A win over Rutgers would help Illinois avoid falling to the bottom of the standings, while Western Kentucky's explosive attack could pose problems.
2016 ScheduleAll times ET
After waiting until April to start spring ball last year, Lovie Smith isn't wasting any time trying to improve on last season's 3-9 record.
Brian Bennett ESPN Staff Writer
Friday Night Lovie: Illinois and USF have moved up their game one day to Friday, Sept. 15, on ESPN. The Illini now have two Friday night games, as they'll also host Nebraska on Sept. 29 as part of the new Big Ten Friday night package.
Penn State's Saquon Barkley and Northwestern's Justin Jackson head a talented group of running backs returning to the Big Ten.
The Illini addressed a glaring need to improve the passing attack by adding a weapon at wideout as their highest-rated new addition.
Ohio State stays on top after signing a star-studded class ranked No. 2 in the country and an especially good haul in the defensive backfield.
Maryland became the first Big Ten school other than Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State to sign more than five ESPN 300 recruits.
Ohio State and Michigan grabbed the headlines, but don't ignore what Penn State, Maryland -- Maryland! -- and Nebraska did on national signing day as the Big Ten flexed its recruiting muscles.
Watch: Jeff Thomas to make college decision
East St. Louis, Illinois WR Jeff Thomas, the No. 55 recruit in the ESPN 300, will choose from Illinois, Tennessee, Louisville, Miami and Oregon live at 10:45 a.m. ET. Live on ESPNU/WatchESPN
Illinois sophomore running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn says he is transferring to Vanderbilt.
Matt Bowen ESPN Staff Writer
Senior Bowl: Illinois LB Carroll Phillips continues to show up in team drills. Phillips displayed the ability to win on the edge as a pass rusher and play physical versus the run today. He is putting together a solid week in Mobile.
It might surprise you to learn that Rutgers has more players on the Super Bowl rosters than any other Big Ten team.
After navigating a brutal schedule in 2016, Wisconsin gets a break next season. Meanwhile, Iowa will have to earn everything with its league slate.
Smoot a top prospect in Senior Bowl
Mel Kiper Jr. has Illinois' Dawuane Smoot (DE) at No. 15 on his list of top prospects playing in the Senior Bowl. Kiper notes that Smoot had a first-round-pick-worthy season in 2015, but he fell off in production slightly in 2016. Senior Bowl top 15 (Insider)
Purdue faces Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville, and Michigan takes on Florida in two of the tougher openers for B1G teams next fall.
Lunt eclipses 100 yards in Shrine Game
Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt completed 11-of-14 passes for 101 yards during Saturday's East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. The senior's West team won 10-3. Box score
Eli McGuire made the most of his opportunity at the East-West Shrine game.
Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer
Here are the schools that voted against the proposal to ban offseason trips for practice during a vacation period: NC State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia.
Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer
Hardy Nickerson, Jr., son of former Buccaneer great and Illinois defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson, is following in his father's footsteps in the NFL. After Tuesday's East-West Shrine Game practice, he talked about what it was like being coached by his father last year and the biggest piece of advice given to him.
While the Illini struggled both to score and to prevent points in 2016, DE Carroll Phillips was a bright spot, earning Big Ten first-team honors.
Maybe bowl season didn't quite go as planned for the Big Ten, but the league is as strong as its ever been from top to bottom and trending up.
The Buckeyes were clearly humbled by the shutout loss in the College Football Playoff, but they should find themselves in contention again next season.
The Nittany Lions sit atop the final Big Ten Power Rankings after a narrow loss in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State's thumping at the hands of Clemson.
Adam Rittenberg ESPN Staff Writer
Big Ten West coaches in 2014: Tim Beckman (Illinois), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Jerry Kill (Minnesota), Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Darrell Hazell (Purdue), Gary Andersen (Wisconsin) Big Ten West coaches in 2017: Lovie Smith (Illinois), Ferentz (Iowa), P.J. Fleck (Minnesota), Mike Riley (Nebraska), Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Jeff Brohm (Purdue), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin).
The Chicago Cubs are reportedly interested in bringing a bowl game, the Northwestern Wildcats and potentially other Big Ten football games to Wrigley Field.