2010-11 Big Ten Football Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

S SCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2010

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 27:  Ron Zook the Head Coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini is pictured during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The college football season is just 6 weeks away and its time to began talking about who is the team to beat in the Big Ten. Here is a preview of all 11 teams and how I think they will do this season considering their current players, incoming freshman and strength of schedule.

Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illini had a very disappointing season last year going 3-9. It all began in their first game of the season against the Missouri Tigers. They looked like they weren't ready to play from the beginning and got blown out 37-9. To think things couldn't get any worse their star WR Arrelious Benn left the game early with an ankle injury that he played with through the entire season.

Now it is a new year and a new season for the Illini as the look to prove everyone wrong this year. With losing top players Juice Williams and Arrelious they are very young and look to forget last season and begin this one with a good start. 

The focus of the Illini offense will be their running game. They have 3 running backs that they plan to use while having freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase under center. The last few seasons they Illini have been most productive when running the ball. They have lead the Big Ten in rushing yards for most of the years lately.

Illinois's 2010 Schedule:

  • vs. Missouri
  • vs. Southern Illinois
  • vs. Northern Illinois
  • vs. Ohio State
  • at. Penn State
  • at. Michigan State
  • vs. Indiana
  • vs. Purdue
  • at. Michigan
  • vs. Minnesota
  • vs. Northwestern
  • at. Fresno State

Looking at the schedule, Illinois has it pretty easy this year with only having to play probably only 2 ranked teams. With having only 4 road games, the home field advantage could play a role for them to win tough games.

While the recruiting didn't go the way they planned with signing 6 three-star recruits and having class ranked 56th(scout.com).

I see the Illini finishing the season at 6-6 and getting to a bowl game.