Illinois football bowl projections: Experts say it's down to 2 options for the Illini

Illinois wide receiver Brian Hightower celebrates after Illinois defeated Northwestern 41-3 in an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Illinois wide receiver Brian Hightower celebrates after Illinois defeated Northwestern 41-3 in an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Illini are playing their best football in nearly a decade.

Running back Chase Brown is second nationally in yards rushing with 1,643 and has a chance to break Mikel Leshoure's single-season school record of 1,697 in 2010.

The Illinois offense has improved this season under both Brown and QB Tommy DeVito. The Syracuse transfer has a 70% completion percentage that ranks third in the nation. With a 142.34 passer rating, he is on pace to break the Illinois record of 141.6 set by Wes Lunt in 2014.

What's more, Illinois has its highest win total since the 2007 Rose Bowl team finished 9-4.

After all this, the Illini will be headed to a bowl game. But which one?

We take a spin around the internet to see where experts say coach Bret Bielema and the Illinois football team will land when bowl games are announced Sunday.

Illinois running back Chase Brown (2) runs past Northwestern defensive back Devin Turner during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Illinois running back Chase Brown (2) runs past Northwestern defensive back Devin Turner during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Music City Bowl, Dec. 31

The Nashville, Tennessee-based bowl is one possible destination, with at least four experts picking the Illini to take on an SEC team down south. FOX Sports has the Illini slated here to take on Ole Miss of the SEC. The Action Network and 247 Sports also have the Illini in the same game, but against Kentucky, also of the SEC.

ReliaQuest Bowl, Jan. 2

This seems like the most likely destination, with multiple experts having the Illini waiting until after New Year's to play and facing South Carolina in the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The Sporting News, Pro Football Network, USA TODAY, CBS Sports, College Football News and Athlon Sports all have that pick, many of them switching to the matchup Sunday morning.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Illinois bowl projections: Where will Illini play? Experts weigh in