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Opponent watch: Indiana is coming

Wherever the Hoosiers go, weirdness follows.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports


Do we all agree that win was the warmest and fuzziest of the season? Are we also now all terrified about the precipitous drop from the crest of the wave of Good Feeling? Is that just me? That might just be me. It's me.

Damn the man who mentioned Gameday in Minneapolis.


Indiana (4-5, 2-3), Nov. 16

Last week: Indiana 52, Illinois 35

What happened: Every Indiana game has looked exactly same this season. The final is score A LOT to A LITTLE MORE and the Hoosiers are either on one side or the other. Look at the scores of the last six games: 45-28, 44-24, 42-28, 63-47, 42-39, 52-35. It doesn't matter which side of the ledger Indiana is on, there's chaos.

Let's take last week's game against Illinois as a microcosm. Indiana totaled 650 yards of offense to Illinois' 612. Nathan Scheelhaase passed for 450 yards, and it was only the second-most passing yards the Hoosiers have given up to an opposing quarterback this season. The Illini rushed for 167 yards, and that was considered a GOOD job by the Hoosiers' defensive front. Five of their seven AQ opponents this season rushed for at least 248 yards. Navy racked 444. Tire fires think Indiana's defense is bad.

And yet Indiana has won four, chalk-it-up games this season, because the offense is that good. The Hoosiers are ninth in the country in scoring offense, and eighth in yards per game. And it's not like they're putting up garbage points. Indiana ranks sixth in the country in offensive FEI, and 20th in raw offensive efficiency.

Why you should be afraid: Indiana has moved the ball against everybody, even putting up 351 yards against a Michigan State defense that is arguably the best in the country. Playmakers abound, and Kevin Wilson knows how to use them.

Why you shouldn't: Cripes the defense is bad. Also, Wisconsin has obliterated Indiana in every outing since 2002. Last year's Indiana offense was well-regarded too (albeit not as highly) and Wisconsin held them to seven points.

Hubris: 60-something to 30-something has sounded right all season. This game is going to be weird. You're not going to know whether you liked it.

@ Minnesota (8-2, 4-2), Nov. 23

This week: BYE

Last week: Minnesota 24, Penn State 10

What happened: We have to stop saying "oh how cute" and reconcile the fact that Minnesota might be a good team. When the wins start feeling routine, you know you've arrived. The Gophers swiftly checked "beat Penn State off their to-do list Saturday, then went about their weekend.

The Gopher never trailed, and suffocated Penn State's defense with three drives that ate at least 6:40 off the clock for a 35:28-24:32 TOP advantage. Penn State's offense gained 353 total yards, but turned the ball over twice (once on the Minnesota goal line) and was a putrid 1-for-9 on third downs.

Standouts from the game were tight end Maxx Williams, who had a 24-yard game-sealing touchdown reception, and David Cobb, who had 139 yards and a touchdown rushing on 27 carries.

Why you should be afraid: Minnesota's feeling good, they're playing at home, and I guess Gameday might be there. Also, someone gave the Gophers A GODDAMN BYE before they play their biggest rival three weeks before the end of the season.

Why you shouldn't: Stick your finger on a statistical category, any category, and you'll probably find something that Minnesota does mediocre-ly.

They're No. 2 in the conference in penalty yards per game ... so they're a bunch of nice guys I guess. They're also No. 3 in time average time of possession ... directly behind the Badgers.

Hubris: Who the hell wants this to be a rivalry again? Wisconsin checks Minnesota off it's to-do list to seal the decade of dominance. HATEHATEHATEHATEHATE.

Penn State (5-4, 2-3), Nov. 30

This week: Purdue

Last week: Minnesota 24, Penn State 10

What happened: After playing the most unwatchable 43-40 game of all time four weeks ago, Penn State and Michigan quit the football business. In lieu of players, animatronic replicas have been placed on the field. Most agree that replicas are quite pleasant, especially the models representing Michigan's offensive line, which have been commandeered from Chuck-E-Cheese and will sing Happy Birthday if they see eight men in the box.

Allen Robinson is still his fleshy self, and robo-Hackenberg has been programmed to look for him on his first and second read. The third read is a piercing 10-second scream before checking down to the nearest warm object weighing between 210 and 250 pounds.

Why you should be afraid: Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak recently received software updates.

Why you shouldn't: They're still waiting on the short yardage patch release.

Hubris: Is it unfair to say that Penn State ranks in the bottom half of the teams Wisconsin will have played this season?


UMass (1-8, 1-4)

Bye! Glorious bye!

Tennessee Tech (4-7, 1-6)

The Golden Eagles won a game! Against a conference opponent, to boot! If Wisconsin played in the FCS, this would surely help their strength of schedule to make the BCS equivalent in an alternate universe where the FCS is also controlled by a glad-handing, fancy-jacketed bowl cartel.

Arizona State (7-2, 5-1)

Arizona State beat Utah, which may actually, in this universe, help Wisconsin immensely in the BCS picture. The Sun Devils control their own destiny to the Pac-12 title game, with games against Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona left.

Purdue (1-8, 0-5)

Lost 38-14 to Iowa. It was gross.

Ohio State (9-0, 5-0)


Northwestern (4-5, 0-5)

Northwestern took the most necessary bye week in the history of college football.

Illinois (3-6, 0-5)

Put up pretty offensive numbers, but not as pretty as Indiana's.

Iowa (6-4, 3-3)

Took respite in a 318-yard rushing performance against the Boilermakers. With cratered Michigan and Nebraska teams left, Iowa has a good shot at finishing 8-4.

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