Illinois 19th in USA Today/Coaches' Poll

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois football team will enter the 2008 season ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2002, as the USA Today/Coaches' Preseason poll was released today with the Illini at No. 19. In addition to the Illini, five opponents on the 2008 schedule also polled among the top 25 teams in the country.

The Illini ended the 2007 season with a ranking of No. 18 by the coaches and No. 20 by the Associated Press. The team's highest rating of 2007 was 13th heading into its Rose Bowl game against USC. Illinois faced five ranked teams last season, posting a 3-2 record vs. the top-25. Head coach Ron Zook's squad was the only in the country to defeat two top-5 opponents with upsets of No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 1 Ohio State.

This year's schedule features some of the best competition in college football as the Illini start off the season with No. 7 Missouri in St. Louis, Mo., in the State Farm Arch Rivalry on Aug. 30. They also face back-to-back ranked opponents in No. 22 Penn State on Sept. 27 and No. 24 Michigan on Oct. 4, both of which are road match-ups. On Oct. 25, Illinois travels to No. 12 Wisconsin and then hosts No. 3 Ohio State on No. 15.

Zook is one of 61 head football coaches that vote for the weekly poll.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories