BOZICH | Indiana football season predictions by WDRB Sports staff
Indiana has not played in back-to-back bowl games in 24 seasons. Does that streak end this fall? The WDRB sports staff is divided on the Hoosiers' outlook.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – History says the Indiana University football team won’t finish the season in a bowl game. IU played in the Pinstripe Bowl last season, and the Hoosiers have not appeared in back-to-back bowls since 1992.
The wise guys in Las Vegas say that Indiana won’t finish the season in a bowl game. The over/under victory total for the Hoosiers at the Vegas sports books is 5 ½. You have to win six to be assured the chance to play 13 games.
Three of the best players on coach Kevin Wilson’s high octane offense are gone – all of them in NFL camps. Tackle Jason Spriggs works for Green Bay, quarterback Nate Sudfeld is trying to earn a spot in Washington and halfback Jordan Howard has played for Chicago.
The defense is working on its third coordinator in four seasons but even the new guy, Tom Allen, will tell you that personnel and attitude matter more than tricky defensive schemes.
There is also this added obstacle – an extra conference game. The Big Ten will require nine league games instead of eight this season. In addition to Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, Indiana must play Nebraska and Northwestern in 2016.
But the Hoosiers do have one of the best offensive lines in the Big Ten, a 1,000-yard rusher (Devine Redding), a solid group of receivers (led by Simmie Cobbs), two talented linebackers (Tegray Scales and Marcus Oliver) and an improved secondary. Richard Lagow, a junior-college transfer, brings a big arm to the quarterback spot.
The Hoosiers open their 2016 season Thursday night at Florida International in Miami. Reasonable people are not gaga about Indiana making another bowl trip. A victory at FIU is essential to a six-win season.
What does the WDRB Sports staff say?
KATIE GEORGE: 7-5. Replacing Nate Sudfeld will be a challenge. An inexperienced quarterback will hurt offensive production. However, I think IU's defense will perform better under Tom Allen than in recent years.
TOM LANE: 6-6. Hoosiers settle quarterback questions and ride another Old Oaken Bucket victory (over Purdue) to a second straight bowl appearance.
MIKE LACETT: 4-8. Too many question marks for me to feel good about the Hoosiers. They open up their Big Ten schedule with Michigan State and Ohio State. Then they play Nebraska. Good luck.
JOHN LEWIS: 4-8. IU had a lot of "almost" in 2015, but with the losses of QB Nate Sudfeld and RB Jordan Howard coupled with a tough Big Ten East schedule, it could be a rough season in Hoosier Land.
ERIC CRAWFORD: 5-7. Hoosiers could get to six, especially if QB play is better than we can anticipate.
RICK BOZICH: 6-6. Forget the questions at quarterback and running back. The thing that matters is tackling – and the Hoosiers’ defense is more athletic and talented. Oliver, Scales and safety Jonathan Crawford are legit Big Ten players.
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