2009 record: 1-4 (0-3 in the Big Ten)
2008 record: 5-7 (3-5 in the Big Ten)
2008 Sagarin: 68
2009 Sagarin: 112 (IU is #86)
Coach: Ron Zook
Series: Illinois leads 43-20-2
TV: 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
Blog: Hail to the Orange
I'm not sure that any school has had quite as strange a run as Illinois in the last 15 years. As I noted above, the Illini have played in nearly as few bowl games as IU, but they have been big ones: of those three bowl bids, two have been BCS bowls: the 2001-02 Fiesta Bowl (Illinois won the Big Ten, but the Rose Bowl hosted the BCS title game) and the 2007-08 Rose Bowl.
The Illini have a significant advantage over IU in the all-time series. Fortunately, this year's game is in Bloomington, because IU has won in Champaign only once in the last 30 years. That was this game, in 2006, when IU rallied from an early 25-7 deficit and won at the final gun on an Austin Starr field goal.
After that Hep pep talk, here's how it ended:
I'll be back more with the ungly story of the 2009 Illini.