No. 19 Washington opens its road schedule this weekend with a stop in the Windy City to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini. Saturday's showdown between the two power conference players is scheduled to kickoff at 6:10pm ET at Soldier Field; the game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. Opening NCAA College Football Odds are favoring the Huskies at -9.5 against the spread and -360 on the money line ($360 wins $100). The Over/Under in this weekend's meeting between Washington and Illinois is presently set at 62.5 points.
Washington opened its season in noteworthy fashion by taking out then No. 19 Boise State 38-6 at Husky Stadium in Seattle. The Huskies performance was nothing short of exceptional as they produced 33 first downs and 592 total yards against the usually tough Broncos.
Washington's destruction of Boise State resulted into a move into the Top 25 while also stoking hopes the Huskies can become a potential threat to Oregon and Stanford's Pac-12 North supremacy.
Steve Sarkisian and his troops do have their work cut out for them, though, with conference road trips to Stanford, Arizona State, UCLA, and Oregon State in the offing. And they may have a bigger challenge than most expected in the Fighting Illini this weekend.
Illinois did not appear so dangerous in its season opening 42-34 win over FCS school Southern Illinois, but last week's 45-17 whipping of Cincinnati was impressive.
The Illini posted 522 yards in the win and they held the ball for 36:28 thanks to a 9-of-15 conversion rate on third down. Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase had, arguably, his best game as a member of the Illini, completing 26-of-37 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns in the easy win.
Not much was expected from Illinois with only 12 starters back from last year's 2-10 squad, but the team may be feeling a bit more optimistic after handling the Bearcats so easily. Washington will present an even more stringent test, and one the Illini are not likely to pass given what are some still obvious defensive deficiencies.
While Illinois held the Bearcats to 17 points, it did allow 456 total yards, including 148 on the ground. The Salukis had some success against the Fighting Illini as well, totaling 407 yards while averaging 8.3 yards per pass.
If they are unable to shore things up defensively, the offense will need to have a banner day to stay in this game. That seems like a remote possibility with Washington's defense looking like Sarksian's stingiest bunch yet.
NCAA College Football Picks Washington vs Illinois
Washington Huskies -9.5 (-110), Over 62.5 (-110), -360 (Moneyline)
Illinois Fighting Illini +9.5 (-110), Under 62.5 (-110), +300 (Moneyline)
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