2. Lovie Smith: Illinois Fighting Illini
The danger of playing a really bad football program is that it puts a coach on the hot seat instantly if they lose to that program. Lovie Smith was already probably feeling the heat coming into this season but that dissuaded with two victories to begin the year.
Since then, the Fighting Illini have lost two straight and are back at square one. Dropping the home game to USF a couple of weeks ago really wasted a golden opportunity at sweeping their non-conference schedule.
Everyone had Penn State rolling over them and they kept it competitive for a half. However, this is the week where they can’t struggle and better be ready to deliver what should be their largest margin of victory of the year.
Illinois is hosting Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have been blown out by Kansas this year and got manhandled by Buffalo last week. They might very well be the worst program in the power-five conferences right now.
This should be the layup Lovie Smith needs to push his program back to a winning record and to three wins on the year, which would match his high with the program. If by some miracle they lose, he can pack it up.