The ’14 season took a drastic downward turn when QB Nate Sudfeld was lost to injury. Indiana was 3-2 at the time, and would not win again until the finale hosting Purdue. Indiana never passed for more than 179 yards after his injury, averaging a paltry 90 yards per game! Sudfeld returns, but the team was shredded by graduation this time around. After returning 34 starters the past two seasons (17 on each side), only 10 return for ’15. The goal is a bowl appearance, something the Hoosiers have done just once in the past 22 seasons. Is that realistic?
Let’s give Phil Steele some credit. The documented 50% handicapper with the nine different sets of fictitious Power rankings correctly picked this team to finish 4th in the Big 10 east in ’14 (I picked them 6th). Maryland would love to duplicate that finish in this supremely tough division but there are factors pointing downward. Decent HC Randy Edsall may have his work cut out for him in ’15.
Define full-court press! In basketball that’s easy. It’s also easy in Ann Arbor, and exactly the method used to secure the services of former Wolverine QB Jim Harbaugh. All of a sudden the Big 10 east is becoming quite the power division.
Penn St lost three times as a favorite in ’14, to Northwestern, Maryland and Illinois. Two of those games were at home. My take is that the Nittany Lions were in a transition period. I strongly believe James Franklin is going to do good things here, and his defense is already well ahead of schedule. How long the transition period lasts might be up to very highly touted QB Christian Hackenberg. He looked like a scrub for most of ’14, and not the projected #1 QB in the ’16 draft. The schedule gets a tad tougher but it things improve offensively Penn St could return to the upper echelon of the NCAA ladder sooner rather than later.
Four times in the past five seasons Mich St has won 10 or more regular season games. They are also on a four game bowl win streak, each in upset fashion! 6’4” Connor Cook returns and the senior will look to enhance his NFL resume. Should Ohio St be worried?
Urban Meyer is 38-3 at Ohio St with his lone regular season loss coming in ’14 vs. Virginia Tech. Had this been the BCS era, Ohio St would have still faced Oregon, but in the Rose Bowl, and NOT for the NCAA title. The Buckeyes leapfrogged TCU and Baylor thanks to a bloodletting 59-0 conquest of Wisconsin in the Big 10 title game. The talent level here is as high as it’s ever been. Only one team can derail the Buckeyes from a 2nd straight final four appearance. Read on to see who that team is.
ALL ODDS QUOTED ARE FROM UK BOOKMAKERS, US LINES MAY VARY
Pre-season week 2 NFL Picks– Friday games