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Illinois Fighting Illini 2011 Profile
Although -7 games in 2010, Coach Zook and his staff have been a net negative game effect for 3 straight years. They are bad both at home and on the road giving up a net of 5 upset losses over the last 5 years at both.
2011 is really the best opportunity the coaching has had in the last 4 years with the schedule (see below). This, in my opinion of trends and the model, is a make or break year for Zook and the staff.
Illini Recruiting Rank Links:
Illinois Schedule and SOS/EOS Breakdown
With the lowest ranked Total SOS in the Big Ten, this is the year that Coach Zook and his staff must have a positive season. Modeled at 8 wins with a standard home/away adjustment taking it to a possible 9 wins, expectations for 2011 should be very high in Champaign.
You all know that the CFBMatrix is not buying the Arizona State hype in 2011. Hosting the Sun Devils and winning would be no shock. Losing any of the other 3 absolute gimmies would be a total disaster for the Illini.
The Big Ten conference schedule is a mid-tier SOS at #5. Nothing easy or hard about it. The road should product 3 Big Ten wins and like the OOC schedule anything less than 3-1 on the road in the Big Ten is under performing. The whole season, as long as there are no upset Ls on the road is going to come down to the home games.
Illinois should not go under 2-2 in the Big Ten at home. They have a great opportunity to beat Northwestern (they are the best though at road upset wins) and must take advantage of new coaches in Ohio State and Michigan. The Wisconsin game is less of a toss up than many will believe (and may be a great ATS option as well).
Simple math…. 3-1 OOC (could be 4-0), 3-1 on the road in the Big Ten should be expected and hold serve at home with a 2-2 Big Ten record. 8 wins. Any upset losses drops it to 7 or an immediate release <6. Each upset win could push this team into the +9 wins.