Hoosier Bowl Projections 2016

It’s week 11 in college football and the Indiana Hoosiers have three more opportunities to become bowl eligible for the second straight season. Sitting at 5-4, their last three games include, Penn State, Michigan and rival, Purdue. Many projections have the Hoosiers winning one of their last three games to make it to the postseason. Here are the possible destinations:

ESPN

Mark Schlabach: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Eastern Michigan on Dec. 26 in Detroit, Michigan

This isn’t  exactly what the Hoosiers are hoping for come bowl season. The Quick Lane Bowl is the lowest bowl on the totem pole for Big Ten teams. It is exclusively reserved for the lowest ranked team in the Big Ten that qualifies for a bowl game. Also going up to Detroit to play a MAC team isn’t the ideal challenging opponent Indiana is looking forward to. Its especially hard to see players get hyped up to travel to Detroit to play a team like Eastern Michigan from the MAC. IU deserves better than this.

Brett McMurphy: Foster Farms Bowl vs. USC on Dec. 28 in Santa Clara, California

Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. reacts before the Foster Farms bowl trophy is presented. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

This is what we’re looking for right here. Going to a warmer climate during the cold months in the Midwest is how to spend bowl season. In terms of tiers, the Foster Farms bowl is a level up from the Quick Lane and the opponent follows. USC is historically known as a football powerhouse and they’re slowing getting back to that level. In the AP top 25 poll they are the next team receiving votes, therefore they are unofficially ranked 26 in the nation. The location is perfect and the opponent will be a challenge and should present itself for an intriguing match-up.

CBS Sports

Jerry Palm: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Washington State on Dec. 28 in Santa Clara, California

Same bowl game projection as McMurphy here but the opponent is slightly different with Washington State. The Cougars are surging right now, they have raddled off seven straight wins after starting the season 0-2. They are ranked No. 23 in both the AP poll and the College Football Playoff rankings. Washington State is very similar to Indiana of last year, an offense that can run with the best in the country but an inept defense. If this match-up happens, it will for sure be a shootout. If the Cougars continue to win like they have been, they will play themselves into a more prestigious bowl game than the Foster Farms bowl.

Campus Insiders

Dave Miller: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Georgia Tech on Dec. 26 in Detroit

Minnesota Golden Gophers hold up the trophy after winning the Quick Lane Bowl.Mandatory Credit: Sage Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The same bottom tier bowl game, but the opponent is more intriguing than Eastern Michigan. Georgia Tech presents teams with challenges because they run the option and that’s not seen much anymore in college football other than the military academies. I could easily see the Hoosiers getting more excited to play Georgia Tech than a lowly MAC team. This would be a challenging opponent for Indiana that hasn’t seen the option offense at any point in the past years. Other sites such as Fox Sports and College Sports Madness also have IU slated in Quick Lane bowl.

Sports Illustrated

Colin Becht: Foster Farms Bowl vs. USC on Dec. 28 in Santa Clara, California

This is the same exact bowl game and opponent predicted as McMurphy. While there still are a few more weeks left in the season, this one is looking the most likely at this point in the season. Other sites such as Bleacher Report and College Football News also both have Indiana slated for the Foster Farms bowl, making it the most popular projection.

SB Nation

Jason Kirk: Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl vs. South Carolina on Dec. 30 in Nashville

Music City Bowl logo between Texas A&M and Louisville. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

This would be a great accomplishment for Indiana if there were to be selected here. They would be able to go up against an SEC team and see why everybody appoints them as the best conference in college football. No matter what SEC opponent they would face it would sure be a step up from many of the other programs they are projected to face. However, all of the other predictions have Iowa slated in the Music City Bowl, possibly referencing that this is the most unlikely of the destinations. Yet, this would be an ideal situation for IU if they were selected.

 Bottom Line

Indiana needs one more victory to seal its postseason opportunity for the second straight season, the last time the Hoosiers accomplished this was 2007. It all starts this weekend when No. 10 Penn State rolls into town riding their blowout win over Iowa.

Its going to be a big one for IU, its a noon kickoff and the game will be nationally televised on ABC. The kickoff time is the earliest Indiana has had this season at home as most of their games fall on the 3:30 pm slate. Despite the early kick, hopefully students and fans see the importance of this game and show up in masses to Memorial Stadium.

Indiana’s attendance at its last home game against Maryland was the lowest home attendance they have had all year by more than 3,000 fans.

I realize basketball season is finally here and this is the point in the season where Hoosier fans stop paying attention to IU football. This shouldn’t be the case, we have a top 10 team coming to Bloomington this weekend and IU is playing for a bowl game. Show up to the game and cheer on IU football.

We will continue to update these bowl projections as the season nears to the end and bowl match-ups are finalized.

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