A Loss of I-dentity

My piece for ChicagoSide on Aug. 31 …

Ron Zook is in the CBS Sports Network studios. Bruce Weber is in Manhattan, Kansas. And Chief Illiniwek? He’s in absentia.

Former AD Ron Guenther is in retirement. His successor’s competency is still in question. Meanwhile, the football program is in the hands of a coach we barely know. Ditto for hoops.

On the academic side, there’s more upheaval, as the semester begins with Illinois’ third president in four school years.

Oh, and then, there’s the iconic Alma Mater statue.

She’s in rehab.

Where does that leave the University of Illinois today?

As an Illinois alum, dedicated observer, and longtime football season-ticket holder, I don’t know. As we head into 2012-2013 with Saturday’s football opener vs. Western Michigan, I can’t recall a time when Illini Nation has suffered an identity crisis quite like this.

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