If ESPN’s Football Power Index holds true, Illinois is in for another long season in 2019.

Although RB Reggie Corbin was a bright spot for Illinois in 2018, poor QB play and one of the worst defenses in the country helped produce a lackluster season. Lovie Smith’s team finished the year at 4-8 with just two B1G wins on the year.

Unfortunately, ESPN’s FPI preseason predictions for Illinois are just as bad this season. According to the system, Illinois is favored in just four games heading into 2019. Those games are against Akron, UCONN, Eastern Michigan, and Rutgers.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Illinois is hardly given any chance in the eight games that they are predicted to be the underdogs. The Illini are given less than a 15% chance of beating Minnesota and Iowa and less than a 10% chance of beating Michigan and Michigan State.

It is true that Smith’s team upset Minnesota in 2018 and lost a hard-fought battle to Northwestern. Still, fans who love an underdog story will want to keep an eye on Illinois as getting to five wins already looks like a nearly impossible task.

Below is Illinois’ full schedule and projected win probability, per the FPI:

  • August 31: Akron: 86.7% win probability
  • September 7: at UCONN: 81.6% win probability
  • September 14: Eastern Michigan: 78.0% win probability
  • September 21: at Nebraska: 24.7% win probability
  • October 5: at Minnesota: 14.7% win probability
  • October 12: Michigan: 6.2% win probability
  • October 19: Wisconsin: 27.8% win probability
  • October 26: at Purdue: 30.4% win probability
  • November 2: Rutgers: 67.3% win probability
  • November 9: at Michigan State: 6.5% win probability
  • November 23: at Iowa: 12.7% win probability
  • November 30: Northwestern: 36.9% win probability