ESPN’s FPI is predicting every game on the football schedule this fall. And for Illinois, Bret Bielema and his squad look to improve on a 5-7 record from last season.

In his first year leading the program, Bielema proved his team could surprise people. That included staying competitive in nearly every game and pulling off upset wins on the road against Penn State and Minnesota.

One of the big reasons for the improvement in 2021 was a defense led by Ryan Walters. Walters showed his unit was up to the task in the B1G West.

This offseason, Bielema did pivot offensively and landed with a new OC. Unfortunately, those changes may not pay off in a big way.

According to the Football Power Index, Illinois will be favored in just a few games. In fact, the Illini are given less than a 20% chance to win in 4 contests.

Here are the game-by-game projections for the Illini:

  • Aug. 27 vs. Wyoming — 75.1% chance of winning
  • Sept. 2 at Indiana — 33.7% chance of winning
  • Sept. 10 vs. Virginia — 47.4% chance of winning
  • Sept. 22 vs. Chattanooga — 96.4% chance of winning
  • Oct. 1 at Wisconsin — 13.6% chance of winning
  • Oct. 8 vs. Iowa — 32.2% chance of winning
  • Oct. 15 vs. Minnesota — 30.2% chance of winning
  • Oct. 29 at Nebraska — 16.5% chance of winning
  • Nov. 5 vs. Michigan State — 19.5% chance of winning
  • Nov. 12 vs. Purdue — 33.9% chance of winning
  • Nov. 19 at Michigan — 6.9% chance of winning
  • Nov. 26 at Northwestern — 44.4% chance of winning