Do you remember when Illinois streaked to a 6-0 start in 2011 only to drop six straight to finish 6-6?
The Illini’s early-season run caught college football by surprise, taking a team which had received only four votes in the preseason AP poll to a No. 16 ranking before the bottom fell out.
Though at the time it looked like Ron Zook had finally righted the ship, the truth was Illinois’ early schedule made it look better than it was.
The Illini did beat No. 22 Arizona State 17-14 in Week 3, but other than that, the wins came against Arkansas State, FCS South Dakota State, Western Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana.
The frailty of their 6-0 start was exposed in subsequent losses to Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
So, which programs are ripe to be the 2014 version of Illinois in 2011?
These are programs with back-loaded schedules, meaning they could climb the charts early only to fall flat by late October.