Can't Wait For Saturday | Is anyone up for 10 overtimes? Probably not the Nittany Lions

Jun. 5—***

The Illinois football opener is 85 days away when Bret Bielema's team lines up against Eastern Illinois on a Thursday night (Aug. 29. time TBA).

The team has 12 guaranteed games and can add a 13th by qualifying for a bowl. Think really big and the number jumps by either reaching the Big Ten title game or earning a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

By my count, Illinois can play as many as 17 games.

No reason to get ahead of myself. Let's look at the games we know will happen for certain.

Here is the CWFS take on Illinois' schedule, counting the games down on the excite-o-meter. As always, feel free to disagree:

The CWFS author turns 63 the day the Nittany Lions host Illinois. But hey, who is counting.

The last trip to State College went very well for Illinois, as long as you don't mind long games. Most of the success for Illinois in the series has been at Beaver Stadium. Some of the near-misses too, like the 6-3 loss in 2011 when Joe Paterno became football's all-time winningest coach in his last game.

This is a huge game for the home team, which has a loaded running game and aspirations to reach the College Football Playoffs. Despite a nice run under James Franklin, folks in State College still feel like the program needs to do more.

Don't expect the Nittany Lions to waste a White Out game on Illinois. Not with Ohio State visiting later in the season.

The good news for Penn State is even if it drops a game or two this season, it can still make the playoffs. And winning a national title is what matters most in Pseudo Happy Valley.

Penn State claims Linebacker U and it seems more than legit with Micah Parsons, Jack Ham and LaVar Arrington all playing there.