Complete Illinois Fighting Illini Bowl Game History and Bowl Summaries

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Good morning college football and Illinois Fighting Illini fans. Another autumn Saturday is in the books and the season is just flying by. Last night saw Illinois go on the road, to Michigan State, and win their fourth straight game. They did it in extremely dramatic fashion, achieving the biggest comeback in school history (25 points).

Illinois is now bowl eligible, for the first time under Lovie Smith, and there are still two games left to play. This will be Illinois’ 19th bowl appearance, and they are 8-10 all-time. Let’s take a look at where we’ve been, so we can try to see where we’re going.

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Five Most Memorable Rose Bowl Games of Recent Memory

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Earning the right to play in the Rose Bowl is a dream for every football loving kid in both Pac-12 and Big Ten country. “The Granddaddy of them all,” this game between the Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks will be the 98th edition. By far the oldest of all college football bowl games, the centennial year will also see Pasadena hosting the national title game in 2014.

I have a very close friend who’s originally from Pasadena, California and lives here in Chicago today. And I’ve explained to her that earning “your way to Pasadena” is the pinnacle for Big Ten football fans. Pasadena exists in this framework as an Eden, a refuge from winter where it’s supposedly 74 and sunny everyday, and watching the sun set against the mountain behind the Rose Bowl Stadium is supposedly worth the price of admission by itself.

It’s home to her, a place; but to Big Ten folk it’s a Utopian state of mind.

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Illini Bowl History: Mixed Results, Lots of UCLA for some Reason

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This year marks Illinois’ 17th bowl appearance, where they are 7-9 all-time. The Big Ten has had to play 16 bowl games in the state of their opponent since 2005. That’s more than double that of any other conference, and extremely unfair. And that number will increase by five this holiday season.

By appearing in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco versus UCLA, the Illini are facing a bowl opponent in their home state for the 4th consecutive time. For some reason, they’ve drawn UCLA in 4/17 appearances, nearly one quarter. In this match-up of two traditional college basketball powers, the Bruins hold a 3-1 advantage over Illinois.

Let’s take a look at Illinois’ bowl history:

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