The Illinois Fighting Illini were a pleasant surprise in 2010, finishing over .500 and earning a bid to the Texas Bowl where they whooped up on Baylor. Coach Ron Zook has been criticized a great deal, but 2010 may have earned Zook a few more years at the helm of the Fighting Illini.
In came new offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm and defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. Petrino implemented a pistol attack that caught the Big Ten by surprise and was extremely effective.
Illinois' approach on both sides of the ball was much better in 2010, and they will build upon the confidence the team gained and be even better in 2011.
Here are 11 reasons why the Illinois Fighting Illini make a second straight bowl game.