Tupper: Three ‘biggies’ off Illini football schedule

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BRANSON MO NEWS: Bob Zuppke coached the University of Illinois football team for 29 seasons. The fact that he emerged with a record 50 games above .500 makes him a legend or a god or both.Illini lore says he was both.Zuppke was many things, including an author, an artist and a friend of Ernest Hemingway. But as a football coach he was considered to be an innovator and is credited with inventing things like the flea flicker, the screen pass, the spiral snap from center, the huddle and spring practice.

A few of us would like to drag him behind Memorial Stadium and talk to him about the spring practice thing, but let’s give the man credit.His Illini teams in 1914, 1919, 1923 and 1927 were declared national champions, which helped earn him induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. He was also a member of the first Illini Athletic Hall of Fame class.And he clearly had a firm grasp of the realities of the job when he once noted, “Alumni are loyal if a coach wins all of his games.”Young coaches pay attention: Those are words to live by.His first team was the 1913 squad that forged a 4-2-1 record. Victories were against Kentucky, Missouri, Northwestern and the Indiana Athletic Club. After opening with a 4-0 mark, Illinois lost to Chicago, played to a scoreless tie against Purdue and lost to Minnesota.Notice which schools the Illini did not play. They did not play Michigan, Ohio State or Michigan State.Not since 1913 has an Illini football team gone through a season without playing at least one of those three schools. But it will happen again this fall when Illinois’ 12-game schedule does not include games against Michigan, Ohio State or Michigan State.Traditionally, those have been games fans circle in …



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