ESPN's FPI predicts the outcome of Minnesota at No. 24 Illinois
Well, well, well. Look at Illinois, the No. 24 team in the nation. Snapping a drought that has held since 2011 was tough, but the Fighting Illini are finally ranked and hand over the rank-less-drought to Rutgers on the way out.
The Fighting Illini aren’t ranked because of a lack of talented team in the country. Bret Bielema’s squad deserves it. The Fighting Illini have the running back with the most rushing yards in the nation, Chase Brown, and have a top 10 defense in numerous categories. The Fighting Illini are determined to prove they belong this weekend against Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers are unranked by way of misfortune. Purdue downed PJ Fleck’s squad, thanks in part to strong play from Aidan O’Connell and also because star rusher Mohamed Ibrahim was ruled out pregame with an injury. The Golden Gophers simply aren’t the same team without one of the nation’s best running backs, and it showed in the scoreboard.
So, 2 teams trying to prove they belong and a good chance to do so awaits us in this B1G West showdown.
ESPN’s FPI (football power index) projects the winner as it does every matchup in Division I college football. The index gives Minnesota a 62.8% chance of upsetting the Illini Saturday.
And despite the game being in Champaign, that’s not out of the ordinary. Illinois QB Tommy DeVito’s status is still up in the air and the Golden Gophers will have Ibrahim back. What will be Illinois’ toughest test of the season is that much tougher if DeVito does not play.
The game is set for kickoff at Noon on Big Ten Network.