Iowa at Illinois
…after we deal with this game, of course.
It’s tempting to think that, since Illinois beat Minnesota and the Hawkeyes just got killed by the Gophers, there is a real chance here for the Illini to get Tim Beckman a potentially job-saving win. With three games to play the Illini are still in play for a bowl game.
They’re 4-5, so they actually are. Stop laughing.
In fact, Illinois’ remaining schedule couldn’t be much more favorable. Iowa and Penn State both come to Champaign before the season-ender in Evanston against a totally beatable Northwestern squad. Not only do the Illini still have a shot at a bowl game, they don’t even have to win out. Winning two out of three will do it.
But is this one they can win? As I said, performance against a common opponent would suggest so but … look, I’ve been writing Pickin’ On the Big Ten as long as Kirk Ferentz has been at Iowa. It seems like every year there’s one road game where the Hawkeyes never really get off the bus, and last week was it. Don’t get me wrong. The better team won. I have learned, though, that the annual snakebit road trip is a Hawkeye tradition, and Iowa is seldom flat two weeks in a row. So, against much of my better judgement, I’m going to take the Hawks.
The pick: Iowa 31, Illinois 23