My 2018 in Review

Photos only; I’ve done this in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I’ve arranged these in approximate chronological order.

Note: I’ll mention today’s mundane 5 mile walk. It was done in drizzly, chilly (40’s) conditions. I would have been worse. I could have been better. but it was ok. Miles: 1803. 4.94 miles per day. Yes, I had a minor annoyance. That was typical of the year; just enough to complain about, but nothing major..good enough. 2018 was “good enough.” Not outstanding, not terrible, but good enough.













December 31, 2018 Posted by | family, Friends, running, walking | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grim football day but otherwise…

First things first: yesterday I drove Barbara to the airport for her to start her “slightly longer than 2 week” trip to the Middle East. I have 3 “bachelor weekends” and will probably catch at least 2 football games in those weekends and maybe a 4 mile race. There is an outside chance that I get a 3’rd game. I also had dinner with Tracy at Jerusalem Restaurant; it was fun watching her speak Hebrew with the owner.

And I had a decent run in cool weather; only 4.5 miles but it included a 1.4 mile warm up and 2.5 miles as follows: 11:17/11:11 22:29 (50 seconds slower than in 2016) This was “two loops of lower Bradley Park. I’d like to get this under 21 minutes; I’ll probably need to lose more weight to reach that goal. I am now at 191-193 lbs. and while that wasn’t a bad weight for me, say, 20-30 years ago, I no longer have as much muscle mass. I really should aim for the high 170’s.

College football I had predicted wins for Maryland, Notre Dame and Texas, though I had a bad feeling about the Texas game. Perhaps I should have honored that feeling? But the ESPN computer rated the game as a toss up and, on paper, UT appeared to have the better team. It WAS close but OSU hung on so I went 2-1 straight up.

Spread: stupidly, I changed my mind and picked the Illini to cover, based on Maryland’s offensive numbers. The only thing offensive was the Illini defense…63 points and 712 total yards to a team that got shut out and had 115 yards of total offense the week before! (ok, they were playing at Iowa). I went 0-3 vs. the spread this week. Last week I went 2-0 straight up, and 1-1 vs. the spread (damned Illini).

Season: 23-8 straight up, 13-16-1 vs. the spread..many of those losses were the Illini not covering (+18 MD, +25 WI, +10 Purdue). Even the line doesn’t recognize how terrible the Illini have become. Evidently I haven’t accepted it either.

Now about yesterday’s action: I caught the Illinois State game: they hosted South Dakota State. The computer showed most of the section (where I sat) as being full, but my guess is that they saved some for same day sales. Throughout the same there were 5 people in a row that sat 20 people. Still, there WAS a good crowd for “family day” (though many were NOT football fans) and both teams were top 10 in the FCS. And the action started quickly; the Jackrabbits scored in just over a minute via a 68 yard pass off of play action (defender bit on the run). Opening play: Redbirds hit an 81 yard TD pass off of a crossing route and with just over 1:30 gone it was 7-7.

The defenses controlled things for most of the rest of the half, though SDSU reached inside the 5 only to be thwarted via a 3’d down interception (one of the few bad passes their impressive QB threw all day).

But then came the unfortunate finish to the first half: there were just 5 minutes to go and a Jackrabbit punt had pinned the Redbirds at their own 11. They tried a swing pass and the receiver tried to circle back into the backfield as it was well covered. He fumbled and the Jackrabbits recovered inside the 5. They punched it in.

Next series the Redbirds fumbled the t-formation snap (under center) and the Jackrabbits cashed in, again. It was now 21-7 and the Jackrabbits forced a punt and used their time outs. Then they nailed a long bomb touchdown pass in which the defender, in single coverage, fell down (and injured his shoulder in the process). It was now 28-7 and a last second ISU drive ended in a missed field goal (to prove large later)

In the second half, ISU switched quarterbacks which appeared to help some (and they started to run more), but not right away. ISU threw an interception, exchanged punts, then a drive off a short field put SDSU up 35-7 well into the 3’rd quarter. ISU was to outscore SDSU 21-3 the rest of the way to lose 38-28 but, to be fair, two of the final touchdowns appeared to be “garbage time” touchdowns.

ISU ended up outgaining SDSU 445-390 but could not overcome that disastrous final 5 minutes of the first half. The Jackrabbits were very impressive.

My photos:


We had an Army helicopter fly-over (NOT my photo)

Seats they claimed that mine was the only one left in my section (when I bought them). Doesn’t appear that way, does it?

Action: (here is the first ISU fumble and SDSU about to cash in)

Later: SDSU fans still there though.

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Teams trade TDs. 35-14 Jackrabbits with 11:50 to go.

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On the way home, I got to listen to Illinois getting CREAMED by Maryland; I caught most of the second half on TV prior to picking up Tracy. It was 56-19 before the Illini got a couple of garbage time touchdowns..and gave up one too. Final: 63-33 Maryland. The Illini gave up 63 points and 712 yards of offense to a team that got 0 points with 115 yards of TOTAL offense against Iowa the week before.

Sorry, though the Illini have 3 wins this year after only 2 last year, one of those wins was due to playing an absolutely dreadful Rutgers team who has regressed from last year. In Big Ten play, aside from the 38-17 win over Rutgers, the Illini have lost 63-24, 46-7, 49-20 and 63-33. Last year, aside from the finishing 42-7 loss to Northwestern, the Illini were more competitive than that. I wonder if Coach Smith knows how to reach college players. I STILL think he was a good NFL coach, but coaching up elite, mature athletes is different than coaching up 2-3 star college kids.

I think that too many Illini fans, myself included, put too much stock in a close loss to USF (which is a good but not great “group of 5” team). I was NOT one of those who was impressed that the Illini lead Penn State 24-21 with 10 minutes to go in the 3’rd..I could NOT discount Penn State’s 42-0 finish (my wife warned me that the finish better reflected reality than the start).

October 28, 2018 Posted by | college football, football, Friends, running | , | Leave a comment

A bit of college football

I drug Mat to a game where Illinois State hosted Western Illinois. And this game sort of reminded me of the Western Illinois at Illinois game. In the Champaign game, Western drove for a touchdown on their opening drive. The Illini took a 14-7 lead at the half and then lead 24-7 off of turnovers and a blocked punt. But it was 24-14 with Western driving into the 4’th quarter and ended 34-14. Total yards: 376 to 361, Illini.

The Illinois State vs. Western game: ended 33-16; here Western lead 13-12 at the half and 16-12 going into the 4’th..when ISU took it over, thanks to good field position and a pick 6.

Total yards: Western won that 277-270 though Illinois State had the edge in yards at the half.

Opening drive: Western touchdown (much of the damage by passing) but ISU blocked the PAT and ran it back for a 2 pointer. Then 2 nice drives lead to a touchdown and field goal to put ISU up 12-6. BUT…a great punt return set up WIU with a short field and then “bam/bam”..a touchdown pass right before half time sent WIU into the lead.

Second half: at first the defenses dominated (ISU, WIU, ISU punts). Then on the next drive, WIU hits a 71 yard pass…but a desperation dive by the ISU DB tripped the WIU receiver just enough to where he lost his balance at the ISU 8. A TD was called back on a holding call, so WIU has to kick the field goal to go up 16-12, which was their last score of the day.

4’th: teams exchanged 2 sets of punts; then the ISU ground game gets going and they drive for the go ahead touchdown: 19-16. A pick-6 scores another touchdown: 26-16.

So WIU tries to get back in the game but fails on 4’th and 14 on their own 25; ISU takes over and drives it in, aided by one pass, which lead to the final score of 33-16. Yes, WIU took time outs during that final drive; they weren’t going to give up being down by 10.

Note the clouds moving in.

The weather was nuts: overcast and chilly, warm and sunny, rainy (for 10-15 minutes), warm, chilly again. Perfect Illinois fall weather.

More games:

The Illini beat hapless Rutgers 38-17:

Of course, Rutgers lost to Kansas 55-14 and to Buffalo (a MAC team) at home 42-13. This time, total yards weren’t that far apart 419-386, though the Illini got 330 yards rushing.

I’ll know more after the Purdue game.

Personally, I think that the Illini will win once more this season: 1 game from Minnesota, Purdue, or Nebraska. Northwestern and Maryland (road) will be tough sledding…and IMHO, forget Iowa or Wisconsin.

Navy got trounced by Air Force 35-7. Navy will be lucky to scrape up 2 more wins this season. Just not our year and Army looks great.

ND rolled 45-23 over Virginia Tech; they look as if they have hit their stride and..should be favored in each of their remaining games. That doesn’t mean that they will win them all though.

Texas: wild finish; up 45-24…OU rallies to tie, Texas FG with 9 seconds to go to win. After a loss to Maryland and a scare by Tulsa, UT has defeated 4 quality opponents: USC, TCU, Kansas State (road) and OU. But challenges remain vs. West Virginia, at Oklahoma State, at Texas Tech and the always tough Iowa State.

Predictions: I was 4-0 vs. the spread, and 3-1 straight up (missed the OU game).
Straight up: 15-7, spread: 11-10.

October 7, 2018 Posted by | college football, football | , | Leave a comment

My 2017 in review

This is my 2017 in review. I did this for 2015 and again in 2016.

Of note: my daughter graduated college (her accomplishment, not mine) and I completed my first year at a new rank. Athletically the year was a bit of a bust (no 5K under 27 minutes, only one marathon or beyond finish, best bench press was 200 lbs.) but I was active throughout and I did take some local trips. Of most note: I had a good time with friends, a “tl;dr” collage is here:







I am getting lapped by Jason (1:01:22)






Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor


December 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, college football, football, Friends, NFL, Peoria, running, travel, walking, yoga | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A bizarre Illinois State vs. North Dakota State game

When I saw that North Dakota State (seeded 2 in the FCS playoffs) was coming to play Illinois State, I wanted to go. NDSU had won 5 of the 6 past FCS National Championships and Illinois State has been a playoff team for several years in a row, making it to the finals in 2015. But this year, they were 6-5 going into this game and needed a win to make the play offs.

They didn’t get it; they lost 20-7 in a game that saw them have some chances. Oh, NDSU is better but..for this game, ISU made it interesting but made some key mistakes that cost them dearly.

But what I will remember is the weather: first it was a cold, driving rain (Mat and I were ready for it). Then..and I was unaware (ISU was prepared) came the sleet then came blowing, driving snow..all in the first half! It snowed for half of the second half and then the weather got a bit better.

But back to the game: NDSU drove the ball well (mostly on running but, when they got close to the red zone, got sacked. NDSU punted from the 32 (or so). Remember, it was raining hard; field position would be a factor. They got another drive but the same thing happened; they got close, got sacked, had to punt. So that was the first quarter (NDSU ran and ate up clock). Total yards were about 80-20, but it was 0-0.

Then the defenses more or less took over in the second quarter (as the sleet, then snow came) and the mercifully quick first half ended 0-0.

The second half: Illinois State stalled and had to punt into a stiff wind on a snowy field. The defense got a stop..but a roughing the punter penalty gave NDSU new life and they scored off of running.

Next possession; ISU gets intercepted and the defender made a highlight worthy run back to set up the NDSU offense. They punch it in but miss the point; 13-0. I figure it is over.

Not much happens on the snow covered field until the it stops snowing. Finally, with the wind, the ISU offense mixes up some running (had some minor success) with passing and drives for a touchdown. It is 13-7 and ISU starts to use time outs to get the ball back. But two quarter back keeps; the second one works up the middle..the qb was caught from behind, fumbled but NDSU recovers at the 1. They punch it in..and ISU’s game attempt to get back in runs out of steam with just over 1 minute to go in NDSU territory.

Still, it was an interesting ball game between an elite FCS team and a good FCS team.

Mat and I were ready.

Early action.

Then came the snow during the second quarter. They did open up Redbird arena for fans who wanted to watch on TV.

Half time was eerie.

NDSU played better in the 3’rd quarter and built their game winning lead.

Offenses traded touchdown drives in the 4’th quarter, but NDSU had their lead.

Professional photos: (more here)

Jabril Cox of North Dakota State intercepts an Illinois State pass during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

November 20, 2017 Posted by | college football, football | , | Leave a comment

Football weekend: Illinois vs. Nebraska and Illinois State vs. Indiana State

workout notes: easy 4 mile walk after we got back from Champaign. Yes, I lifted weights on Friday morning (got 190 x 4 on the bench; pull ups, and even some goblet squats)

The Illinois vs. Nebraska game (Friday night)

Though Nebraska was a 6.5 point favorite (and ESPN gave them a 60 percent chance of winning the game), based on previous results, I really thought this was a matchup of equals that Illinois was going to win. After all, both teams had gotten blown out on the road by ranked teams (Oregon, South Florida) and Illinois won their MAC team game (Nebraska narrowly lost). I thought that the talent level was equal, though Nebraska had more experienced players.

I could not have been more wrong. Nebraska had stronger, faster and more experienced players.

Nebraska scored touchdowns on its first (and only) 3 possessions of the first half, and were to punt twice and turn it over on a fumble once; their final possession ended with the “victory formation” deep in Illinois territory; they passed on trying for “style points”

It was 21-3 at the half and ended 28-6. Illinois drive in the first half ended up stalling inside the 10, and a short field in the second half (from a short punt) also ended in a field goal to cut the lead to 21-6. But after getting the fumble, Illinois went backwards (got sacked) and had to punt; that appeared to take the wind out of the sails.

Total yards: 411 to 199 in Nebraska’s favor. Nebraska had 8 possessions: 4 ended with touchdowns, 2 ended with punts, 1 with a fumble, 1 with a victory formation.


Illinois State 24 Indiana State 13
Though Illinois State came in 3-0 and Indiana State was 0-3, one of ISU-blue’s losses was to Tennessee; the other two losses were a 2 point loss to Eastern Illinois and a 1 point loss to no. 19 ranked (FCS) Liberty.

The first quarter saw most of the offense come from long passes; ISU-B did not get close enough for a field goal, ISU-R did. A strip fumble on a punt return set up the Redbirds, but eventually they failed on a 4’th and 2 from the 4. But never mind; the defense got strip sack in the endzone for the touchdown.

The second quarter saw the Redbirds score on two long passes where they got 1 on 1 coverage on one of their best receivers; it was 24-0 at the half. One touchdown got away when the Redbird runner fumbled while going into the endzone.

The Redbirds had over 300 yards of total offense in the first half.

But then came the second half; ISU-b got a pick 6 and then a drive for a touchdown to cut the lead to 24-13. The Redbirds still had a couple of drives; one ended with a fumble on a bad shotgun snap; the other was a plain old fumble. But the Redbirds got just enough out of a key 4’th quarter drive to flip field position, and the defense played pretty well the entire time. Total yards finished 401-197 Redbirds.


Illinois vs. Nebraska

Pregame band music included the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Pregame jump

Lots of good seats left, especially in the upper deck.

Some game action shots. From the Champaign Room gallery (lots more here)

Barbara was good company.

Decent lower deck crowd at first

Fans gave up.

Illinois State vs. Indiana State

ISU pregame

First half action. Good crowd: a sell out (over 13K)

Strip Sack for a TD. (from here)

Pretty sunset.

Fans left a bit early; there was some drama in the 4’th quarter to be watched.

October 1, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, walking, weight training | , | 1 Comment

Fun FCS afternoon: Illinois State beats Missouri State 37-0

Workout notes: weights then a short 2 mile walk. weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (15-15-10-10), incline press: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, 10 x 135, military press: 3 sets of 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 machine rows, headstand, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts.

The Riverplex was a spandex palace!

Then to watch some FCS ball: Illinois State vs. Missouri State:



The game itself was a butt kicking. It ended 37-0, with the Redbirds rolling up 514 total yards, including 268 rushing yards. It was 20-0 at the half, and that included a field goal off of a turn over and a touchdown when Missouri State went for it on 4’th and 1 on their own 37.

The second half: more domination; the line opened big holes and gave the quarterback plenty of time to find open receivers.

In other games; I missed Navy’s exciting 42-40 win over Tulsa, Notre Dames 44-6 wipe out of Army, Texas losing 24-20 to West Virginia and Illinois getting bombed 48-3 by Wisconsin.

November 13, 2016 Posted by | college football, football | | Leave a comment

FCS football can be fun too…

I caught an Illinois State game this past Saturday. It was a last second decision; I bought my ticket about 2.5 hours before the game started. They seated me in row 3, with some of the athletes (volleyball players), coaches and parents.

Though it was a fun experience, I think that I’d prefer higher up; plays toward the corner of the end zone were obscured by the players on the sideline. Still, I was close enough to hear the coaches, players and the hitting.

Yes, this was FCS, but Illinois State beat Northwestern this year and Southern Illinois has competed with big time teams before.

Southern raced out to a 10-0 lead before ISU rallied. ISU’s offense was mostly big plays: a 55 yard run here, 42 yard pass there. ISU took momentum and lead 14-10 before a key play at the end of the half. Southern made a long drive and hit a pass to the ISU 1 yard line. But only 10 seconds were left, but they had time outs. A running play into the line was called, and the runner fumbled the ball while going into the end zone, at it was recovered for a touchback. So the half ended 14-10.

The third quarter was just a ton of action; a field goal cut the lead to 14-13; a long ISU pass pushed the lead to 21-13, but Southern came right back to tie the game with a touchdown and a 2 pointer.

But ISU burned Southen with another bomb to put the lead 28-21 going into the 4’th.

A nifty 50 yard field goal (each team had a 50 yarder) pushed the lead to 31-21. But Southern still had life. The got the ball for one final drive and scored to cut the lead to 31-28. But ISU recovered the onside kick and ended up running out the clock. Southern had time outs but an offside penalty on 3’rd down lead to a time run off and the end of the game.



First quarter action.


Southern punting later in the game.


ISU scored their first TD on this play; it was set up by a 55 yard run.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | college football, football | | Leave a comment

Lesson learned…over and over again (sports)

Workout notes: I was up at 4:30 am??? Well, I went ahead and got to the gym (Riverplex) and lifted.

Pull ups (5 sets of 10, good), rotator cuff, lots of goblet squats.
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185
incline press: 7 x 150, 10 x 135
military presses: 2 sets of 10 x 45 dumbbell (standing), 10 x 40 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 single arm.
head stand (ok), 2 sets of each of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridge.

Then I walked 5 miles: back of Riverplex, to the goose loop, around and to the start of Springdale and back. Note: on the way back, I decided to take the sidewalk because there were runners behind me and I wanted to give them the bike lane. they took the sidewalk…hey..some cute spandex so I was ok.

Sports: I remember back in 1997-1998 when Bradley Basketball beat nationally ranked Michigan at home.

“The Team that Beat Michigan”, they said. But then:

2-08-1997 MICHIGAN W 63-58 10741 Peoria, Ill. WEEK
12-21-1997 at Western Illinois L 50-56 3849 Macomb, Ill.
12-28-1997 at Evansville L 57-59 8105 Evansville, Ind. ESPN
*01-03-1998 INDIANA STATE L 61-65 ot 9716 Peoria, Ill.

None of those teams were nationally ranked. Moral: one good win doesn’t not a good team make.

This Saturday, Illinois State football found that out. They beat Northwestern a week ago this past Saturday, in Evanston. But yesterday: the fell behind and lost to Eastern Illinois at home.

September 18, 2016 Posted by | college football, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Double Football Weekend, take 2, part 1

Workout notes: very slow 8.1 mile run on my Cornstalk course; 46 minutes half way, 48 minutes second half. I just went and let my mind wander. It was grey, warm, and drizzly. As I was coming from Laura Ave. onto Cooper, some women smiled and waved. They are on the university track team; they see out all of the time. Also, there was another woman doing hill repeats and crunches.

It was the old “how cute that old professor is trying to run” sort of look. πŸ™‚

Now I am in St. Louis; on the way down we listened to the second part of the Army-Navy game. Navy hung on to win 21-17; I had predicted that Navy would win but the Cadets would cover the spread.

Friday Night: I caught the Illinois State vs. Richmond FCS playoff game. I cajoled my department chair into going to the game with me; we went to Illinois State games together back in 1993-1994.

It was a misty day, but we stayed dry; it was 55 F which is unusual for December in Illinois. You couldn’t ask for better football weather. Our side was mostly filled out toward the middle; the bleachers across the way were sparsely filled.




Yes, this fan is wearing a horse’s head.


It was an entertaining scrap. The Spider receivers had terrific hands; they caught EVERYTHING that they got close to. In the first half, Richmond dominated play, but had to kick two field goals when deep in ISU territory. Also, ISU got an interception and it was “only” 19-7 at the half, though Richmond had close to 300 yards in total offense.


ISU got a stop and dominated play for most of the 3’rd quarter. But they got only one score (cutting it to 19-14). But Richmond responded to go up 25-14; Richmond had trouble with extra points.

Then came a key sequence. An ISU pass went to the 3 and ISU had a first and goal. But runs got stopped; then there was a penalty, and then an interception. Then Richmond got still another touchdown and it was 32-14 and ISU looked sunk..there was only 7 minutes left.


But ISU rallied with two very nice scoring drives and a big stop. Still, it was 32-27 with just over 3 minutes to go. But bam…running plays Richmond drove and broke a long run. 39-27, which is how it ended.

Total yards: 556 for Richmond (399 in the air, mostly on 3’rd down passes down the field), 448 for Illinois State (mostly in the second half of the game).

December 13, 2015 Posted by | college football, football, running | , , | Leave a comment