Remember when Illinois was 2-4 after the first six games of the season? Remember when Lovie Smith’s job seemed all but over?

Yeah, we do too. But then the Fighting Illini started playing “Lovie Ball,” upsetting Wisconsin and coming back from 25-point deficits to win games. We should’ve seen that all coming.


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What we can see coming in the near future, though, is Illinois winning not only the Big Ten West division, but the Big Ten outright. And when we say near future, we mean this season. You know, 2019.

Yes, it’s possible.

Now, we’re not predicting this to actually happen. But, we’ve seen crazier things occur (we think).

Here’s what Illinois needs to do to win the Big Ten West:

  • Win out — defeating both Iowa on the road and Northwestern at home
  • Wisconsin losing to Purdue at home and beating Minnesota on the road
  • Minnesota losing to both Northwestern on the road and Wisconsin

At that point, a three-way tie would occur between Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota at 6-3 in conference play. The first tiebreaker goes to division record. Illinois is 4-2 in division at that point, as is Wisconsin. Minnesota would be 3-3.

Then, the next tiebreaker goes to head-to-head. Who won between Illinois and Wisconsin? You already know.

There you have it. Illinois is your Big Ten West champion. Simple, right? But, why stop there?

Beat an undefeated Ohio State team in the Big Ten Championship too.

I mean, why not?