Pat Lovell – USA Today
We are 66 days from the Hoosiers kicking off at “The Rock” against Indiana State. Today the Hoosiers checked in as the 69th best team in the nation according to USA Today.
Here is a season preview from Paul Myerberg of the USA Today. You can view the entire IU preview here: Indiana #69 in all the Land
“SEASON BREAKDOWN & PREDICTION:
In a nutshell: Well, it’s time – and it’s been a long time coming. If not possessed by the sort of cohesive, offense-to-defense balance needed to vault into the upper tier of the Big Ten, these Hoosiers are ready to knock back a few decades of inconsistency and reach a bowl game: IU should win six or seven games during the regular season, riding a powerful offense and a can’t-be-worse defense to three or four wins in the Big Ten and a spot in the postseason. Anything less than a 6-6 regular season would be a substantial disappointment.
The defense stinks, but this offense could be special. There are no definite weaknesses, merely a weak link: IU is short on experience at receiver, but I trust in the staff’s ability to create a powerful passing game despite the changing cast of targets and receiving options. Sudfeld is more than capable of leading the charge as Wilson’s triggerman; the offensive line is extremely, extremely underrated; and Coleman is one of the most electric skill players in all of college football. It’s an offense to write home about – and an offense worthy of playing into December.
So the defense is terrible. Is that going to stop IU? It’ll slow the Hoosiers down, I think, but it won’t stop six or seven wins from becoming a reality. It can only get better: Knorr’s an upgrade, for one, and I don’t think IU will struggle mightily in the shift to the 3-4, thanks to the front seven’s readiness for the shift. The secondary is a huge concern, true, but I hope Wilson, Knorr and this staff won’t hesitate to slot the younger core into the mix should the returning cast continue to struggle. The defense might be terrible, it might be devastatingly frustrating, it might be horrible … but it’ll be good enough to get to 6-6.
The schedule does prevent a major breakthrough, however. There’s really no time for air: Indiana State’s a win, as noted, but IU will be hard-pressed to find extended winning streaks from September through November. So it’s crucial that this team not slip up against a North Texas or Rutgers, for example, and notch at least one upset win – against a Michigan State or Michigan, for example. Two such wins could mean an eight-win season and a top-four finish in the East Division. That’s probably too much. But six wins? Let’s do it.
Dream season: Indiana’s breakthrough comes behind a rejuvenated defense, one that works in concert with another powerful offense to lift IU to an 8-4 regular season.
Nightmare season: The Hoosiers fall back to 3-9, ratcheting up the temperature on Wilson’s seat.”