny Balin of Greenwich, Conn., who had a second consecutive 68 in his first Championship appearance.

With Nebraska, and possibly Missouri, reportedly facing a Friday deadline from Big 12 officials on whether they intend to remain in the Big 12, speculation is mounting that the Big Ten may speed up the 12- to 18-month timetable it announced in December for deciding on expansion.
However, Big Ten officials tried to distance themselves from the swirling rumors after a meeting Sunday in Park Ridge of the league's 11 presidents and chancellors.
``It's not just a conference making a decision,'' Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said. ``It has always been and will continue to be about institutions making a choice. For us that would be an application process, an assessment process.''
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Nebraska and Missouri ``have been given an ultimatum by the Big 12 and told they have until this Friday to decide if they want to remain in the conference or entertain the possibility of joining the Big Ten.''
Other reports said only Nebraska was given the Friday deadline, but Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne told the Lincoln Journal-Star he was unaware of any deadlines for his school.
One possible explanation for the Big 12 forcing an early decision from schools rumored to be potential new Big Ten members is the domino effect Big Ten expansion would have.
If some Big 12 schools defect to the Big Ten, the Los Angeles Times reported, the Pac-10 is considering inviting six Big 12 schools to join it and form a Pac-16. Orangebloods.com, a website devoted to Texas Longhorns athletics, reported that Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Colorado, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the schools being eyed by the Pac-10. At Pac-10 meetings in San Francisco, commissioner Larry Scott said he has been given authority from his conference presidents to add schools.
With conferences across the nation bracing for Big Ten domino effect, Delany pointed out that the Big Ten still might choose not to expand.
``There could be a decision not to act,'' the commissioner said. ``That's always been on the table.''
That option seems far less likely, though, than the Big Ten expanding--with at least three new members.
Big Ten officials said no formal action was taken at Sunday's annual spring meeting, but Delany did say that the ``timeline could be affected'' by all the turmoil around the country.
The wild card in all of this continues to be Notre Dame. The Irish seem steadfast in their plan to remain independent in football. But with speculation mounting that college football could become dominated by four super-conferences, ND may have to take another hard look at its stance.


Nathan Scheelhaase will be Illinois' starting quarterback heading into the 2010 sason, coach Ron Zook said Tuesday. This is no surprise to those who followed spring practice, when the redshirt freshman from Kansas City established himself as Illinois' best option. Zook and new offensive coordinator Paul Petrino seemed reluctant to confirm that earlier, but now feel naming Scheelhaase will help him solidify his leadership role this summer.
``Following spring ball, our coaching staff had some time to review the quarterback situation and felt Nathan proved himself as a leader both on and off the field,'' Zook said. ``He showed the ability to run coach Petrino's offense at a high level, and we thought it was important to establish Nathan as a team leader entering summer workouts.''
Scheelhaase's leadership skills are excellent, especially for a player who has yet to make his college debut. His understanding of the offense and his scrambling ability also are promising. The key questions about him are whether he can make the throws he'll need to make for Illinois to be successful, how he'll handle the pounding he may take, and whether the players around him will be able to step up and ease the burden on him.
Illinois has two other quarterbacks who could challenge Scheelhaase as the season progresses, sophomore Jacob Charest and true freshman Chandler Whitmer.
After some promising appearances last fall, Charest was overtaken by Scheelhaase in spring ball. Whitmer, who probably has the best arm of the trio, enrolled early to participate in spring practice, but still has a big learning curve and could redshirt this fall if Illinois can find dependable quarterback play.

Kickoff times for eight of Illinois' 12 scheduled games have been set:
Date             Opponent                                         Time                      TV
Sept. 4         vs. Missouri (St. Louis)                     11:30 a.m. CT        FSN
Sept. 11       SOUTHERN ILLINOIS                         6:30 p.m. CT          BTN
Sept. 18       NORTHERN ILLINOIS                         11 a.m. CT            BTN
Oct. 2           OHIO STATE                                       TBA
Oct. 9           at Penn State                                    11 a.m. CT            ESPN/ESPN2/BTN
Oct. 16         at Michigan State                             11 a.m. CT            ESPN/ESPN2/BTN
Oct. 23         INDIANA (Homecoming)                   11 a.m. CT            ESPN/ESPN2/BTN
Oct. 30         PURDUE                                            TBA
Nov. 6           at Michigan                                      TBA
Nov. 13         MINNESOTA (Dad's Day)                   TBA
Nov. 20          at Northwestern (Wrigley Field)        11 a.m. CT            ESPN/ESPN2
Dec. 3            at Fresno State                                 9:15 p.m. CT        ESPN2

About the blogger

Herb Gould started with the Sun-Times in 1977 and has covered several teams, including the Blackhawks. He is a long-time beat reporter covering the Fighting Illini and the Big Ten for the Sun-Times.

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