Illinois isn’t afraid to talk about the high expectations during the 2020 season. Despite all the unique circumstances surrounding the season, the Fighting Illini still believe this could be a big year.

Speaking with the media on Monday, Illini defensive end Owen Carney didn’t back off the high expectations for the program this fall. After reaching a bowl game last season and returning so much talent from last season’s team, the lineman says it’s time for Illinois to start pushing people aroumd.

“It’s our turn to be the bully now,” Carney said, according to Jeremy Werner of Illini Inquirer.

Illinois did surprise some teams during the 2019 season. The Illini shocked No. 6 Wisconsin in an upset win in Champaign and overcame a 25-point deficit to Michigan State on the road to help reach the 6-win mark last season, marking the first time the team was bowl eligible under Lovie Smith. But the Illini want more.

Whether or not the Illini have enough in the stable to compete for a B1G West title is yet to be seen. But, with the parity and depth improving across the division, it could be anyone’s crown to claim.

The Illini have a tough test in Week 1, traveling to Madison to take on Wisconsin inĀ  a Friday night showdown.