In the beginning of the college football season USC was on top of the world. Widely acclaimed as the best team in the nation, the Trojans were already making plans to be in the BCS National Championship Game before the first snap of the year. Then came Oct. 6 and a stunning loss to Stanford. Three weeks later Oregon topped the Trojans 24-17. Those two losses put USC into the Rose Bowl rather than the championship.
Illinois started the year with loss to Missouri then won five stright before falling to Iowa and Michigan in consecutive weeks. The Illini deserve their spot in the Rose Bowl, especially coming off a season like they suffered through last year. Finishing strongly with a win over Ohio State in the second to last game of the season put Illinois in the drivers seat.