Illinois Football: 8 Opponents We'd Love to See on Future Schedules
In 2010, the Illinois Fighting Illini went 7-6.
Now in 2011, the Fighting Illini will look to improve on that mark.
The bulk of the teams played will be the usual suspects from the Big Ten, while the others will be out of conference teams.
The selection of the right out of conference teams can make or break a team in the eyes of the BCS Committee.
Here are eight teams we would love to see on the Fighting Illini's schedule in the future:
In 2008, Illinois lose to USC in the Rose Bowl 49-17.
A rivalry was not created necessarily, but I am sure the Fighting Illini would loved another shot to prove themselves against the perennial powerhouse.
Scheduling the Trojans would look good, and a win would look better in the eyes of the BCS Committee.
The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Missouri Tigers first met in 1896.
This matchup was dubbed the Arch Rivalry.
Lately, the Tigers have been absent from the Fighting Illini's schedule.
Reviving this rivalry could put a charge in two programs fighting for national respect.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Given the proximity of Indiana and Illinois, this matchup makes sense geographically.
This matchup would also pit two programs struggling to stay relevant on the national scene.
Notre Dame's independence allows them the freedom to schedule the Big Ten opponent, and Illinois could use the boost of a nationally popular name on their schedule.
In another potential bowl rematch, the Fighting Illini could schedule a rematch against their 2002 Sugar Bowl opponent.
A matchup with the LSU Tigers would surely add prestige to the Fighting Illini's strength of schedule. The Fighting Illini would add a decent midling opponent to the LSU schedule.
A win over LSU on any given year would give the Fighting Illini a major boost.
Before Ron Zook became head coach of the Fighting Illini in 2005, he served as the head coach of Florida for three seasons.
Giving Zook a chance at his old team could provide an interesting spark.
Depending on whether Zook is still on the Fighting Illini's sidelines, this game could provide a matchup lovers of the spread offense will love.
Miami (OH) Redhawks
From 1973-1975, Ron Zook was a defensive back for the Miami (OH) Redhawks.
Now Zook could have a shot at his alma mater in a game beneficial to both schools.
Coming off a 10-4 2010 campaign, the Redhawks are on the upswing. A win over the Redhawks would give the Fighting Illini a solid win over a surging mid-major program. A win over the Fighting Illini would give the Redhawks a win over a power conference team.
Now for another geographical game.
Tennessee is right below Illinois. Both schools happen to need a boost on the field.
These two teams are fairly even in terms of talent on paper, and both have been slumping the last few seasons.
A game like this could provide a competitive game outside of their already competitive conference schedules.
A battle against the Kentucky Wildcats would give the Fighting Illini a chance to prove themselves against an SEC opponent.
This matchup would also be very winnable for the Fighting Illini despite playing up in terms of conference prestige.
In terms of proximity it makes sense, and both of these middle-of-the-road teams could benefit from seeing each other on the field.
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