clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2011 Bowl Projections: Illinois Aiming For Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Northwestern Makes Appearance

The Illinois Fighting Illini have greatly increased their standing in the 2011 Bowl Projections, gaining a unanimous support for the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl on December 27. SB Nation has compiled the projections of the leading bowl predictions gurus, Brad Edwards and Mark Schlabach of, and -- and here's what Illinois fans really wanted to see:

Bowl Edwards Scout Schlabach CFBP
Little Caesars, 12/27 Illinois-Northern
Toledo-Illinois Illinois-Ohio Ohio-Illinois

Yes, indeed, the Illini have pressed their way into the college bowl scene despite losing three straight. Of course, their most recent loss, a 10-7 heart-breaker to the now 12th ranked Penn St. Nittany Lions, only made them look better as they stifled the Nittany Lions through almost three and a half quarters of wintry football.

The Little Caesars Bowl, which takes place in Detroit's Ford Field this year, pits a contender from the Big Ten against a MAC opponent. The Fighting Illini can really help their chances this coming weekend, facing off against the No. 24 Michigan Wolverines at 2:30 PM CST.

Meanwhile, the Northwestern Wildcats have vaulted themselves onto the bowl scene for the first time this year, after their stunning win against then 10th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. Making their first appearance of the 2011 season, the Wildcats have earned Schlabach's blessing for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

They are still very much a long shot at a bowl game, but if the 4-5 Wildcats can win out against Rice, Minnesota, and (17) Michigan St. -- a tall order to say the least -- then a bowl game should be no problem.

For more college football rankings discussion and news from all around college football, visit SB Nation's NCAA Football hub.