IOWA CITY, Iowa - There is no bad time to have the struggling Illinois football team on your schedule, but some times are better than others.
Like for example, this Saturday is the perfect time for Iowa to face Illinois because it comes after back-to-back Big Ten losses to Penn State and Michigan State by a combined nine points and because it comes a week before Iowa's bye week.
The Hawkeyes (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) have a great opportunity to get a win and to build some momentum before having two weeks to heal and prepare the Oct. 21st game at Northwestern.
Iowa is favored by 17 points, which says more about Illinois' weaknesses than Iowa's strengths.
Our three of our panelists pick Iowa to win by no fewer than 14 points.
Iowa 38, Illinois 17: After getting off to a slow start at Michigan State, Kirk Ferentz tells his players to sleep in their uniforms and with their helmets on.
Michigan 27, Michigan State 13: Jim Harbaugh celebrates the win by being almost as strange as Mike Leach.
Wisconsin 27, Nebraska 10: Due to his ties to both programs, Barry Alvarez honors himself before the game because he's Barry Alvarez.
Purdue 20, Minnesota 17: Following back-to-back losses, P.J.Fleck delivers a lengthy and passionate post-game speech to his players, who are touched by his emotion, but not sure what he said because he talked too fast, and because he gave the speech while doing one-armed push-ups on his knuckles.
Washington State 67, Oregon 58: Mike Leach coaches the third quarter while standing on his head because he's Mike Leach.
Last week: 3-2
Iowa 35, Illinois 17: The Bears decide to trade John Fox to the Illini for Lovie Smith in hopes that Lovie can at least bring them another Super Bowl loss.
Michigan 21, Michigan State 20: Michigan wins on a hook and ladder play as time expires to continue the tradition of wacky finishes in this rivalry.
Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 10: After another loss and more scrutiny from fans, Mike Riley begs to be relieved of his coaching duties.
Purdue 31, Minnesota 24: P.J. Fleck is taken to the locker room due to cramps after doing wind sprints between the first and second quarters. It's all downhill from there for the Gophers.
Washington State 63, Oregon 35: Washington State only has the ball for 12 minutes the entire game because Mike Leach doesn't give a damn about time of possession.
Last week: 4-1
Iowa 27 Illinois 13: The Illini are bad, they have very little experience and the Hawkeyes are desparate for a Big Ten win. Run game gets back on track and so do the Hawkeyes on Saturday.
Michigan 24 Michigan State 17: This game is always fun, but I think the Wolverines have a little bit more fire power. I wasn't really all that impressed with the Spartans last week either.
Wisconsin 30 Nebraska 14: The Badgers are looking like the team we all thought they'd look like. They're disciplined, tough, and about as physical as it comes. Don't think the Huskers stand much of a chance in this one.
Purdue 27 Minnesota 26: Fleck and the Gophers lost by a TD at home last week to Maryland and now they go on the road to face a Purdue team that can sneak up on you. I think the Gophers suffer another loss in West Lafayette.
Washington State 48 Oregon 35: Wazzu pulled the upset last week, which is a game many picked them to win. The offense looks good, the defense flustered Sam Darnold all night and the Cougs are coached by one of the more interesting dudes in all of college football. Mike Leach is leading these boys to another W.