What began as a surprisingly promising season for the Illinois Fighting Illini has gone downhill. After starting the season with six straight wins, Ron Zook's team is currently mired in a four game losing streak, one that continued last week with a 31-14 defeat at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines. With the lowly Minnesota Badgers as their final game of the season, a victory over Wisconsin on Saturday could put Illinois on the path for an eight win season that would almost assuredly secure Zook's position as head coach for 2012. It won't be an easy task though, to say the least, and Illini fans have to be wary of going up against the Badgers' vaunted rushing game a week after giving up over 200 yards to the Wolverines.
For Wisconsin, Saturday's game is vitally important. The Badgers currently sit one game back of the Big Ten's Leaders Division behind first place Penn State, and with the Nittany Lions looming in the final week of the season, the Badgers control their own destiny, provided that they can take care of business against the underdog Illini, who have Wisconsin's fans feeling confident.
Game date, time: 11 am CT, Saturday, Nov. 9
Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Ill.
TV channel: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Mike Bellotti)
Spread: Wisconsin favored by 14.5
Series history: Illinois leads, 36-34-7
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit SB Nation's Wisconsin Badgers blog Bucky's 5th Quarter and SB Nation's Illinois Fighting Illini blog Hail to the Orange. Here’s the complete Week 12 college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.