5 College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams For 2022

Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

5 College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams For 2022

College Football Features

5 College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams For 2022

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Big Ten: Illinois Fighting Illini

This could go two ways in Year Two under head coach Bret Bielema. It could be a complete disaster and everything could blow up – in a bad way – or it could screw up Big Ten opponents that have this game mentally circled as a win.

It’s been hard to get this dog of an Illinois program to hunt.

The excuse of being a basketball school doesn’t fly – big-time universities can walk and dribble a ball at the same time – but for a slew of reasons Illinois is having issues.

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Lovie Smith couldn’t get the quick fix to fly, previous coaches couldn’t seem to find their recruiting footing, and overall, the fan base has become numb to the mediocrity.

At least Bielema did what a new head coach is supposed to – he provided hope.

Illinois went 5-7 last year to make it ten straight losing seasons. However, the running game was tough, the defense had its moments, and even though scoring was like pulling teeth – dear lord make that Penn State 43 overtime game stop already – wins over the Nittany Lions, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern were nice.

The transfer portal filled in some holes on offense, but the running game will take over behind a patched up line. The defense doesn’t have a ton of stars, but it’s going to be tough, the pass rush will be even stronger, and the secondary should be sneaky-good.

Wyoming, at Indiana, Virginia, UT Chattanooga – at least a 3-1 start is a must.

There’s no Ohio State to deal with, and Penn State is off the slate. Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State, and Purdue all come to Champaign, and this team’s style of play travels.

NEXT: College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams, Big 12

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