2018 Indiana Hoosiers Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 5-7
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 5.5
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
After decades as an afterthought in the Big Ten, Indiana is now a program that teams have to take seriously. The Hoosiers are coming off a bowl-less season after making back-to-back postseason games for the first time since 1990-91. But even in a "down" season they still wound up and took serious swings at Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, three of the best teams in the league. This team is no longer a pushover.
Second-year coach Tom Allen will try to keep the tempo fast and the competitive games flowing in Bloomington. Indiana has a lot of talent to replace, though, and every year that we get further away from Kevin Wilson's regime this team becomes more and more about what Allen can do and what he brings to the table.
Arizona transfer quarterback Brandon Dawkins will battle incumbent sophomore starter Peyton Ramsey for the starting gig. Dawkins was explosive but erratic in Arizona. But he could upgrade the position for the Hoosiers and give them a true dual threat to make the attack go.
Indiana lost four of their top six pass catchers from an offense that was just No. 75 in the country in scoring. And although they have their top two running backs returning, the team was just No. 105 in the nation in rushing. Some of that falls on the offensive line. And this year they have all five starters back and several three-year starters. If that group can improve then this offense should get back above 30 points per game.
Surprisingly, Indiana's defense carried the day last year. Three years ago this team was allowing 38 points per game. Last year they cut it to 25.3. But nine starters are gone, and they could have five freshmen or sophomores in the starting 11 this year.
Indiana opens on the road against a tricky Florida International squad. Then the home opener is against a revenge-minded Virginia team that Indiana hung a 34-17 loss on in Charlottesville last season. An ascending Ball State squad, an in-state foe, awaits in Week 3 - right before Michigan State comes to town. That's a rough start.
The Big Ten East is the best division in college football. And, frankly, it's not even close. That means Indiana needs to take on Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. Indiana also draws a tough Iowa team out of the West, though they do get that game at home. Indiana may also be favored in games at Rutgers and at home against Maryland.
The longer I look at this schedule the less I like Indiana. This team has been treading water for the past three years - which is good for them. But I think the Hoosiers are going to take a step back this season, and that if they don't have three wins by the end of September there is no way they are going to beat this number.
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