Indiana is ranked No. 17 in the preseason USA Today AFCA Coaches’ Poll, which was released Tuesday. This means the Hoosiers will enter the season ranked in a major Top 25 for the first time since 1968, the season that followed their last Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl appearance.
The Hoosiers return 17 starters on offense and defense from a team that finished 6-2 last season with a loss to Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl, but wins over Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin. They finished last season ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press media poll, which was the first time they were ranked in that poll since 1988 when they finished the season ranked No. 20 with a win in the Liberty Bowl.
The Hoosiers are one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the Top 25. No. 4 Ohio State leads the group and is followed by No. 15 Wisconsin. After the No. 17 Hoosiers are No. 18 Iowa and No. 20 Penn State.
Indiana opens the season on Sept. 4 at Iowa and plays at Penn State on Oct. 2 and at home against Ohio State on Oct. 23. The Hoosiers do not play Wisconsin this season, but they do have a fourth Top 25 team on the schedule in No. 10 Cincinnati, which will visit Memorial Stadium on Sept. 18.