Anything is possible in Big Ten this year — even for Illinois schools
Could a team from Illinois play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2008? The odds are better than they're likely to be again for years.
It's not that Northwestern and Illinois are world-beaters. The Wildcats are 2-0, but in their wild 42-41 opening win at Syracuse, their secondary didn't look capable of stopping anyone. The Fighting Illini lost 45-14 Saturday night at unranked Arizona State. Another long, potentially bowl-less season seems much more likely than Pasadena.
Someone has to represent the Big Ten Conference in the Rose Bowl, though, and the line of obvious candidates has shortened considerably in two short weeks. Only five conference teams are unbeaten thus far. One (Ohio State) might well be the best team in the Big Ten, but it's ineligible for postseason play. Two others (Indiana and Minnesota) are doormats who haven't exactly loaded up their early non-conference schedules.
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