Cubit's career at Illinois could hinge on Minnesota game

By Peter Bailey-Wells

If, prior to the 2015 Illinois football season, you had told me Minnesota would be the biggest game of Bill Cubit’s career, I would have probably laughed at you.

But the Illini will travel to Minneapolis for the game of Cubit’s life — win, and his team is bowl eligible or lose, and likely lose all opportunity for another season at Illinois’ helmbr.

So here we stand, with Ohio State in the rearview and the Golden Gophers staring the Illini square in the face. This game is the more winnable of the two remaining games on Illinois’ schedule and with the home team riding a four-game losing streak, the Illini must strike while the iron is cold.

Because it will be cold up there this weekend: Saturday’s high is 30. Journalists disown their colleagues who use weather leads, but it seems like every game at TCF Bank Stadium deserves onebr. The Illini have not played a game in inclement weather yet this season — the worst was a misting when the Cornhuskers came to town — so Saturday will be lots of fun for those kids who came to Champaign from Florida and California.

Wes Lunt said Monday that despite the weather, he’d probably opt not to wear the gloves that he donned late last season in cold-weather games. Teddy Karras explained to me how he will never wear sleeves, no matter how chilly, and Clayton Fejedelem said he flat out doesn’t think about the weatherbr.

But all meteorology aside, in one weird way, this program has come full circle. The 2014 Minnesota game saved Tim Beckman’s job — at least with regards to last season — and this year’s game could save Cubit’s job.

Now, he’s not guaranteed the spot if he beats the Gophers, but getting this team bowl eligible would be a real boost to his resume. The new athletic director and the University’s Board of Trustees may want to go in another direction, but Cubit has the support of his players and to some extent, his fan base. If he makes a bowl game — and even more so if he wins one —his claim to the job is a pretty strong one.

Combine that with the job opportunities out there at the end of this season — Miami, Mizzou and USC, just to name a few — and the Illini administration might have to go with Cubit simply by default if he can muster a win against Minnesota.

The Northwestern game will be a fun one, but that’s not a game that Illinois has a good chance of winning, what with the strength of the Wildcats’ defense and the fact that the game is in Chicago.

So it’s on, Bill. Show us what you’ve got. In the last few weeks you’ve talked a lot about how you want the job, now go out and show it. These players have loyalty, that’s for sure. Now, for a second year in a row, they need to beat Minnesota to try and keep their coach around.

Peter is a junior in Media.

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