Early schedule snapshot: Indiana

February, 9, 2009
2/09/09
11:26
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

After a look at Illinois' near-complete schedule, it's time to examine Indiana, the only other Big Ten team without a finalized 2009 slate. 

Here's what we know at this point about the Hoosiers:

NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 Eastern Kentucky
Sept. 12 Western Michigan
Sept. 19 at Akron
Oct. 10 ??? 

My take: Indiana's nonleague slate lost some flavor after South Florida rescheduled a 2009 trip to Bloomington for 2015 so it could face Florida State in Tallahassee this fall. Then again, the Hoosiers lost to two MAC teams (Ball State and Central Michigan) in 2008 and will have their hands full with Western Michigan and a trip to Akron. Last year's soft slate was set up for Indiana to return to a bowl game, but an easy opening stretch seemed to leave the team poorly prepared for Ball State in Week 3. Eastern Kentucky is a solid FCS program that produced new Purdue head coach Danny Hope and was knocked out of the playoffs last season by eventual national champion Richmond. It would be nice to see Indiana fill its final spot with a BCS program, but it could be tough at this late date. 

BIG TEN SCHEDULE

Sept. 26 at Michigan
Oct. 3 Ohio State
Oct. 17 Illinois
Oct. 24 at Northwestern
Oct. 31 at Iowa
Nov. 7 Wisconsin
Nov. 14 at Penn State
Nov. 21 Purdue 

Byes: Michigan State, Minnesota

My take: The road schedule is simply brutal, and Indiana has dropped eight consecutive games away from Memorial Stadium (7 road, 1 bowl), stretching back to Sept. 29, 2007. Indiana does catch Michigan fairly early on, and if the Wolverines are still finding their way, the Hoosiers could hang around in the Big House. The Hoosiers travel to Happy Valley for the second straight year, and they also visit an improved Iowa team and a Northwestern squad that won't take them lightly after last year's upset in Bloomington. The key is to survive September and October with something to play for and then take advantage of the November home games. 

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