Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

By Gus Bode

Everybody remembers those classic magic 8-Balls from their childhood. The little toy has foretold the futures of millions of people since being invented in 1946.

It told us who we would marry, how we would do on a test and what job we would have when we were adults.

But it can also be used for more practical purposes – such as attempting to predict what will happen with SIU sports this fall. Let’s give it a shake.


Will Muhammad Abdulqaadir have a second-year slump? Ask again later.

Last year’s rushing totals of 1,331 yards and 20 touchdowns weren’t a fluke, but they will also be hard to repeat. With senior Tom Koutsos coming back for another year after his injury last season, Mo should expect to have fewer carries per game this season.

Of course, the fact that Abdulqaadir only saw notable action in six of the Salukis’ 12 games has people wondering just what he can do if he stays healthy for all 11 games this year.

Will Abdulqaadir win the Payton Award? Outlook good.

Once again, this will have a lot to do with how long he can stay healthy. There are plenty of people who will challenge him for the award this year, including Grambling quarterback Bruce Eugene and Georgia Southern quarterback Chaz Williams.

But the consensus last year was that Abdulqaadir would have won the award handily had he not been injured. So, this year, it looks like the Payton Award is his to lose.

Will Koutsos return to all-conference form? Don’t count on it.


He’s healthy and ready to contribute to the team, but his role has been diminished with the ascension of Abdulqaadir. He will probably be used more as a third-down back or short-yardage guy.

There’s no doubt that he still has the talent and skills to be the top back, but after the season that Abdulqaadir had last year, Tommy will just have to take a backseat and become more of a role player.

Will Koutsos break the conference rushing record? It is decidedly so.

He was shelved last year with a career total of 3,747 yards, only 485 shy of breaking the record set by Eastern Illinois’ Willie High in 1995.

Koutsos would only have to average 45 yards a game this season to eclipse the mark, and with the non-conference schedule that the Salukis have this year, he could probably accrue most of those yards in the team’s first four games.

Besides, the Salukis’ chances of winning a Gateway title this season are slim, and as the season comes to a close, everyone will want to see Tommy break the record.

Will the Salukis finish in the top half of the Gateway? Signs point to yes.

They were picked to finish sixth in the preseason coaches poll, but they were only six points behind Northern Iowa, which was picked fourth, so it is not unfathomable to think that the Dawgs could crack the upper echelon.

SIU has a good shot at winning at least three of their non-conference games, which would give some much-needed momentum heading into the Gateway season.

Opening against Indiana State, which was picked to finish last in the preseason poll, won’t hurt either.

Will the SIU volleyball team return to the conference tournament? Very doubtful.

The Salukis lost seven key players from last year’s squad that won 23 games and made it all the way to the tournament championship contest. Among those losses were all-conference selections Kristie Kemner and Lindsey Schultz.

Trying to fill the huge void, head coach Sonya Locke has brought in 12 recruits, including 11 freshmen. She has said that this group is one of the most athletic squads she has ever had, but they will need at least a year or two to gel as a team.