ESPN’s FPI has an early prediction for Bret Bielema’s chances to get his team to a bowl game this season.

Usually, the least amount of wins a team needs to make a bowl game is six games, even though Rutgers made one after only winning 5 games due to the fact that Texas A&M backed out at the last minute.

Illinois has a 63.7% chance to reach a bowl game this season, according to ESPN’s FPI. The Fighting Illini have wins so far over Wyoming and Virginia, with their one loss coming from Indiana in Week 1.


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The Fighting Illini have to play the rest of their B1G schedule before that can happen. This includes Wisconsin (Oct. 1), Minnesota (Oct. 15), Michigan State (Nov. 5), and Michigan (Nov. 19) to name a few.

If Illinois can figure out a way to reach at least six wins, it would be Bielema’s first bowl game appearance during his tenure in Champaign. Bielema went 5-7 in his first season, and missed out on the postseason.

The last time that Illinois went to a bowl was in 2019 in the Redbox Bowl against Cal under former head coach Lovie Smith. That game ended poorly for the Fighting Illini, as they lost to the Golden Bears 35-20.

Illinois plays U.T. Chattanooga next on Sept. 22.