Found December 29, 2011 on
College Football Section:
Illinois Illini (6-6) vs. UCLA Bruins (6-7)
On December 31, the Illinois Fighting Illini will play the UCLA Bruins in the Kraft Fight Hunger Sadness Bowl. They will meet in San Francisco in AT&T Park (Giant’s Stadium).
Illinois… what to say about Illinois. For the first time in NCAA history a team won their first 6 games and lost their last 6 games to finish with a .500 record. Ron Zook was fired. Vic Koenning will be the interim coach for the bowl game. Tim Beckman will be new Illini coach in 2012. Beckman is has been the head coach at Toledo since 2008. He also has coaching experience under Jim Tressel at Ohio State and Urban Meyer at Bowling Green.
The UCLA Bruins won the Pac-12 South and lost to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. On the surface this would seem to be a successful season. However, in the Bruins case they had the second best record in their Division and only made it to the Pac 12 Championship Game because USC was ineligible. The Bruins finished the seas...
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UCLA is the first team in a decade to earn a trip to a bowl with a losing record.
Illinois is the first FBS team in history to close the regular season with six straight losses after opening with six consecutive wins.
Therefore, it's not surprising neither Rick Neuheisel nor Ron Zook will be around for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
In a matchup of two teams that have fired...
The Fighting Illini football team saw a couple defenders come out of nowhere and earn post season recognition. Junior defensive end Whitney Mercilus became a consensus All-American, and sophomore linebacker Jonathan Brown earned All-Big 10 mention. Brown was a backup as a true freshman last year, but his play this fall gives great hope for the future.
True leaders are hard to find. So when you have one or more on a football team, you cherish them. Besides playing their absolute best, they encourage their teammates to do likewise. They see the big picture and continue to fight for the future of the program even when they are graduating. Among the best for the Fighting Illini is senior cornerback Tavon Wilson.
The Fighting Illini football team utilized the skills of two quality defensive ends to become one of the best defenses in the country. Whitney Mercilus became a consensus All-American, and Michael Buchanan has similar potential for next season. Buchanan feels the Illini are ready for a supreme effort against UCLA.
UCLA senior wide receiver Nelson Rosario is well-known around the country for his SportsCenter Top Plays, but it's his game-changing plays, such as those against Washington State and Arizona State, that have led him to team Offensive MVP honors this season.
The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl committee obviously left a buffet full of bowl eligible teams starving after having to select the only team in Football Bowl Subdivision history to win its first six games and lose its final six, the Illinois Fighting Illini, and the only team with a losing record to qualify for a bowl via an NCAA waiver, the UCLA Bruins.
Fans had high hopes...