Can't Wait For Saturday | Hotshot rookie QB fires up loyal Nebraska fans

May 22—***

The Big Ten football season will be here before you know it. Illinois is one of the two Big Ten teams opening Aug. 29 (Minnesota is the other). The rest of the league opens that weekend.

Between now and May 29, I am continuing to count down the 2024 Big Ten race. Feel free to disagree.

Freshman quarterback Dylan Raiola might be the most important recruit at the school since Tommie Frazier. If he is even half as good as the hype, it will be an improvement at quarterback. Second-year coach Matt Rhule has the defense moving in the right direction. Despite a dramatic slide on the field, the fans remain the best in the conference.

The once-proud program hasn't been to a bowl game in eight years. So, there is plenty of skepticism about the ability to win again. Raiola is still just a rookie. Could be too much pressure. The schedule is nasty, with trips to Ohio State, Southern California and Iowa. Plus, a home game against Colorado.