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247Sports projects Illinois Football to face Washington in Holiday Bowl

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Good morning! Welcome to the Orange Minute for Friday, September 2.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday! Do you want to read about a supremely optimistic outlook on Illinois’ upcoming season? Of course you do. 247Sports’ preseason projections were recently published, and against all odds, the Orange and Blue have somehow been picked to finish in the Top 20. Furthermore, they were picked to be the second-best team in the Big Ten West.

Nine of the conference’s 14 teams are in the preseason model’s Top 50, including five in the Top 20. Penn State (No. 12), Maryland (No. 18) and Illinois (No. 20) are projected to be much better than most think

247Sports also predicted the Fighting Illini to face Washington in the 2016 Holiday Bowl!

I have no idea what stats were used to determine those figures. What I do know is that Illinois would need every single thing to go their way this Fall to even have any shot at living up to that hype.


Illinois Fighting Illini Links

- Five-star PG Ayo Dosunmu will visit Illinois this weekend (TCR)

Dosunmu had an extremely impressive Summer with the Mac Irvin Fire (Nike EYBL). Whilst playing up a year at the 17U level, he averaged a team-high 18.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.

- Illinois Football ticket sales are trending up (Illini Inquirer)

Illinois expects about 45,000 for Saturday's opener, which would be a 22 percent increase over last year's opener. The last home opener to draw more than 45,000 was a 2011 win over Arkansas State, which came after the Illini's 2010 win over Robert Griffin III and Baylor in the Texas Bowl.

- University students anticipate new era of Illinois football (The Daily Illini)

Have you noticed a change in the energy regarding football on campus?

I feel like it’s a lot higher, the morale is a lot more up. And we have a lot more hope I guess now that we have a new coaching staff and we’re just trying to see how the first game will go and see if it sets the mood for the whole season.

- Can Illini Basketball overcome the loss of Kendrick Nunn? (BT Powerhouse)

Undoubtedly, some are going to argue that Jalen Coleman-Lands along with some of the team’s depth options like Aaron Jordan and DJ Williams can overcome Nunn’s loss, but that’s an optimistic goal to say the least.