How Bret Bielema Ranks Among Big Ten Coaches In October

How Bret Bielema Ranks Among Big Ten Coaches In October
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Bret Bielema’s career track record in October suggests that the Illinois Fighting Illini might be poised for improvement following a so-so 2-2 start to the season. The second-most experienced Big Ten head coach has compiled a career record of 30-24 throughout that month, with a winning percentage of .556 across his coaching tenures at Wisconsin, Arkansas and Illinois.

But where does he rank among Big Ten coaches in October?, which has the Illinois sportsbook promos you’ll want before you place a wager, did the research to find out. Here are the results:

Big Ten Football Coaches October Records

Coach, School Oct. Record Winning pct.
Ryan Day, Ohio State 13-0 1.000
Luke Fickell, Wisconsin 18-7 .720
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan 31-13 .705
PJ Fleck, Minnesota 23-15 .605
James Franklin, Penn State 24-18 .571
Bret Bielema, Illinois 30-24 .556
Matt Rhule, Nebraska 15-12 .556
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa 49-40 .551
Greg Schiano, Rutgers 25-28 .472
Tom Allen, Indiana 6-15 .286
Mike Locksley, Maryland 6-18 .250

As we get into the heart of the college football season, continues its Illinois sports betting coverage by examining the history of each Big Ten coach in October. We used records from to see which Big 10 coaches have the best record for that month. Coaches must have a minimum of three years of experience to qualify, so Northwestern interim coach David Braun is not listed. However, records at previous schools count toward the total.

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Bielema Ranks Sixth For October Success

Bielema, a three-time Big Ten champion head coach in his time at Wisconsin, aims to improve that October record against three unranked conference teams, a crucial step toward keeping their championship hopes alive. Illinois is currently +7500 at Caesars Illinois Sportsbook to secure the Big Ten title.

The good news for the Fighting Illini is that all three of their October games will be against unranked opponents and one of these teams has a coach who has historically struggled in that particular month.

In Bielema’s 15-year career as a college football head coach, the 53-year-old has the sixth-best record on this list at 30-24. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, Rutgers’ Greg Schiano, Indiana’s Tom Allen, and Maryland’s Mike Locksley follow behind. Schiano, Allen, and Locksley are the only current coaches with a below-.500 records during October.

What’s Ahead For Illinois

Before the October slate hits, Illinois travels to face Purdue in West Lafayette on Saturday. Illinois is a 1-point underdog, according to BetMGM Illinois Sportsbook.

After that, Illinois’ opponents include the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Oct. 6, the Maryland Terrapins on Oct. 14, and the Wisconsin Badgers on Oct. 21. Wisconsin’s head coach, Luke Fickell, owns the second-best record on this list at 31-13 from his time at Cincinnati. In contrast, Maryland’s Locksley has the worst October record in the Big Ten at 6-18. Nebraska’s Matt Rhule falls in the middle at 15-12. Ohio State’s Ryan Day is the only coach with a perfect record at 13-0 since 2019.

Be sure to keep tabs with for reviews of Illinois betting apps, plus continued football coverage all season.



Felix Veletanga is an experienced reporter who has covered local news, politics, and sports in Northern New Jersey, and now lends his expertise to the Illinois sports betting market. He previously covered the Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team’s 2022 NCAA Cinderella run for HudPost. Felix specializes in combat fighting and soccer betting analysis with a focus on the Premier League.

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