Illini Football 2023

#1      

Dan

Admin
2023 Illinois Football Schedule-

Sat, Sept 2___Toledo
Sat, Sept 9___at Kansas
Sat, Sept 16__Penn State
Sat, Sept 23__Florida Atlantic
Sat, Sept 30__at Purdue
Sat, Oct 7____Nebraska
Sat, Oct 14___at Maryland
Sat, Oct 21___Wisconsin (Homecoming)
Sat, Oct 28___--bye--
Sat, Nov 4____at Minnesota
Sat, Nov 11___Indiana
Sat, Nov 18___at Iowa
Sat, Nov 25___Northwestern
 
#5      
I said this is a previous thread, I look at this schedule and I don't see any teams to be afraid of. I don't look at a game and think, "Welp, that's a 56 - 3 beat down."

UI won't win them all, but this team should go to another bowl. Barring a catastrophic injury(s), 5 wins is a disappointment. 8 wins is again on the table.
 
#6      
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You have some high hopes @BZuppke . Not just in the playoffs, but we won the quarterfinal too (or got a bye). Hope you're right!

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#7      
Excited and optimistic for that schedule. While the ending of the Mississippi State game sucked, we had some young guys step up, and I really do trust this staff to get the most out of the players we have. I mean, the improvement from 2020 to 2021 to 2022 is nothing short of astounding, and a few breaks here or there have us playing Utah in the Rose Bowl. The losses are what they are, I'm just making the point that we REALLY put ourselves in positions to win games - and that's a far cry from the hopeless blowouts of the Lovie Era.

I heard during the game that this would have only been our fourth 9-win season in the last 70 years ... while that is astounding and it sucks we fell just short, the last two seasons have actually been pretty amazing from another standpoint.

In the last three decades, this is only the second time we have improved our record for three straight seasons, with the third one being a winning record. That is literally crazy, lol. In other words, while we have improved our record over a 3-year span, it has often been over periods like this:

2012: 2-10
2013: 4-8
2014: 6-7
--- Then we had losing seasons in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 before Lovie was fired... ---

I know the number of games we play has changed over the years, but you would have to go back to before Robert Zuppke was the head coach to find another instance of us improving our regular season record for three years in a row to culminate in at least 8 regular season wins are below:

2020: 2-6
2021: 5-7
2022: 8-4

Bravo to this staff!
 
#14      

ILFaninFL

Nature Coast in Florida
I see us going 9 - 3 with losses to Penn State, at Iowa, and one that comes out of left field.

Lock Wins:
Toledo
Florida Atlantic
Purdue (don't be surprised if they go 2 - 10 - this is not a knock on Walters. Just what happens to new coaches in the Big. Year 4 worries me.)
Nebraska - because until we lose to them, I will keep picking the beloved.
Indiana - payback time
Northwestern - see Nebraska

We split the rest of the schedule.
 
#15      

BZuppke

Plainfield
I agree this is a payback year to Purdue and IU. They both should be down. NW will be down, Minnesota won’t be better and it will be interesting to see the style transition at Wisky.

I am suspect as to Rhule being successful at Nebraska:

‘During his tenure at Baylor, Rhule's teams never defeated a ranked team.’

I don’t know what to think about his past success as a coach. He won a lot of games but never beat a team that finished the season ranked and with a great record. The year he beat Penn State they finished 7-6/4-4. So the jury is out on this hire imo
 
#16      

Illini2010-11

Sugar Grove
I am not ready to put any games in the "lock" win category yet. There are simply too many unknowns at this point, and we are not in the position as a program to have declared lock wins outside of some early non-conference games (at least yet).

At a first glance, this is a very favorable schedule, but the month of September is deceptively scary and can lead to tough season.

Week 1: Toledo - Should be a victory, but they are far from a pushover program, and they just won a bowl game. Team better be prepared.
Week 2: @Kansas - Difficult non-conference road game early in year (this is a very important game with PSU up next).
Week 3: PSU - Tough home game, but rather play them early in the year at home.
Week 4: FAU - new coaching staff, but this could be a trap game between key B1G games. Probably the easiest game of the month.
Week 5: @Pur - Payback opportunity, but this will be a road game against a team looking to help deliver their coach a win over his prior program.

This first month will be very important for the program's building blocks. I can very easily see a record of between 1-4 to 4-1 over this first month stretch.

If the team can go at least 3-2 in September, then anywhere from 7-9 wins is possible. 2-3 in September, and we are fighting to get to 6 wins. 1-4 in September, this looks like a 5 win team. I believe we can at least go 3-2 in September, but it cannot be understated how important the September games will be.
 
#19      
I see us going 9 - 3 with losses to Penn State, at Iowa, and one that comes out of left field.

Lock Wins:
Toledo
Florida Atlantic
Purdue (don't be surprised if they go 2 - 10 - this is not a knock on Walters. Just what happens to new coaches in the Big. Year 4 worries me.)
Nebraska - because until we lose to them, I will keep picking the beloved.
Indiana - payback time
Northwestern - see Nebraska

We split the rest of the schedule.
IMO, we can knock Walters all we want. By all accounts, he's a good coach and a good guy. I respect that. But in the larger scheme of things, his success undermines ours.
 
#20      
2023 Illinois Football Schedule-

Sat, Sept 2___Toledo
Sat, Sept 9___at Kansas
Sat, Sept 16__Penn State
Sat, Sept 23__Florida Atlantic
Sat, Sept 30__at Purdue
Sat, Oct 7____Nebraska
Sat, Oct 14___at Maryland
Sat, Oct 21___Wisconsin (Homecoming)
Sat, Oct 28___--bye--
Sat, Nov 4____at Minnesota
Sat, Nov 11___Indiana
Sat, Nov 18___at Iowa
Sat, Nov 25___Northwestern
4 wins - Toledo, FA, indiana, northwestern

The rest are toss up games. If we had this schedule with this years players next year. Then 8 wins

But about to lose a lot of our D. So 4 wins. Anything after that is 4Q execution in close games. Not something we thrived at this year.
 
#21      
4 wins - Toledo, FA, indiana, northwestern

The rest are toss up games. If we had this schedule with this years players next year. Then 8 wins

But about to lose a lot of our D. So 4 wins. Anything after that is 4Q execution in close games. Not something we thrived at this year.
Sounds good then. Four wins and eight 50;50 toss-ups gives us eight wins as the likely outcome. Our depleted D certainly held their own Monday.
 
#23      
Excited and optimistic for that schedule. While the ending of the Mississippi State game sucked, we had some young guys step up, and I really do trust this staff to get the most out of the players we have. I mean, the improvement from 2020 to 2021 to 2022 is nothing short of astounding, and a few breaks here or there have us playing Utah in the Rose Bowl. The losses are what they are, I'm just making the point that we REALLY put ourselves in positions to win games - and that's a far cry from the hopeless blowouts of the Lovie Era.

I heard during the game that this would have only been our fourth 9-win season in the last 70 years ... while that is astounding and it sucks we fell just short, the last two seasons have actually been pretty amazing from another standpoint.

In the last three decades, this is only the second time we have improved our record for three straight seasons, with the third one being a winning record. That is literally crazy, lol. In other words, while we have improved our record over a 3-year span, it has often been over periods like this:

2012: 2-10
2013: 4-8
2014: 6-7
--- Then we had losing seasons in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 before Lovie was fired... ---

I know the number of games we play has changed over the years, but you would have to go back to before Robert Zuppke was the head coach to find another instance of us improving our regular season record for three years in a row to culminate in at least 8 regular season wins are below:

2020: 2-6
2021: 5-7
2022: 8-4

Bravo to this staff!
To clarify the comment about "9 win seasons"....I remember them saying that on the telecast, as well, and the comment was that the Illini have only had four 9-win seasons in the last 70 years...basically since the conference was renamed "The Big Ten" in 1953. If we would have beaten MSU it would have been our fifth.

1983: 10-2 (Rose Bowl loss vs. UCLA)
1989: 10-2 (Florida Citrus Bowl win vs. UVA)
2001: 10-2 (Sugar Bowl loss vs. LSU)
2007: 9-4 (Rose Bowl loss vs. USC)

One more 9-win season is neither here nor there......I don't mean to split hairs with that (although from a percentage standpoint its pretty big....4 versus 3.) The point I wanted to make is that with each of those great 9+ win seasons we've had since 1983, a year or two after every one of them we drifted back to mediocrity or worse.

1985: 6-5-1
1991: 6-6
2002: 5-7 2003: 1-11
2008: 5-7 2009: 3-9

Josh Whitman and Bret Bielema have brought this program back from the dead and made it relevant again. Now, we need to sustain that and post consistent 8, 9, 10 win seasons....or better. As I've told many people, being a long-suffering Illini football fan, if Bret can post ten consistent years of 8-10 wins per season, he'd be a legend and we'd build a statue of him. I believe we have the people in place to make that happen and they will not allow this program to drift back into mediocrity....or worse. That's my hope, at least.