Illinois is looking to get back to some of its winning ways in 2021. It’s been a big struggle for them the last several years as they haven’t finished above .500 since 2011.

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), it looks like it’s going to be another long season for the Fighting Illini.

Last year, Illinois finished with a 2-6 record, which was one of the worst marks in the Big Ten and it ended up costing Lovie Smith his job. In fact, Illinois has just a 14-31 combined record for the last four years.

ESPN’s FPI predictions have Illinois as the favorite in just 2 of their 12 matchups this season. It’s not what Illinois fans want to hear, but as the saying goes, any team can beat anyone on any given day.

Here’s a look at the projections:

  • Aug 28: vs Nebraska — 35.2% (L)
  • Sept. 4: vs. UTSA — 58% (W)
  • Sept. 11: at Virginia — 16.4% (L)
  • Sept. 17: vs Maryland — 43.6% (L)
  • Sept. 25: at Purdue — 22.1% (L)
  • Oct. 2: vs. Charlotte — 73.6% (W)
  • Oct. 9: vs. Wisconsin — 17.8% (L)
  • Oct. 23: at Penn State — 8.1% (L)
  • Oct. 30: vs. Rutgers — 49.6% (L)
  • Nov. 6: at Minnesota — 22.3% (L)
  • Nov. 20: at Iowa — 14.4% (L)
  • Nov. 27: vs. Northwestern — 25.7% (L)

From an overall record standpoint, Illinois is projected to be even worse than last season. They’re expected to go 2-10 in Brett Bielema’s first season on the sidelines.

Illinois will open its 2021 campaign with a home game against Nebraska. Kickoff will be at 1:00 p.m. EST.