Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

IU football No. 72 in ESPN’s 2022 SP+ rankings

ESPN staff writer Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings model is a data driven system using logical inputs — and thus unbiased.  That’s why we like it and check in each year to see what his projections say about the state of IU football.

This is generally a good time of year to take a look at SP+, because for the most part, the roster madness generated by the transfer portal has subsided.

A year ago you could argue SP+ accurately suggested Indiana was being overrated by the human rankings when it placed the Hoosiers No. 28 nationally before the season.  That was notably worse than their preseason AP top-25 ranking of No. 17, or just about any other predictions.

Connelly’s SP+ preseason projections are based on three factors.

1. Returning production. The returning production numbers are based on transfers and roster attrition. The combination of last year’s SP+ ratings and adjustments based on returning production make up a little more than two-thirds of the projections formula.

Indiana ranks No. 53 (of 131) in overall returning production according to Connelly.

(For a complete summary of Indiana’s position-by-position roster turnover, GO HERE)

2. Recent recruiting. This component factors in both recent high school recruiting results, as well as performance in landing transfers.  The high school recruiting rankings are considered for the last four years, with the older classes given more weight.

Indiana finished No. 26, 54, 57 and 37 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings in 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively.  247Sports gives Indiana the 28th best transfer portal haul.

3. Recent history. A small portion of the formula considers how well the program has performed on the field in recent years.

Indiana ended the 2021 bowl season ranked No. 100 in Connelly’s SP+ system, but they rank much higher than that in terms of returning production, they’ve done relatively well in recruiting, and have had at least have two recent successful seasons (2019 and 2020) to help offset their dismal 2021 campaign.

All things considered, Indiana has moved up to No. 72 from the end-of-season rankings to the preseason SP+ rankings.

Here is how the Hoosiers compare to the rest of the Big Ten, along with the programs on their 2022 schedule:


  • Ohio State – No. 1
  • Michigan – No. 4
  • Wisconsin – No. 10
  • Penn State – No. 13
  • Michigan State – No. 16
  • Minnesota – No. 21
  • Iowa – No. 27
  • Nebraska – No. 29
  • Purdue – No. 35
  • Maryland – No. 47
  • Indiana – No. 72
  • Rutgers – No. 78
  • Illinois – No. 82
  • Northwestern – No. 85


Sept. 2 – Illinois (82)
Sept. 10 – Idaho (N/A, FCS)
Sept. 17 – Western Kentucky (62)
Sept. 24 – at Cincinnati (11)
Oct. 1 – at Nebraska (29)
Oct. 8 – Michigan (4)
Oct. 15 – Maryland (47)
Oct. 22 – at Rutgers (78)
Nov. 5 – Penn State (13)
Nov. 12 – at Ohio State (1)
Nov. 19 – at Michigan State (16)
Nov. 26 – Purdue (35)

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