WCIA — The regular season is officially over for the Illini, after dominating Northwestern Saturday 41-3 to finish with their most wins since 2007 at 8-4.
With that should come a nice destination in the postseason, as bowl projections coming out Sunday are looking favorably at Illinois.
CBS, ESPN, and Yahoo all project Illinois to show up in the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa Bay. 247Sports is the outlier, saying the Illini could end up in the Music City Bowl. Bowl destinations release on Dec. 4.
The 38-point win over the Wildcats will certainly help make their case for a good game. The Land of Lincoln Trophy will stay in Champaign for another year after the win. Even with its best season in over a decade, there’s still questions about what could have been.
“Obviously there’s four games there that in my opinion we could have been on the other end of,” Bret Bielema said following the win. “If we could’ve had any one of those four, two of those four it’s a no-brainer. I’m excited as hell because I believe we’re only scratching the surface of what we can be. I knew we needed to get bowl eligible this year to keep moving in the right direction. I really just wanted to play Michigan or Ohio State, I just wanted one more chance to play against a Big Ten opponent. That’s probably what I wanted to do more than anything.”
After a great performance, Syndey Brown was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday. The senior had two interceptions and a fumble recovery, and returned two of those for a touchdown. He is the first FBS player this season with a pick six and fumble recovery touchdown in the same game.
SNYDER ENTERS PORTAL:
It is that time of the year now, the transfer portal opens in a little over a week and the Illini have their first taker. Redshirt freshman DD Snyder III tweeted that he is entering his name. The defensive back has yet to record a state in two seasons at Illinois. He was rated a three-star prospect coming out of Tampa.