The Indiana Hoosiers are looking to take a step forward as they head into this 2015 college football season. Last year IU might have had a decent team, if not for some bad luck at the quarterback position.
Indiana Hoosiers 2015 Betting Preview
Indiana seemed like it might be on the improve headed into last season, but took a step back, thanks in no small part to an unfortunate quarterback situation. The Hoosiers will begin this season with tempered expectations, but that could work in their favor. If they can stay healthy on offense, and improve on defense, they have a chance to go bowling for the first time in almost a decade.
2014 in Review
Indiana started 2-1 last season, including an upset of Missouri in Columbia, and it could have been 3-0, had it not blown a game against Bowling Green. The Hoosiers then welcomed Maryland to the Big Ten, allowing the Terps a road victory in Bloomington. Indiana then beat North Texas, but took a severe hit when quarterback Nate Sudfeld went down and out for the season with a shoulder injury. With practically zero help from the QB spot after that, which led to total reliance on RB Tevin Coleman to move the ball, the Hoosiers lost their next six games, several in non-competitive fashion. Indiana actually gave eventual national champion Ohio State a good game in Week 13, leading late into the third quarter, eventually succumbing 42-27, and ended the season with a victory over Purdue in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.
So the Hoosiers finished 4-8 overall, 1-7 in Big Ten play and 5-7 against the spreads. But again, a lot of that had to do with the lack of production from the quarterback situation over the second half.
Indiana also went 6-6 on the totals; 2-3 with Sudfeld, against totals in the 70's, and 4-3 without him, against totals in the 50's.
2015 Hoosiers Personnel
Indiana returns only 12 starters this season, tied for fourth-fewest in the conference, and five fewer than it had going into last season. Seven starters are back on offense, including Sudfeld (career 34/13 TD/INT ratio) and four along what should be one of the better offensive lines in the conference, but they'll have to replace a guy who rushed for 2,000 yards last season. Fortunately, the Hoosiers were able to lure in transfer Jordan Howard, who ran for almost 1,600 yards for UAB last season. Meanwhile, only five starters are back on defense, three up front but only two among the back seven.
Indiana averaged 405 yards per game on offense last year, and should improve upon that figure, with a healthy Sudfeld. But the defense gave up 434 YPG, and that was actually an improvement. The Hoosiers might play a bunch of high-scoring games this season.
Indiana opens this season with home games against Southern Illinois, Florida International and Western Kentucky, and will need victories against the Panthers and Hilltoppers if it want to become bowl-eligible. The Hoosiers then get a chance at a non-conference road victory when they visit Wake Forest.
The Big Ten slate begins with a home date with the Buckeyes, followed by a visit to Penn State, a homer with Rutgers, a visit to Michigan State, home games with Iowa and Michigan and road games at Maryland and Purdue.
We actually count as many as six or seven winnable FBS games for Indiana this season, if things fall right.
Betting the Hoosiers in 2015
Indiana hasn't gone to a bowl since 2007, and while most “experts” expect the Hoosiers to finish last in the tough East Division this season, with Sudfeld back, and the addition of Howard, they've got a chance to stay in some games. 5Dimes is listing a wins OVER/UNDER of 5.5 on Indiana this season, and we're tempted to take the OVER.
We're going to keep an eye on the Hoosiers in their early games, and see if their offense might click. They could be good bet as underdogs this season.