With only their second 4-1 start since 2011, the Fighting Illini have a chance at not only their best 6-game start in eleven years, but a real shot at ending what is now the longest AP Top 25 drought among Power 5 schools.
What’s even more interesting to the casual observer, however, is this: after the Virginia game a month ago, I proclaimed that this season for Illinois would be decided by a three game stretch to kick off October. These three games, against teams that like to run the ball and stop the run and don’t throw unless they absolutely have to, will define everything.
One win puts them firmly in contention for just their third bowl berth in the last decade.
Two wins opens the door to a 7-win regular season, something that hasn’t been seen since 2007 and has only happened twice this century.
Sweep these games and I shit you not the Illini not only clinch a bowl berth but take control of the Big Ten West.
Illinois won the first game 34-10 on the road. The next two are at home against stronger competition. One win is accomplished. A bowl is likely! Everything else is gravy now!
The game against Iowa is under the lights, but next week’s Homecoming game against Minnesota is right in the comfort zone for the Illini: 11AM kickoff.
The opposing factions of The Game look to demoralize the belligerents in the Old Brass Spitoon game as top-5 Ohio State and Michigan are heavy favorites against Michigan State and Indiana respectively.
Penn State and Minnesota have the week off to think about why they turned the ball over so much.
Iowa hopes the Illini can deliver the coup de grace to Brian Ferentz despite everyone from the head coach to the athletic director openly declaring that to be impossible.
The game of the week is Purdue’s pending shootout with Maryland featuring the two best quarterbacks in the conference that aren’t blue chip recruits on loaded teams. Who ya got?
Stick around for important UConn updates.