B1G West Big Ten Illinois

Trader’s B1G West Preview: #7

The B1G is shaping up to be one of the premier conferences in college football this season. With a plethora of teams looking to contend for a B1G Title and even more hoping to lock in a bowl bid, we’re going to be running through what I believe will be the final B1G standings and how they’ll end up that way.

Illinois: 4-8 (1-8)

This was the obvious choice for last place when I first made my rankings, but as I looked into the schedules for each of these teams I realized that the race for sixth is more tightly contested than you may think. Nonetheless, the Illini still come in last by my projections.

This Illinois team will be much improved in my opinion, despite another 4-8 finish. Reggie Corbin led the team with 1,085 yards on just 128 attempts, as the team as a whole averaged 245 yards per game on the ground. Unfortunately, the passing game stalled out at just 163 yards and less than one touchdown per game. Despite an impressive 410 yards per game on offense, the defense gave up over 500, making it very difficult to win games.

Looking at the schedule, I see three fast and easy wins over Akron, UConn and Eastern Michigan. Following those wins, there will be a tough stretch in which the Illini will likely be blown out for five straight weeks before getting their chance to assert the dominance of the seven-seeds. Rutgers should be a win for the Illini, and that will be their last win of the 2019 season as they must take on Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern.

Despite improvements in the defense, and a decent draw of Eastern division teams, Illinois will be faced with a seventh place finish yet again, but if they are able to eek out one more conference win than expected, they could easily move into the sixth spot.

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