Illinois No. 20 in Associated Press Poll

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - After a No. 19 ranking in the coaches poll earlier this month, the University of Illinois football team solidifies its place in the preseason ratings with a No. 20 pick in the Associated Press poll. Four of Illinois 2008 opponents are also found in the top 25. It is the first time the Illini began a season in the top 25 since 2002.

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. 6 Missouri in St. Louis, Mo., in the State Farm Arch Rivalry on Aug. 30. They also face a ranked opponent in No. 22 Penn State on Sept. 27. On Oct. 25, Illinois travels to No. 13 Wisconsin and then hosts No. 2 Ohio State on No. 15.

Big Ten Notes: This is only the second time since 1970 that Michigan is not listed among the Top 25.

USA Today/Coaches' Preseason Poll

1. Georgia (22) 1,528

2. Ohio State (21) 1,506

3. USC (12) 1,490

4. Oklahoma (4) 1,444

5. Florida (6) 1,415

6. Missouri 1,266

7. LSU 1,135

8. West Virginia 1,116

9. Clemson 1,105

10. Auburn 968

11. Texas 966

12. Texas Tech 786

13. Wisconsin 771

14. Kansas 707

15. Arizona State 631

16. Brigham Young 590

17. Virginia Tech 578

18. Tennessee 509

19. South Florida 496

20. Illinois 483

21. Oregon 366

22. Penn State 293

23. Wake Forest 227

24. Alabama 89

25. Pittsburgh 85

Others Receiving Votes: South Carolina 84, Fresno State 83, California 59, Utah 53, Cincinnati 44, Florida State 41, Michigan 36, Boston College 32, Rutgers 32, Michigan State 21, Boise State 17, Arkansas 14, North Carolina 14, Connecticut 10, Tulsa 7, UCLA 6, Oregon State 5, Mississippi State 4, Virginia 4, Arizona 3, Nebraska 2, Notre Dame 2, Hawaii 1, Washington 1.


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