Although a 4-8 season doesn't seem like a season to look back upon highly, the Indiana Hoosiers football team can definitely take some positives out of their 2012 campaign. While four games is certainly not good by any standard, the team showed vast improvement from their prior season. As a matter of fact, Indiana was in the hunt to go to the Big Ten Championship until the very end of their 2012 season. Granted, that was because Penn State and Ohio State were both on post-season bans, but it was still unfamiliar territory for the program.
The 2013 season looks to be one of the most successful seasons in recent memory for Indiana football. The team has Tre Roberson back. They've got the one of the best recruiting classes in the Big Ten, and their offense is right up there with the best in the country. Below is my game-by-game predictions for the Hoosiers.
8/29/13 - Indiana State
The Hoosiers kick off the season on a Thursday night against the Sycamores. Indiana just held off Indiana State last season in their opener, but I expect a bigger gap in the score this season.
Prediction: Indiana 38 Indiana State 21 (1-0)
9/7/13 - Navy
Navy was another out-of-conference opponent the Hoosiers faced last season, and Indiana lost it in a heartbreaker. With the Hoosiers on their home turf this season, I expect them to pull it out.
Prediction: Indiana 35 Navy 31 (2-0)
9/14/13 - Bowling Green
Bowling Green is coming off of a bowl season, and they return 18 of their 22 starters from last year. This game will be a tough test for the Hoosiers, and it could prove to be a solid barometer for the squad a quarter through their season.
Prediction: Indiana 31 Bowling Green 21 (3-0)
9/21/13 - Missouri
Missouri is coming off of their first season in the SEC, and they struggled mightily. The Tigers went 5-7 last season, but struggled with injuries and adjusting to the SEC. I expect the Tigers to be much better this season unless they cannot stay healthy once again.
Prediction: Missouri 38 Indiana 28 (3-1)
10/05/13 - Penn State
The Nittany Lions defied all odds last season by going 8-4. However, they lost quite a bit of experience to graduation. The Nittany Lions will likely have a top defense, but will probably struggle on the offensive end a bit. They will be an interesting match-up for the Hoosiers.
Prediction: Penn State 24 Indiana 21 (3-2)
10/12/13 - @ Michigan State
Indiana will not play their first road game until mid-October when they head to East Lansing to play the Spartans. The Hoosiers went toe-to-toe with the Spartans last season, losing a nail-biter by four points. Michigan State's defense will likely be one of the best in the conference, so just like Penn State, they will be an interesting match for Indiana's potent offense.
Prediction: Michigan State 34 Indiana 28 (3-3)
10/19/13 - @Michigan
The Hoosiers will travel up to Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines, a team they did not play in 2012. Indiana has given Michigan fits for as long as I can remember, and I don't think 2013 will be any different. I think this will be a big upset win for Indiana, and one that can help define their season as a success.
Prediction: Indiana 41 Michigan 34 (4-3)
11/02/13 - Minnesota
The Gophers won just two conference games a season ago, but that was enough to get them a bowl bid. This is IU's homecoming game, and I think the Hoosiers will come out amped up and pull out a victory.
Prediction: Indiana 35 Minnesota 31 (5-3)
11/09/13 - Illinois
Illinois struggled mightily last season, and ended the year with ten defeats, one of which was a 14-point loss to the Hoosiers. I expect more of the same this season, as I think IU runs away with it.
Prediction: Indiana 41 Illinois 21 (6-3)
11/16/13 - @ Wisconsin
Indiana has not fared well against the Badgers in recent years, and until they can prove that their defense can even remotely stop them, I see Wisconsin running away with another.
Prediction: Wisconsin 55 Indiana 35 (6-4)
11/23/13 - @ Ohio State
The Indiana-Ohio State game last season was an odd one, but Ohio State ultimately pulled it out 52-49. Ohio State went undefeated last year, but was ineligible for post-season play. They will be very good yet again, and I think they will beat the Hoosiers at their place.
Prediction: Ohio State 38 Indiana 24 (6-5)
11/30/13 - Purdue
Purdue got the better of the Hoosiers up in West Lafayette last year, but I think a more experienced Hoosiers squad will prevail in their final regular season game of the year.
Prediction: Indiana 41 Purdue 35 (7-5)
Having Indiana tabbed at 7-5 is probably much more generous than what most are giving them. Obviously the big upset game I picked was Michigan, but Indiana has played them well recently. Regardless, a 7-5 regular season would have to be seen as a huge step in the right direction for the Indiana football program. 7-5 would certainly get the Hoosiers a bowl bid, and the town of Bloomington could be buzzing in December not only for basketball, but also football.