Author: Herb Gould

Bears go all in for Trubisky, who just needs to be as good a player as he is a story.

Here on the Midway, everyone has an opinion about the Bears’ decision that Mitch Trubisky is the next Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Tom Brady and RG3 all rolled into one. Either they applaud the bold move of giving the 49ers three draft picks to move up one slot, from third overall to second overall, to secure the one-year starter from North Carolina. Or they think the Bears are desperate. Among those who approve are talk-radio hosts, who feel like budding standup comics who have just been given a notebook of unused Seinfeld jokes. This Trubisky pick gives them hours and hours of sure-fire material. Others are ripping the decision to give the Niners the 67th and 111th picks in this year’s draft, plus a 2018 third-round pick, for the privilege of swapping their No. 3 pick for San Francisco’s No. 2. These critics include some national media analysts. And some Bears fans sitting on barstools with shots and beers, yearning for the days when Da Coach, Mike Ditka, presided over the only sports dynasty that won exactly one championship. I, however, am not going to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Trubisky until we actually have a clue as to whether Trubisky is going to be an NFL winner. Until then, I will wonder how the Bears’ young GM, Ryan Pace, determined that Trubisky is so much better than,...

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“World Series champion Cubs” . . . . No longer an unfamiliar ring

Ordinarily, is all about words and college sports. And no jewelry. But since the Cubs have won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, I thought you might be interested in seeing their championship rings. They’re kinda cool. . . I also want to salute my friends and colleagues at the Chicago Sun-Times for putting together these photos and explanations. Here’s the online version....

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Big Ten Takeaways: On foul calls. And the league’s ups and downs.

And so, another college basketball season ends with another championship game that. . . Well, put it this way. If you can’t name 10 NCAA tournament games that were more entertaining than Gonzaga-UNC, you weren’t watching closely. Part of the problem is that foul calls are so game-altering. I don’t want to rip officials because they do what they’re supposed to do, and they generally do it well. Raising the number of fouls allowed wouldn’t change the situation. Because everybody’s playing on the edge. If players had six or even seven fouls instead of five, they’d be that much more aggressive on defense, and still wind up flirting with fouling out. While Gonzaga’s big men were taken off their games by whistles, I couldn’t help but think of the 2005 national championship game, in which Illinois’ key big man, James Augustine, got into foul trouble on some bing-bang plays. That paved the way for North Carolina to smoke the Illini. I don’t know exactly what happened in the work-the-referees contest between Mark Few and Roy Williams. But I’ve always thought Williams absolutely drilled Bruce Weber in that department in 2005. And I thought Mike Krzyzewski did a marvelous job in the 2015 national championship, absolutely blowing Bo Ryan out of the gym in the second half. Ordinarily, Bo is pretty good at making his point to referees. But he...

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What? Me worry? No way. . . Repeat after me. Cubs quest 2.0: Let the games begin.

What? Me worry? The World Series Champion Cubs—let’s say that again—the World Series Champion Cubs, embark on their title defense in St. Louis on Sunday night. I am very excited to see a batting order that begins with Kyle “The Natural’’ Schwarber, Kris “MVP’’ Bryant and Anthony “Oh, what a Saturday Night Live sketch’’ Rizzo go to work. I am also excited about a starting rotation in which Kyle Hendricks, who finished third in the Cy Young voting, will be the fifth starter in the Cubs’ rotation. That’s more of a procedural thing, as manager Joe Maddon uses his lefty-righty mix to best advantage. But still. . . I have concerns about Jason Heyward’s ability to fix the troublesome swing that left him with a .230 batting average last season and made him an offensive liability. But I am absolutely not worried about the 2017 Cubs. I say this because there seems to be doubt and skepticism about the Cubs’ ability to repeat. Let’s say that again, too: “The Cubs’ ability to repeat.’’ The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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In first year, young Illinois AD Whitman backs up `We will win’ with energetic hires

The guy who had the best year at Illinois didn’t win a game. But he won the most important battle. Hat’s off to Josh Whitman for rolling up his sleeves and putting the fight back in the Fighting Illini. When the former Illinois tight end became athletic director at his alma mater in March of 2016, he stepped onto a campus that had seen its two premier sports mired in turmoil. Football was a litigious embarrassment. Tim Beckman’s reign of error had gone from public gaffes to the allegations of player mistreatment that led to his dismissal. Basketball had become stuck in the mud under John Groce, who wound up missing the NCAA tournament in his final four seasons in Champaign. Whitman’s unblinking vow: `We will win.’ He even put a hashtag on it. Time will tell whether Lovie Smith makes Illini football competitive again, and whether Brad Underwood can get Illini basketball in the hunt for the glory that the school’s most successful sport covets. But this much we already know. . . The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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