Illini Ranked No. 18 in AP poll; Illinois Make Debut in Coaches Poll at No. 20

Illinois ranked in both the Associated Press Top 25 poll and Coaches poll for the first time since Oct. 16, 2011.

By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Football Writer/Analyst

(Cover photo courtesy Ron Johnson/USA Today Sports)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois is inside the top 20 of both major college football polls.

Following a 26-14 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, the Illini (6-1, 3-1 in Big Ten Conference) found itself at No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches poll and No. 18 in the latest Associated Press poll.

Illinois rose six spots in the AP Top 25 poll after its fifth straight win and are the lowest ranked of the four Big Ten programs in the rankings. Ohio State maintained its No. 2 spot in the poll after its bye week and Michigan easily dispatched of Penn State in Ann Arbor putting the Wolverines at 7-0 and 4-0 in the Big Ten and No. 4 in the AP poll. Penn State’s first defeat of the 2022 season saw them fall from No. 10 to No. 16 in this week’s AP poll. Illinois is ranked inside the top 20 for the first time since Oct. 9, 2011 when they were ranked No. 16 in the poll after starting the season with a 6-0 record.

Purdue (5-2, 3-1 in Big Ten), which is currently is tied with Illinois atop the Western Division of the Big Ten at 3-1 after its 43-37 home win over Nebraska, received voting points to finish just outside the poll at No. 26 and Maryland (5-2, 2-2 in Big Ten), fresh off its come-from-behind 38-33 win over Indiana on Saturday, also received voting points along with Minnesota (4-2, 2-2), which received one vote at No. 25 despite its second consecutive loss in Champaign.

Georgia (7-0, 4-0 in SEC) stood atop the AP poll for the second consecutive week but Tennessee (6-0, 3-0 in SEC) leaped three spots to No. 3 following its 52-49 victory over Alabama as the Crimson Tide (6-1, 3-1) fell from No. 3 to No. 6 with its first loss since the 2022 national championship game this past January.

Illinois was one of two teams, along with No. 25 Tulane, who entered the USA Today/Coaches poll for the first time this season. The Illini are making their first appearance in the coaches poll since Oct. 16, 2011, while the Green Wave (6-1, 3-0 in American Athletic Conference) are in for the first time since the final rankings of the 1998 season on Jan. 6, 1999.

Alabama’s loss at Tennessee caused a new No. 1 at the top of the coaches poll as Georgia Georgia returns to the spot following an easy 55-0 home win over Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs received 43 of 63 first-place votes this week and top the poll by 39 total points. Ohio State was ranked No. 2 in the coaches poll followed by Michigan, Tennessee and Clemson to round out the top five. Purdue was the only Big Ten team to receive votes in the poll but not be among the 25 schools ranked.

Podcasts

IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - March 17 Weekend (S2,Ep31)

Read

I on the Illini - Illini Bounced out of the NCAA Tourney by Arkansas #233

Read

I on the Illini - Illini Women Bounced out of NCAA Tourney by Miss State #232

Read

Watch: Illini's Coleman Hawkins & Terrence Shannon Jr. take questions at NCAA tournament pregame presser

Read

You Tube - I on the Illini - Illini vs Arkansas NCAA Preview #231

Read

I on the Illini - Illini vs Arkansas NCAA Preview #231

Read

Watch: Illini coach Shauna Green's pregame Mississippi State NCAA presser

Read

Watch: Illini's Kendall Bostic & Makira Cook in NCAA Mississippi State pregame presser

Read

I on the Illini - IlliniGuys NCAA Tourney 2023 Preview #230

Read

Watch: Illini men's basketball players react to NCAA tournament selection

Read

IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - March 10 Weekend (S2,Ep30)

Read

I on the Illini - Early Big Ten Tourney Exit #229

Read

You Tube - I on the Illini - Big Ten Tourney Preview #228

Read

I on the Illini - Big Ten Tourney Preview #228

Read

Watch: Illini coach Underwood preview Big Ten opener vs. Penn State

Read