After the first two rounds, we have Illinois and Iowa tied 1-1, so here are the final three rounds to determine who truly deserves our praise as a football team.
Round 3: Head Coaches
I kind of already touched on this beforehand, but basically here's the current breakdown of the two head coaches.
Illinois- Ron Zook
Coaching History : College Assistant Coach: Murray State, Cincinnati, Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Florida. NFL Assistant Coach: Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints. College Head Coach: Florida, Illinois.
Head Coaching Record: UF- 23-15. Illinois- 9-20 Overall: 32-35, 47% Winning Percentage. Bowl Games: 0-3
Notable for: Two top 25 recruiting classes in his first two years at Illinois. Has the distinction of being the first head coach to have a website calling for his firing (www.fireronzook.com) up and running before had even coached a game at the University of Florida. Once had his coaching and recruiting integrity questioned by John L. Smith (seriously, guuuh). Likes when things get Better and Better. Loves to water ski and ....do whatever the hell it is he's doing in the second photograph.
Seriously, I don't want to know.
Iowa- Kirk Ferentz
Coaching History: Assistant College Coach: Pittsburgh, Iowa. NFL Assistant Coach: Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens. College Head Coach: University of Maine, Iowa.
Head Coaching Record: Maine-12-21, Iowa 57-45, Career:69-66. 51 % Winning Percentage. Bowls: 3-3.
Notable for: Having served under such college and NFL coaching greats as the venerable Hayden Fry and the immortal Bill Bellicheck, Kirk Ferentz has been classically trained in the art of coaching by some of the game's greatest blah blah fucking blah. They guy is a solid football coach with the ability up until the last two seasons to make the most out of under-recruited white guys and was also known for his seemingly magical ability to craft five unknown fat boys in a wall of solid granite on the offensive line. But is this really what you consider a coaching great? One BCS bowl? Hell, Ron Turner had that, and that guy sucked as a head coach (and has made his way onto Iggins! shit list as an offensive coordinator as well). Frankly, there's really nothing at all interesting or notable about Ferentz or the teams he coaches, with the 2002 team and Drew Tate being the only exceptions. He's a solid, milquetoast man and coach and will probably rebound his team from their current slump of the last two years, but will probably never take them to the promised land of a national title. Do I believe Zook will do that for Illinois? Probably not either, but despite the records (and really, I'm as shocked as you are that Ferentz only has a .511 winning percentage as a head coach, but that can be explained away, and I know once he reads this Iggins! will be chomping at the bit to defend him with "yeah, but that's because he had no talent his first few years at Iowa, since then his records been well over .500"), and the fact that over the long run Ferentz will probably be a far more consistently successful head coach than Zook, I choose the Zookster simply because when I googled images of Kirk Ferentz, this is the very first one that came up.
Yeah, that pretty much says it all. Advantage: Illinois
Round 4: The Quarterback that Led Us to Our Last BCS Bowls, and Whom We Hold Dearly In Our Hearts.
Illinois- Kurt Kittner 1998-2001
College Statistics: 43 games, 682 comp./1264 attempts. 8,722 yds. 70 touchdowns, 34 interceptions.
Record as Starter: 25-14. Guided Illinois to Sugar Bowl as a senior in 2001, trampled upon by LSU 47-34.
Since College: Drafted by Falcons in 5th Rd, 2002 Draft. Made 5 starts in place of the injured Mike Vick in 2003, prompted fans to wear brown bags over their head with "Kurt Kittner Fan Club" written on them. Cut by the Falcons in 2004, he was a backup/practice squad QB for the Bears in 2005. Was MVP of the World Bowl with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in the summer of 2005, teaming with Jarrett Payton (son of Walter) to win the league championship. Is now the color commentator for the Fighting Illini radio broadcasts (and it's awesome).
Iowa- Brad Banks 2001-2002
College Statistics: Passing- 23 games, 213 comp./362 attempts. 3,155 yds. 30 tds, 7 interceptions. Rushing- 122 attempts, 574 yards. 4.7 yards per rush. 7 tds.
Record as Starter: 11-2. Despite being a junior college transfer and not starting a single game his junior season(his first at Iowa), much to Iggins! chagrin (quoth the raven: Jon Beutjer Fucking Sucked!), Banks took over as the starter his senior year and guided Iowa to an 11-1 regular season record and share of the Big Ten Conference Title, before being thrashed by USC 38-17 in the Orange Bowl. The game had an interesting back story in that Banks finished second in Heisman voting that year to USC quarterback (and God among Men) Carson Palmer, something that Iggins! initially derided as Banks being jobbed, only to later remark after the bowl game "on second thought, I think they had that one right."
Since College: Undrafted after college, Banks went to training camp with the Redskins in 2003 but was cut shortly afterward. Since then he has played in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Renegades, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and is currently a member of the Montreal Alouettes.
Result: Well, Kittner was probably a more polished passer and was a four year starter and two time bowl game starter for the Illini, but Banks was a more exciting player, even if for a shorter time, and, let me reiterate, is a Montreal Alouette. I'm gonna throw him a fucking bone on this one. Advantage: Iowa
Round 5: Mascot
Illlinois: Chief Illiniwek (Yeah, You're God Damn Right I'm Saying it, You Bleeding Heart Commie Pussies).
Why We Have (Had) Him: The Illini tribe, which has long since ceased to exist as an independent tribe, was the basis for the name of our school, which coincidentally or not, is the name of our FUCKING STATE. So, racially offensive though it may be merely to name a place after a Native American tribe, (damn you, Sioux Falls!), Illinois has the Fighting Illini team name and had for many years the illustrious chief you see pictured above. However, this is America, and enough whining will override freedom of speech enough to remove anything anybody out there considers offensive, and we had to say goodbye to our beloved icon.
Iowa: Herky the Hawk
Why They Have Him: Iowa is known as the Hawkeye state. The University of Iowa sports teams are the Hawkeyes. That's not exactly rocket science, even for the addled minds of those who reside in that bumfuck state. Herky was born in 1948 when a journalism teacher at Iowa made a drawing of the business director for Iowa's athletic department as he would look were he some kind of creepy bird man. Rather than kill this piss ant teacher, as any redblooded man should have done, the director decided to adopt the drawing as the school's mascot. The name Herky came from a statewide naming contest and is meant to be a reference to Hercules (who, in an unrelated, though poignant to the state of Iowa, matter, is the son of a man who married and had inbred kids with his sister. Zeus, Hera, I'm not kidding, look that shit up) . I find this mascot offensive to Greeks, bird-like athletic directors, and the national audubon society and demand that the costume and whoever the current jackass that wears it is be burned at the stake. God Bless America.
Conclusion: As one final tribute to our tragically heroic mascot, I award this point, the deciding factor to the University of Illinois. If you expected a different result, you're probably a fucking moron. Advantage: Illinois
Game, Set, and Match