It's 92 days until the 2016 college football season, which means an assortment of things.
1. We're a couple weeks away from the dog days of the sports calendar.
2. There's, like, no news about anything, ever.
3. VEGAS FUTURE BETS, BABE.
Today, VegasInsider.com and the South Point sports book released everyone's favorite offseason speculative bet: win totals. And Vegas isn't particularly high on the Hoosiers in 2016.
Despite coming off the Hoosiers' first bowl trip since 2007, the books set the over/under for Kevin Wilson's team at 4.5 for the 2016 season. That's right on par with Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, and Purdue -- yes, Purdue -- for the lowest totals in the Big Ten. You can't fault those that don't follow the program for having low expectations, most nationally expect Indiana to backslide after losing the leading passer in school history, an All-American offensive tackle, and very possibly the Chicago Bears' starting running back to the NFL. If taking a cursory look at Indiana's record last year, the departures, and defensive deficiencies of last year's team -- it's a fine number. It's fine.
Michigan is tops in the Big Ten, projected for 10 wins by the books. Ohio State's betting expectations are just a half-game behind at 9.5, with Iowa and Nebraska in a tie for 3rd-best with 8.5 projected wins.
Okay, so should I bet the over or the under on Indiana?
Eh. That's hard to tell in the middle of the summer. Making a projection on Indiana's season before fall camp seems almost nearly pointless. The Hoosiers face uncertainty at the most important position on the field -- and the season's successes or failures will almost assuredly be predicated on the quarterback position. Fan & blog favorite Zander Diamont had Indiana five yards away from pulling off a massive upset in one of the best games of the 2015 season, but is he healthy enough and has he progressed enough as a passer to be Indiana's top option? Richard Lagow seemingly has all the physical tools with his size and arm strength -- but he's coming off a 3-win JUCO season. Danny Cameron is a presumably sentient human with an arm. Some people like Austin King. He's a redshirt freshman. There is still time for even you to enroll and try your hand at playing quarterback for Indiana University in 2016, presumably you are talented enough to do so, have remaining eligibility, and have not been compensated fair market value for said talents at any point. I have no idea who will play quarterback for Indiana in 2016. Kevin Wilson probably doesn't either. That's enough reason to at least hold off on your bets until, like, August.
The upshot is that Indiana's still really good -- or even better -- at every other offensive position. Indiana will replace a 1,000 yard rusher in 2015 with a 1,000 yard rusher in 2015. All-American Dan Feeney is still here to eat dudes up front, and 2016 will probably be Dimitric Camiel's breakout season in filling in for Jason Spriggs. Oh, and the receiving corps? Camion Patrick and J-Shun Harris should return from ACL injuries to meet up with Simmie Cobbs, Ricky Jones, and Mitchell Paige and possibly form the Big Ten's best. Pair that with a defense that's another year older and looked much better under Tom Allen in spring camp and Indiana's better than or as good as 2015 at every single position but quarterback.
The schedule's favorable, too -- despite the flip to a 9 game Big Ten schedule. Indiana should be favored over FIU, Ball State, and Wake Forest to start the season and Purdue in Bloomington to finish it. That's four wins already if those go as planned, leaving Wilson & Co.'s season to be defined by a five game mid-season stretch against Nebraska, Penn State, and Maryland at home and Northwestern and Rutgers on the road. None of those teams (especially the latter four) are expected to be anything more than middling Big Ten teams in 2016 and grabbing just one out of that five-game stretch would give the Hoosiers the over. Two would send them back to a bowl game.
If the quarterback play doesn't suck out loud, five wins shouldn't be a problem. But you might wait a few more weeks to juuuuuust make certain that won't be the case.