There was never much doubt Indiana was going to enter week three 1-1.
And there isn’t much doubt about what’s going to happen down the line when the Hoosiers host Akron, and travel to Michigan and Penn State.
But it’s those other seven games, beginning this week, that will determine whether IU can return to a bowl game for the first time since 2020.
If you bake in a 2-3 mark as a result of the aforementioned contests, Indiana will need to win four of the other seven games to become bowl eligible.
The bad news: IU is an underdog in all seven of those games according to ESPN’s FPI. The good news: Indiana showed enough against Ohio State to suggest they can be competitive in all seven — provided they get respectable play from the quarterback spot.
Here’s a look at the games that will decide Indiana’s 2023 season:
vs. LOUISVILLE (2-0), at Indianapolis
ESPN FPI: IU has a 25.6% chance
Tom Allen needs to figure out how to beat Jeff Brohm. The IU head coach is just 1-4 against the former Purdue coach who returned to his alma mater this season.
Brohm is off to a 2-0 start at Louisville, but the Cardinals had to rally to beat Georgia Tech. No surprise, they are averaging 48 points a contest so far.
The early line favors Louisville by roughly 10 points, but if Indiana’s defense shows up this game is winnable.
at MARYLAND (2-0)
ESPN FPI: IU has a 29.3% chance
IU is going to run into another offensive buzz saw in week five when they travel to College Park. But the Terps were down at halftime to Charlotte, and star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw two interceptions.
We’ll found out more about Maryland over the next two weeks when they face Virginia and Michigan State.
This is certainly a game where IU should have the talent to compete. But this will be the first true road game for whoever is Indiana’s starting quarterback.
vs. RUTGERS (2-0)
ESPN FPI: IU has a 49.2% chance
This is the game that could seal IU’s fate if they come up short.
The Scarlet Knights are 2-0, but they haven’t been meaningfully tested or terribly impressive while playing at home, securing wins over Northwestern and Temple.
Rutgers’ defense is pretty good, and starting quarterback Gavin Wimsatt has been better than expected so far.
vs. WISCONSIN (1-1)
ESPN FPI: IU has a 35.7% chance
Yeah, we know, should Wisconsin really be on this list as a winnable game? If you put any credence in ESPN’s FPI, Indiana has a better shot in this one than vs. Louisville or Maryland.
The Badgers have had some early offensive line and quarterback challenges. They lost on the road vs. Washington State, and weren’t impressive in week one vs. Buffalo.
But like Brohm, Allen struggled (0-2) against new Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell when he was at Cincinnati.
at ILLINOIS (1-1)
ESPN FPI: IU has a 37.0% chance
The Fighting Illini have looked less than stellar thus far, barely squeaking by at home against Toledo and then getting handled by Kansas on the road.
Transfer quarterback Luke Altmyer was sacked six times at Kansas, and he’s thrown three interceptions in two games.
at MICHIGAN STATE (2-0)
ESPN FPI: IU has a 39.0% chance
This one just got a heck of a lot more interesting.
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker has been suspended in connection with a sexual harassment case.
The Spartans have early wins over Central Michigan and Richmond, but who knows where their season is headed now.
at PURDUE (1-1)
ESPN FPI: IU has a 41.2% chance
Also with a new coach this year, the Boilermakers have been a bit erratic so far with a home loss to Fresno State and a road win at Virginia Tech.
Hudson Card appears to be a great find for Purdue at quarterback in the portal.
And new coach Ryan Walters is a defensive specialist, so they’ll likely get things figured out on that side of the ball.
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”
- Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
- You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
- Seven ways to support completely free IU coverage at no cost to you.