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Indiana Hoosiers

College Football

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Indiana is no longer a laughingstock to play in the Big Ten and showed how far it has come by reaching a second-street bowl game last season. The Hoosiers beat Michigan State and finished 4-5 in conference play and almost upset Utah in their bowl game. While Kevin Wilson is gone, the team returns a bunch of starters so nothing should change much in Tom Allen’s (former defensive coordinator) first season as head coach.

The offense should be just as potent with almost everyone returning and that includes quarterback Richard Lagow (3,362 yards, 19 TDs, 17 INTs). He had a ton of picks, but still pushed the ball down the field and that will be the case again with receiver Nick Westbrook (995 yards, 6 TDs) back to go with the return of Simmie Cobbs. The line lost a top guard, but other than that should be set to lead a mix of new running backs in Devonte Williams, Alex Rodriguez or Tyler Natee. There is no known option at running back for now, but someone usually steps up for the Hoosiers on that front.

Defensively, it’s just as good with nine starters back to go with the return of linebacker T.J. Simmons, who missed all of last season with injury. The defense still had some issues last year, but a lot of those were due to the offense’s turnovers. In all, the defense was much better than recent versions and if the Hoosiers can build upon that, they’ll be in business. In addition to Simmons, linebacker will be loaded with Tegray Scales. The secondary could end up being one of the best in the conference with Richard Fant at corner and experience at safety in Marcelino Ball and Jonathan Crawford. The line is the biggest work in progress, but still has experience returning.

We’ll get a good idea of just how competitive Indiana can be with its home opener against Ohio State. They fought the Buckeyes last season, but ultimately fell 38-17. From there, they’ll try and take down the ACC’s Virginia on the road. Their Big Ten schedule doesn’t get much easier with a home game against Michigan placed between trips to Penn State and Michigan State. The Hoosiers also get Wisconsin out of the West so improving on their six wins could be difficult given the schedule.

Indiana should be headed to another bowl game given the talent returning, but with a tougher schedule, more than six wins could be more difficult than expected. The Hoosiers are +6000 in the spring to win the conference (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), but that’s mostly because of schedule. If all goes to plan, they’ll be a bit more competitive and that could result in a big upset along the way.

2017 Indiana Hoosiers Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. Ohio State
Sept. 9 at Virginia
Sept. 16 vs. Florida International
Sept. 23 vs. Georgia Southern

Sept. 30 at Penn State
Oct. 14 vs. Michigan
Oct. 21 at Michigan State

Oct. 28 at Maryland
Nov. 4 vs. Wisconsin
Nov. 11 at Illinois
Nov. 18 vs. Rutgers
Nov. 25 at Purdue

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