By December 8, three days after the announcement of the participating teams, approximately 60,000 of the stadium's 70,000 seats had been purchased; bowl officials anticipated the bowl's first-ever sellout. Baylor announced the same day that all but 400 of its 12,000-ticket allotment had been sold and that the athletics department had requested more tickets from the Texas Bowl.
After a disappointing 3-9 season Illinois returns to a bowl game to face Baylor. Illinois boasts Mikel Leshoure who emerged as the Big Ten’s best running back this season, ranking eighth nationally in rushing with 126.1 yards per game. Illinois has not won a bowl game since 1999 when they defeated Virginia in the MicronPC.com Bowl. The game will also mark the Fighting Illini's first appearance in the Texas Bowl.
Baylor enters the Texas Bowl with a 7-5 record. After a 7-2 start the Bears lost their last 3 contests. Baylor boasts 5 receivers with at least 40 catches in their high-powered offense. The Bears will be playing in their first Texas Bowl. This is their first bowl appearance since the 1994 Alamo Bowlwhere they lost to the high powered Washington State Cougars.