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Illinois Bowl Possibilities

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Some of our bowling options.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Wisconsin vs Miami Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no perfect science to bowl projections, and we haven’t gotten many chances recently to project bowls at The Champaign Room.

Basically, what we know is that there are bowls with Big Ten tie-ins. Illinois, having already achieved six wins, is going to go to one of them.

So, let’s do our best, and kind of lay out where Illinois might be heading with two games left in the Illini’s season.

Again, we’re not experts. Just guessperts.

LOSE TO IOWA, BEAT NORTHWESTERN (7-5 FINISH)

Pinstripe Bowl

Yankee Stadium, The Bronx

2:20 p.m. CT, Dec. 27

The Pinstripe Bowl would prefer to have eight different teams in eight years.

Recently, it’s been Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin. Ohio State, Michigan and Minnesota won’t be going to this bowl, because those teams are too good for this mid-level bowl.

So, this is the most likely destination for Illinois as of now, assuming a Michigan State doesn’t somehow jump the Illini in the standings.

This game would be against a ACC opponent.

Redbox Bowl

Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara

3 p.m. CT, Dec. 30

It has to be five teams in six years. Recently, it’s been Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue. With Indiana taken out and Iowa in this case finishing with more than seven wins, this is a likely landing spot for Illinois as well.

It’s been a lot of six-win Big Ten teams recently. Hell, it was five-win Nebraska a few years back.

Good chance we’re spending New Year’s in Cali.

This would be against a Pac-12 opponent.

BEAT IOWA, LOSE TO NORTHWESTERN (7-5 FINISH)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth

10:30 a.m. CT, Jan. 4

The Big Ten hasn’t been in the Armed Forces Bowl since 2014. When it is Power Five teams, it seems to be six or seven win clubs.

This bowl doesn’t really fit anywhere, and nobody wants to be bowling on Jan. 4. It loses its pizzazz.

Plus, we know Illinois isn’t beating Iowa and laying an egg against Northwestern, right??

This would be against a Mountain West opponent.

BEAT IOWA AND NORTHWESTERN (8-4 FINISH)

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville

6 p.m., Jan. 2

Recently, it’s been Iowa and Penn State. Everyone else is fair game.

It’s been a lot of 8-4 teams recently, and assuming Illinois is 8-4 and Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan accept a better bowl, this is a likely destination for the Illini, who end the regular season on a six-game winning streak.

Lot of competition here for who it could be though. You’ll notice that trend in the 8-4 bowls.

This game would be against a SEC opponent.

Outback Bowl

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

12 p.m. CT, Jan. 1

Recently, it’s been Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Northwestern. The agreement is for five teams in six years. It’s been mostly 8-4 teams, so Illinois would have a shot, unless Indiana goes to this one.

Not too crowded of a field of competition, but Illinois would need to win out.

This game would be against a SEC opponent.

San Diego Country Credit Union Holiday Bowl

SDCCU Stadium, San Diego

7 p.m. CT, Dec. 27

It has to be five different teams in six years. Recently, it’s been Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin. It’s been a lot of 8-4 teams, so it could be Illinois, Indiana or Iowa likely. Perhaps, even Michigan.

Still, not likely, and a crowded field of options.

This would be against a Pac-12 opponent.

LOSE TO IOWA AND NORTHWESTERN (6-6 FINISH)

Quick Lane Bowl

Ford Field, Detroit

7 p.m. CT, Dec. 26

If the Big Ten can’t fulfill its bowl duties, this will go to a MAC team or someone. If the Big Ten fulfills its duties and Illinois is the worst one record-wise, it’ll be the Illini in Detroit.

This game would be against a ACC opponent.

ONES ILLINOIS WON’T BE GOING TO:

College Football Playoff (Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl)

Likely Big Ten representative: Ohio State OR Minnesota OR Penn State

Rose Bowl

Likely Big Ten representative: Ohio State OR Minnesota OR Penn State

Citrus Bowl

Agreement for the Citrus Bowl is for five different teams in six years. Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan have played it in recently.

Likely Big Ten representative: Indiana OR Wisconsin OR Iowa