Illinois, Northwestern and Northern Illinois are all bowl eligible now for the second consecutive season.
Here’s a look at some bowl possibilities for all three teams:
Illinois (6-5, 2-5 Big Ten): So much is up in the air for the Illini still. They’ve lost five straight, their coach is on the hot seat and there’s no guarantee they’ll defeat Minnesota on Saturday. With all that, it’s hard to determine where Illinois may end up for a bowl game. Some of the predictions thrown out there have been the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 17, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, N.M. on Dec. 17 and the Little Caesar Bowl in Detroit on Nov. 27.
Northwestern (6-5, 3-4 Big Ten): Northwestern is experiencing better times than its in-state Big Ten counterpart right now, but there’s also uncertainty where the Wildcats will land for a bowl. The Big Ten could have as many as 10 bowl eligible teams. Of course, Northwestern could improve its stock with a win over Michigan State on Saturday. Some of the predictions for Northwestern have been the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24, the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 27, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 30, the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl in Houston on Dec. 31 and the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 2.
Northern Illinois (8-3, 6-1 MAC): The Huskies are expected to close out their season with two more wins – Friday against Eastern Michigan and in the MAC championship. They’ll be favored in both. If that happens, they’ll likely be headed to face Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile Ala. on Jan. 8. Arkansas State, which plays in the Sun Belt Conference, recently accepted its invitation to the bowl. If Northern Illinois did lose again, the Little Caesar Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 27 and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho on Dec. 17 would be its other possible destinations.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at email@example.com.