WCIA — In the first poll released by the College Football Playoff Committee Illinois comes in ranked 16th, it’s first ever ranking in the CFP.

The last time Illinois was up in the rankings, the NCAA still used the computerized BCS system to seed teams ahead of the postseason. It is another milestone checked off by the 2022 Illini.

“For me, it’s awesome, but I think what it’s great for is the University of Illinois,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “I think it’s great for our fanbase, for Josh [Whitman], for people who have been here through all that stuff, for our players.”

“It’s definitely exciting, this process has been awesome,” receiver Casey Washington said. “Just trying to focus on getting better and taking it one day at a time.”

“I mean it feels good. It feels amazing just knowing we’ve come a long way,” receiver Isaiah Williams said. “Now our loyalty to the program and just sticking it out, grinding with my brothers, it’s starting to pay off.”

Illinois takes on Michigan State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.