Note to all my friends (and others) in Illini Nation. There’s going to be a paywall a few paragraphs into this fabulous column.

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And now, what are we to make of Lovie Smith and his third stab at getting Illinois back on the rails?

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One of the perils of sportswriting is skirting the thin line.

Write something too positive and you risk being called “a homer.’’

Write something too critical and you risk being called . . . things that aren’t printable in a family newspaper—and aren’t in good taste on the World Wide Web.

Do neither and you’re boring.

Which brings me to Lovie Smith, now entering his third year of trying to wake up the long-dormant Illini football program.  The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.