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Indiana Hoosiers Football Preview: Predicting the 2015 season

As we end our look in to the Indiana Hoosiers for the 2015 season, many wonder if Kevin Wilson has his team in a position to make a bowl game. If not, will this be the last season for Wilson in Bloomington?

Other Big Ten Predictions:
WestIowa | Northwestern | Minnesota | Illinois | Nebraska
EastMichigan | Rutgers | Penn State

These are major questions to be answered, and with all of his own recruits in the program the pressure is on him to get the Hoosiers back to a bowl game for the first time since the 2007 Insight Bowl.

Does that happen? Let’s see how our staff sees that playing out.

2015 Indiana Hoosiers Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 5
Salukis Southern Illinois Salukis
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
4:00 p.m. ET
ESPNews
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 12
Golden Panthers FIU Golden Panthers
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
8:00 p.m. ET
BTN (Alt)/BTN2Go
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 19
Hilltoppers Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
4:00 p.m. ET
ESPNews
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sept. 26
Demon Deacons at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 3
Buckeyes Ohio State Buckeyes
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 10
Nittany Lions at Penn State Nittany Lions
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
12:00 p.m. ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 17
Scarlet Knights Rutgers Scarlet Knights (HC)
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
3:30 p.m. ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 24
Spartans at Michigan State Spartans
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 31
Open Date
Saturday
Nov. 7
Hawkeyes Iowa Hawkeyes
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 14
Wolverines Michigan Wolverines
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 21
Terrapins at Maryland Terrapins
Byrd Stadium, College Park, MD
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 28
Boilermakers at Purdue Boilermakers
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Dec. 5
Big Ten Big Ten Championship Game
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
8:00 p.m. ET
FOX
Buy
Tickets

vs. Southern Illinois
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

Assuming the Hoosiers run away with this game may be a bit premature. Indiana not only has struggled in the past few years with FCS opposition (see last years 28-10 win that was much closer against Indiana State), but the Saluki’s are no slouch either. They play in a very difficult Missouri Valley Football Conference that features 4-time defending champion North Dakota State among six teams that finished last season in the FCS Top 25. Still, this team should do enough to win this game and move forward with positive momentum.

vs. Florida International
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

FIU was once a team on the rise, but since the abrupt end of the Mario Cristobal era things haven’t gotten much better. In fact, this team has steadily regressed to the point where Bethune-Cookman of the FCS took down the Panthers last season. Indiana shouldn’t have much difficulty in this one and look for a big win here.

vs. Western Kentucky
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

I can’t speak for Dave on this one, but I have a strange feeling about this game. The Hilltoppers aren’t a slouch of a program, even without Bobby Petrino at the head, as they went 8-4 last season and nearly pulled off a win at Illinois too. As long as the defense is as improved as I think it will be, Indiana should win this game. However, this is the one game in non-conference I’m the most worried about.

at Wake Forest
Andy — Win
Dave — Loss

Apparently Dave is most worried about this game in the non-conference schedule, calling for a loss. However, it’s hard to see how the Hoosiers offense isn’t capable of putting up ALL THE POINTS in this matchup. Simply put, Wake Forest is a major rebuilding effort and Indiana isn’t. The one area to watch is seeing if it will be Wake’s underrated secondary or Indiana’s passing game that wins. Still, IU has the power up front to run this game, and that’s the difference here. Look for Indiana to win big, even on the road.

vs. Ohio State
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

Do I even have to give a reason? Well, I might as well since I’m here and the reason is two words — JOEY BOSA. If Nate Sudfeld is smart he avoids this man at all costs, because the last thing Indiana needs is an injury. Sure, IU put up a decent fight for a while against Ohio State, but this OSU team is a year older, smarter and bigger too. It won’t be a pretty day in Bloomington, Ind. when the Buckeyes come to town.

at Penn State
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

Was there an uglier matchup in the Big Ten last season than the 13-7 slugfest that was Indiana hosting Penn State? Look for these two teams to put on a much better showing with Sudfeld leading the Hoosiers offense and Penn State’s offensive line in a much better situation too. However, Penn State’s defense finds a way to win this game and keep them in the early season race in the East division.

vs. Rutgers
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

Two soul crushing losses could weigh heavily on Indiana’s spirits and that could lead to this game being a major trap game for IU. Or, it could be a moment to galvanize the team and turn the season in to a potential bowl game season. I’m going with the latter, especially at home. Indiana needs this win and it will take apart the Rutgers secondary en route to a massive victory.

at Michigan State
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

As easy as the loss to OSU was to call, this one is 1b to that. Indiana’s biggest hope lies in a secondary in a lot of flux heading in to this season (and by flux I mean having more moving parts than usual). Don’t worry, Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio will have it all figured out by this point and shut down Indiana’s offense more than most. Look for this game to be a blowout by the mid-third quarter.

vs. Iowa
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

Personally, I’m not sold that C.J. Beathard is a long-term solution for the Iowa offense. In fact, I think this is one of the games in the Big Ten that he ends up costing his team. Sleep on the Indiana defense all you want, but Iowa’s offensive line is not as good as it was last season and the overall talent level of IU’s defense is up. Look for the D to win this one in a rarity for the Hoosiers.

vs. Michigan
Andy —Win
Dave — Loss

How does Indiana make a statement in 2015? Winning a game most won’t give it a chance to win before the season starts. So, I’m making a bold call here, but one I feel strongly about. No doubt Jim Harbaugh is going to help make this team better, but it won’t be done overnight and this game will be a major reminder of that. Add in the fact that Michigan has bigger fish to fry with end of season matchups against both Penn State and “Ohio” and I’m betting the Wolverines find out that the Big Ten is too deep to take a week off.

at Maryland
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin all in a row? Talk about a chance to really demoralize a team. However, I expect this game to be the relief Maryland needs in the schedule and take advantage of being at home against a team that is equal to it at worst. This is the one team whose secondary has the pieces to make the pass-happy Hoosiers slow down. Look for Will Likely to be a big part of this game and a key to keeping IU’s offense in the 20’s and therefore within striking distance for the Terps’ offense.

at Purdue
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

Who knows what will happen when these two rivals get together for the Old Oaken Bucket. If recent history holds out, both Dave and I are wrong and that’s because after each team has had a two-game win streak the other has done the same. Indiana will look to end that trend and reverse a 4-6 record in the last 10 contests for the Old Oaken Bucket. A look at these two programs on paper suggests recent history needs to be thrown out. The Hoosiers go on a three-game win streak as long as Sudfeld is healthy and the defense is even marginally better. Give me the road team in this contest for the first time since 2010, when Indiana won in West Lafayette.

Indiana’s 2015 Final Record/Big Ten Finish:

Andy: 8-4 (4-4)/5th in Big Ten East
Dave: 6-6 (3-5)/5th in Big Ten East

Our Predicted 2015 Big Ten Standings: 

West:
1.
2. Minnesota Gophers (Andy)/Nebraska Cornhuskers (Dave)
3. Iowa Hawkeyes (Dave)/Nebraska Cornhuskers (Andy)
4. Iowa Hawkeyes (Andy)/ Minnesota Gophers (Dave)
5. Illinois Fighting Illini (Dave)/Northwestern (Andy)
6. Northwestern (Dave)/Illinois (Andy)
7.

East:
1.
2.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (Andy/Dave)
4. Michigan Wolverines (Andy/Dave)
5. Indiana Hoosiers (Andy/Dave)
6.
7. Rutgers (Andy/Dave)

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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