Tom Allen and his Hoosiers NEED to reach a bowl game this year, and the first six games of this season are going to be ultra-important. Obviously, the non-conference portion of a team’s schedule is usually the easiest, and that is the case for IU as well. They will need to win the first three games, all non-conference, and then sneak at least three wins during conference play to solidify bowl eligibility (nobody banks on a 5-7 bowl because 5-7 teams in bowl games are stupid and shouldn’t be a thing). Let’s take a look at these first six games and see how IU is going to end up halfway through the season:
Sept. 1 – @ Florida International
• The Hoosiers start the year in the hot sun of Florida @ FIU. I hate away opening games because you do not have the home field advantage that can sometimes help a team when they might not be performing, and opening games offer a trap-like scenario for a team to come out and not perform to their peak. IU cannot let this happen going up against an FIU team that is coming off of a 8-5 season in 2017. The last time these two teams played was in 2016 when IU won 34-13 (the 2017 game was cancelled). Look for IU to attack the FIU defense by mixing up play calls as FIU is one of three teams in the FBS that return less production defensively than IU (37% compared to IU’s 41%). We all know that whoever IU puts at QB can run, so I think the playmaking ability on the ground from whoever starts at QB with play a key role in offensive production for the Hoosiers. It may be a slow start, but I think the Hoosiers assert their power five physicality and dominate the second half. Look for a similar score to the 2016 game.
Prediction: Indiana 38 – FIU 17
Sept. 8 – Virginia
• On the other hand, in game two we are going to see a Virginia team that is returning 72% defensive production and 50% offensive production. Last year, IU started so slow that Lagow got benched for Ramsey who was able to spark the team with his running ability. The biggest thing that scares me in this matchup is that Virginia has a new, dual-threat, quarterback. Quarterbacks offer a new dimension that teams have to scheme for and with a young defense that IU will be putting on the field, this scares me…a lot. Bryce Perkins is his name, he can run and throw, and the Virginia faithful are very, very excited to see what he can do. If IU can contain Perkins, IU “should” be able to win this game. This is the first home game of the year and I expect Hoosier Nation to come out in full support to see the new stadium additions and check out the IU-Virginia night game.
Prediction: Indiana 35 – Virginia 20
Sept. 15 – Ball State
• I’m not going to touch on this game for very long. If this game is even close, I will be very upset. By this game, IU should be settled in on both sides of the ball and dominate this game. Now, Ball State is returning the 5th most production total in the nation at roughly 85% on both sides of the ball, congrats, that production took you to a 2-10 record where they got absolutely smacked around in every single game besides the first three, in the MAC. This shouldn’t be close, but IU has a history of playing to their competition, good or bad, so you never know. Expect me to be mad online tweeting my anger if this is a barn burner.
Prediction: Indiana 51 – Ball State 10
Sept. 22 – Michigan State
• I hate Michigan State. I will say that I can respect their fans. My best friend bleeds MSU green and he handled the whole MSU scandal well, just like IU fans handled the Kelvin Sampson scandal, so I do respect their fans. My only thing is that I think that Dantonio is just as bad as Urban Meyer, DJ Durkin, and other scumbag college coaches that only care about winning and not developing young men into better versions of themselves. Last year LJ Scott was arrested for the 7th time, six of those in a one year span, yes you read that right, and he was suspended one series. I don’t care if it was nothing like domestic violence, the kid has been arrested SEVEN times and you don’t do anything to punish him so he learns? And we aren’t even diving into the rest of MSU’s problems that Dantonio most likely knew about with their training staff. The dude is a scumbag. Enough of my ranting, the last two games IU has played MSU fantastically, winning the 2016 matchup 24-21 and losing 9-17 @ MSU in 2017. This year they come into Memorial Stadium and if the Hoosiers have taken care of business in their first three games, the stadium should be absolutely packed. Brian Lewerke, LJ Scott, and their receiver threats are going to test IU to its max, but who knows, as I mentioned earlier, IU plays to their competition.
Prediction: Indiana 27 – Michigan State 34 (OT)
Sept. 29 – @ Rutgers
• THE RUTGER EFFECT. Rutgers will be better this year, I do believe that. However, they shouldn’t make a bowl game or anything, I just think they will be more competitive in each game this year. Rutgers has 81% production returning on defense, but I don’t see their offense thriving by any means. Last year, IU won 41-0 and I was very, very pleased. Expect a similar outcome this year, with the Hoosiers moving to 4-1 after this game.
Prediction: Indiana 45 – Rutgers 10
Oct. 6 – @ Ohio State
• Ohio State is going to be good, again. And it is at Ohio State, yay. The Hoosiers play their competition, yes, so this could be competitive for a little, but I just don’t see it happening this year. Let’s remember that I am an idiot in terms of being way too optimistic for IUFB so deep down I am sitting here thinking that Tom Allen knows what Kevin Wilson is going to try to do and IU will shock the nation. However, realistically, I am going to say that the Hoosiers keep it close, tons of college football fans see that the score is close on twitter, the ratings skyrocket, and then the Buckeyes pull ahead. I think that it will come out being a close game, a higher-scoring game. I think IU busts out multiple trick plays, utilizing any and all weapons (HELLO REESE TAYLOR AT QUARTERBACK).
Prediction: Indiana 27 – Ohio State 34
So where does that put IU? 4-2. This is where they should be halfway through the season, and if they are worse than that, expect Hoosier Nation to be ticked off and looking solely at Indiana Basketball. If IU happens to upset either MSU or Ohio State and they are sitting at 5-1 overall, expect me to be going nuts and IU to be ranked somewhere between 19-25 (Seriously, someone needs to check to make sure I’m alive if this happens, it won’t, but I can dream).