Who? Duke Blue Devils (7-5, #74 S&P+) v. Indiana Hoosiers (6-6, #62 S&P+)
When? Saturday, 12/26, 3:30 PM, Yankee Stadium, New York City
Channel? ABC / WatchESPN
Vegas? INDIANA -2
OUR GAME PREVIEW
The Indiana Hoosiers are playing in a bowl game! After going 4-0 in non-conference play, the Hoosiers suffered six straight defeats, five of them to teams in the top-35 of S&P+ (three in the top ten!) to send them to the brink of elimination for bowl consideration before taking advantage of the schedule softening up and dispatching of Maryland and the hapless Purdue Boilermakers, both away from Memorial Stadium. When it was all said and done, outside of an absolute meltdown against Rutgers, the Hoosiers avoided disaster in games they should win and looked competitive against teams that typically blow them out.
Typical Indiana teams probably don't beat Western Kentucky (who finished 11th in the S&P+, by the way) or would fold up after going down 21-3 against Maryland on the road. But this Hoosiers team has started to show the kind of resilience and raw talent needed to win enough games to qualify for the postseason. Sure, there's a lot of scenarios where you talk yourself into seven, eight, or even nine wins for Indiana, and they certainly let a few wins slip away. But they've progressed enough to the point where letting the Michigans and Ohio States get away didn't prevent them from achieving Indiana's annual goal: Play 13.
Indiana has a run-first offense this year, and opponents tend to attack Duke on the ground.
Duke has a pass-first offense, and opponents tend to attack Indiana through the air.
This screams shootout potential, and one of the things that could tip this game in one direction or the other is which defense can more effectively move the opposing offense out of its comfort zone. That means forcing Nate Sudfeld to beat a still-solid Duke secondary. That means forcing the ground combination of Sirk and Shaq Powell to shoulder as many blows as possible. In theory, neither defense might succeed, but if one does, that team will likely take the game.
SHUTDOWN FULLCAST PINSTRIPE BOWL PREVIEW
In which Spencer Hall & Jason Kirk attempt to get Holly Anderson to guess the teams playing in the Pinstripe Bowl, and Holly begins HOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLERIN' at the thought of Indiana-Duke. Embrace the #CHAOSTEAM.
OTHER FUN LINKS
- John Mellencamp's son, Hud, the former home-school junior boxer from Bloomington, is a senior cornerback for Duke -- and our pal Mike Miller at The Herald-Times wrote about it! That's cool! He, along with his brother, also brutally beat the hell out of some kid in Bloomington a few years back! That's not!
DON FISCHER & BUCK SUHR & JOE SMITH LIVE FROM NEW YORK
Kyle Swick: Indiana 55, Duke 31.
Thomas Wachtel: Indiana 48, Duke 45.
Ben Raphel: Indiana 49, Duke 38
David Siegel: Duke 45, Indiana 35
Kyle Robbins: This might sound stupid, but -- I'm not totally sure this game will be all that close. Hold on, hold on, hold on. But so much of bowl games are who's up for it, who's not. This Indiana team's never been. Duke's been to four straight. Indiana's trending upward at the end of the season -- and has played well despite losses in big games all season long. Duke, uh, hasn't. Indiana went 1-3 versus the S&P Top 11 -- including two losses on the final play of regulation and another fourth quarter loss against Michigan State. Duke only played three contests against the S&P Top 50 all season (#30 North Carolina, #40 Pitt, #50 Miami) -- and lost all three games by a total of 56 points. If Indiana's offense wasn't too caught up with the christmas vacation, it might be ripe for the Hoosiers to roll on Saturday. Indiana 55, Duke 31.