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How we voted: Illini moved to No. 12 before CFP reveal | Sport

On Tuesday at 6 p.m., the Illinois State football team will achieve another first: a top-25 College Football Playoff ranking.

How high? Well, if the selection committee follows my lead, Illinois will be outside the top 10.

If I wrote the following line before the season started, I might get shut down: Illinois is one win away from the top 10.

In football.

That’s for sure: The Illini are going to move up in the Associated Press rankings this week.

After a dominating win against Nebraska on Saturday in horrible Memorial Stadium, I moved Illinois up four spots in my AP poll, from N. 16 to 12.

Yes, Illinois is missing a signature win. A win at Wisconsin is the closest we’ll ever get. But the Ilni pass the eye test, especially on defense.

Illinois looks like a team capable of contending for a conference title in most Power 5 leagues. For a program coming off its first winning season since 2011, that’s a surprising statement.

Illinois avoided the nasty upset that befell several Top 25 finishers. Nothing worse than Oklahoma State’s 48-0 blowout at Kansas State.

Some voters might put Kansas State’s two losses ahead of Illinois’ one loss. Not me.

Brett Bielem’s team hosts Michigan State on Saturday, a game that seemed like a tough task before the season. Not now. Illinois fans will likely remind Daniel Barker that he made the wrong decision when he transferred from Illinois to East Lansing.

Enough about former Illinois, let’s get to the vote.

Here’s The News-Gazette’s vote:


1. Ohio State 1

2. Georgia 2

3. Tennessee 3

3. Michigan 4

5. Alabama 5

6. Clemson 6

7. PKU 7

8. Oregon 8

9. Southern California 9

10. Mississippi 12

11. UCLA 13

12. Illinois 16

13. Kansas State –

14. Pennsylvania 14

15. Oklahoma State 10

16. Utah 18

17. NC State 19

18. LSU 20

19. North Carolina 21

20. Tulane 23

21. Wake Forest 11

22. Maryland 24

23. UCF —

24. Freedom —

25. Oregon State –


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