It has been since 2007 that the Indiana University football team made a bowl game. In that season the Hoosiers finished 7-6, winning one for “Hoepp”, former coach Terry Hoeppner.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lynch took the reigns of the Indiana program that season, after Hoeppner took a medical leave of absence due to his battle with brain cancer. Lynch lead the Hoosiers to the Insight Bowl after a 27-24 regular season finale victory over the in-state rival Purdue Boilermakers.
IU loss that Insight bowl 49-33 to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and haven’t been to a bowl game since. Could this be the year the Indiana football program gets back to a bowl game?
Offense shouldn’t be a problem for current Hoosier coach Kevin Wilson. Last year Indiana ranked in the top ten nationally in total offense, averaging nearly 510 yards per game. Though the loss of Cody Latimer will hurt early on, the Hoosiers should still have plenty of weapons at wide receiver in Shane Wynn, Nick Stoner, Isaiah Roundtree, and Dominique Booth.
On the flip side the Hoosier defense gave up almost 530 yards per game, which ranked 120th in the nation.
The Hoosiers brought in new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr from Wake Forest. Knorr lead the Demon Deacons to the 33rd ranked defense. If Knorr can get the Hoosier defense to half of that, Indiana will be much improved on the defensive end.
With the transfer of Tre Roberson, Nate Sudfeld would likely see the majority of time at quarterback once again. As a sophomore, Sudfeld threw for 2,523 yards, 21 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He’ll need to improve upon those numbers if the Hoosiers are to make their first bowl game in seven years.
IU went 5-7 last year, with all five wins coming at home in Memorial Stadium. Indiana’s home schedule this year includes Indiana State, Maryland, North texas, Michigan State, Penn State, and Purdue. The Hoosiers will likely have to win four or five homes games again to keep their bowl hopes alive. Indiana State, North Texas and Purdue should be three wins. I say the Hoosiers also beat Maryland to get four wins at home.
On the road the Hoosiers will face Bowling Green, Iowa, Michigan, Rutgers and Ohio State. IU should beat Bowling Green which would get them to five wins. The Hoosiers would likely need to beat either Iowa or Rutgers on the road to get that recently elusive 6th win.
Can the Hoosiers make a bowl game? I think they can…as long as they learn how to stop a nose bleed.