Pack Your Bags For The Heart Of Dallas Bowl

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at early bowl projections for the 2013 season there are at least two people who see the Illini going bowling this year.

Mondays aren't nearly as fun after a loss as they are after a surprising victory, but just because the Illini lost on Saturday does not mean this season is about to spiral out of control.  As I wrote about on Sunday there are reasons to be happy with what we saw in the loss, but also reasons we should be concerned.

Plus, it's not like we've been eliminated from bowl contention. In fact, looking at the bowl projections from three different media entities today, two of them still have the Illini playing in a bowl game.

Over at the Big Ten Network Tom Deinhart has the Illini playing Tulsa in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day.

Over at ESPN it's the same thing, as Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg also have the Illini in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, though they don't name an opponent.

And then there's ol' Jerry Palm of CBSSports. That ILLINI HATER doesn't have the Illini going to a bowl game at all.

Now, obviously, the Illini are a long way away from going to a bowl game just yet. More specifically, they're four more wins away and at least three conference wins away from getting there. So absolutely nothing is assured, and it's not going to be easy for the Illini to do.

Still, the fact it's even a conversation at this point is pretty damn awesome.

I mean, we're already at the point that I'm hoping the Illini get a better bowl game than the one they're projected to go to right now because I don't want to miss other New Year's Day bowl games for the damn Heart of Dallas Bowl.

How the hell the Heart of Dallas Bowl gets to be played on New Year's Day I'll never know. Do the people behind the bowl not want people watching it? Is that the idea?

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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