Second-half outlook: Indiana

October, 21, 2009
10/21/09
10:20
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Indiana Hoosiers:


Record: 4-3

Remaining schedule: at Northwestern, at Iowa, vs. Wisconsin, at Penn State, vs. Purdue

After a mostly encouraging first half, Indiana finds itself with plenty to play for down the stretch, namely its second bowl appearance since 1993. Two more victories should do the trick and send the Hoosiers bowling for the second time in three years, but it won't be easy. Indiana's schedule gets significantly tougher down the stretch, as the Hoosiers play three teams ranked in the BCS standings plus 4-3 Northwestern. Quarterback Ben Chappell has been solid and wideouts Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher are playmaking threats, but they will need help from a run game that has been extremely inconsistent. Indiana went to the pistol formation to spark its rushing attack, and the time has come for that to happen. Defensively, the Hoosiers need their seniors like end Jammie Kirlew and linebacker Matt Mayberry to continue to step up, though breakdowns remain a problem with the unit.

Best-case scenario: The Hoosiers beat Northwestern and Purdue and pull off an upset in one of their other three games to finish at 7-5. They reach the postseason for the second time in three years after a 14-year drought.

Worst-case scenario: Indiana falls apart and drops its remaining five games. Injuries crop up at key spots and the defense can no longer overcome its shortcomings by forcing turnovers.

Prediction: No bowl.

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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Friday, 12/26
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