The Illini players hope that they can earn a high national ranking at the end of the season after starting out the campaign among the Top 25.
Aug. 16, 2008
After a No. 19 ranking in the coaches poll earlier this month, the University of Illinois football team solidifies its place in the preseason ratings with a No. 20 pick in the Associated Press poll. Four of Illinois 2008 opponents are also found in the top 25. It is the first time the Illini began a season in the top 25 since 2002.
The Illini ended the 2007 season with a ranking of No. 18 by the coaches and No. 20 by the Associated Press. The team's highest rating of 2007 was 13th heading into its Rose Bowl game against Southern California. Illinois faced five ranked teams last season, posting a 3-2 record vs. the top-25. Head Coach Ron Zook's squad was the only in the country to defeat two top-5 opponents with upsets of No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 1 Ohio State.
This year's schedule features some of the best competition in college football as the Illini start off the season with No. 6 Missouri in St. Louis, in the State Farm Arch Rivalry Aug. 30. They also face a ranked opponent in No. 22 Penn State Sept. 27. On Oct. 25, Illinois travels to No. 13 Wisconsin and then hosts No. 2 Ohio State Nov. 15.
Associated Press Preseason Poll
Receiving Votes: South Carolina 84, Fresno State 83, California 59, Utah 53, Cincinnati 44, Florida State 41, Michigan 36, Boston College 32, Rutgers 32, Michigan State 21, Boise State 17, Arkansas 14, North Carolina 14, Connecticut 10, Tulsa 7, UCLA 6, Oregon State 5, Mississippi State 4, Virginia 4, Arizona 3, Nebraska 2, Notre Dame 2, Hawaii 1, Washington 1.