Ed note: Our 2016 Indiana football season preview rolls on today with everyone's favorite portion of the fortnight... our yearly predictions post. Here is every Indiana football game, projected, analyzed, and vomited upon by every very dumb member of this staff. I refuse to write any sort of lede for this because it's like almost midnight and I've written a bunch of stuff about golf and my back hurts and I just really wanna go to bed and you're not even reading this anymore anyway. I could write whatever I want here because you're already skimming this part. Harambe is dead and in hell where he belongs. See, you didn't even notice that because you're already reading the previous about the Wake Forest game.
Okay, let's get to the picks.
Game 1: at Florida International University
ALEX ROBBINS: A year ago, this game would've scared me because Indiana still hadn't proven that it could beat the teams their supposed to beat, even if they have to do it the way they did against Southern Illinois. This year, it scares me because the quarterback position is an unknown, unless Zander Diamont is back there, in which case it's just frightening. But I'm going to give the Hoosier defense the benefit of the doubt here. They'll be better this year. Hoosiers get a nice road win to start the season. 24-10, Indiana.
BEN RAPHEL: Indiana, 32-26. Closer than expected road win. Kevin Wilson sings along to Will Smith’s “Miami” in the locker room during the postgame victory celebration.
BRIAN FOX: Ron Turner makes Ron Zook look like a competent coach. IU by double digits.
DAVID SIEGEL: Besides being involved in The Fight, the only thing I know about the FIU program is that this kid I hated in college played for them for two years before getting kicked off the team and transferring to IU. The school is now synonymous with generally awful human beings for me (sorry, Mrs. Swick), so Indiana better win big. IU 42-20.
JACOB RUDE: Nothing gets anyone more excited for college football than a Thursday night game on ESPNU against Florida International! I’m not going to pretend to know anything about FIU football other than Ron Turner being the coach and the team being bad. Nothing changing here. IU 40, FIU 21.
KYLE SWICK: Season openers have been dicey in the Kevin Wilson era. Last season was nearly derailed before it really got started when FCS Southern Illinois fell two yards short of knocking off the Hoosiers in Bloomington. This year, Indiana takes their show on the road to Parking Garage U and FIU Stadium, where several people will be present. Thursday night in Sweetwater is always a tricky event, as I’m sure some Conference USA teams have said at some point maybe. It’s a tougher task than an FCS opponent at home, but if Indiana wants to make a bowl game that absolutely can’t drop this game. Hoosiers over Panthers, 38-17.
THOMAS WACHTEL: We beat them last year, so I feel like I’m safe in assuming we’ll beat them again. Nothing’s changed with the team, right? also, R O N T U R N E R. IU, 31-17.
KYLE ROBBINS: It’s a season opener on Thursday on the road with a new quarterback. Don’t you dare think about touching that spread in this game. IU 28, FIU 24.
Game 2: Ball State Cardinals
KYLE SWICK: Ball State has been a thorn in the Hoosiers’ side for far too long. One of my most vivid Indiana football memories is getting completely dismantled by the Cardinals in Memorial Stadium and then sitting in traffic for 45 minutes just to get out of the parking lot while every single one of the seventy-two Ball State fans in attendance walked past my car screaming CHIRP CHIRP. Kevin Wilson has done so many great things for this program, the next bugaboo the Hoosiers need to knock off is losing to teams worse than them at home. I think they finally do that this year or else I’m gonna be texted CHIRP CHIRP fifteen times and then do a murder. Hoosiers over Cardinals, 31-27.
JACOB RUDE: Nothing gets me more excited for college football than a Saturday afternoon game on ESPN News! Ball State fans like to chirp about beating IU football, but they still voluntarily live in Muncie so who actually wins here? IU 35, Ball State 17.
BEN RAPHEL: The losing streak against Ball State is snapped and Tom Allen is lauded after the Hoosier defense successfully holds opponents to under 30 points two weeks in a row. IU, 43-29.
BRIAN FOX: Ball State is coming off a 3-9 year and probably won’t be much improved. So this has to be the season IU finally beats the Cardinals, right? Indiana wins 40-24. I have zero confidence in this pick.
IU 69 - Ball State 7
ALEX ROBBINS: Other than Purdue, there is no game I want Indiana to win more than this one. Purdue fans like to talk about reversible jackets while ignoring their own technicolor dreamcoats that turn the primary color of whatever team is playing the Hoosiers. And if I have to hear one more Purdue fan say "chirp chirp" like a damn bird, I'm gonna lose it. Anyway, this time the Cards don't have a shot. Hoosiers win, 41-17.
THOMAS WACHTEL: More like BaLOL State, am I right? folk’s, IU, 420-69.
KYLE ROBBINS: Okay, guess I’m gonna have to actually say some things at Ball State here. Pete Lembo -- who was a pretty good coach! — is gone now and left to be a dang assistant at Maryland. That’s probably not good! Former Ball State star Quarterback Mike Neu is here to run the program now after spending most of his career plying his trade in the arena league. The Cards went 3-9 last year, Lembo didn’t recruit particularly well, and there should be growing pains for Neu in Year 1. There’s some pieces on offense, but overall Indiana’s just far too talented for this to be close. Indiana 56, Ball State 21.
Game 3: Wake Forest Demon Deacons
BEN RAPHEL: Sure, Trap Queen came out a year and a half ago, but I’m still going to sing “I’m like hey what’s up hello” every time I see that 17-38 is the final score of a football game. Indiana, 38-17.
ALEX ROBBINS: Did you see this game last year? Indiana should have won by 30 on the road, was in a dogfight at the end, and still found a way, even while sputtering out of control, to win on the road. That's how bad Wake Forest football is. Not even this being a trap game with Sparty looming is enough for the Marlboro men to win at The Rock. IU gets to 3-0, 31-21.
DAVID SIEGEL: I often wish the science in the Eternal Sunshine movie were real so I could simply rid myself of traumatic memories, like failed relationships, misguided professional choices, and the Maui tournament last November.
Anyway, the obviously superior Indiana will struggle to set a tone and Wake will slowly gain confidence and win in an enraging way late in the 4th. Sound familiar? Wake 33-IU 31.
KYLE SWICK: Wake Forest is traaaaaaaaaash. I think this is the easiest game on the schedule and it’s a dang Power 5 matchup. Hoosiers over Demon Deacons, 42-14.
JACOB RUDE: What is a Demon Deacon? Isn’t that just a big oxymoron? Who thought that name up and thought “This is a great school nickname. Lets roll with it!” and why did no one stop them? Wake Forest 17, IU 38.
BRIAN FOX: This will probably be a frustratingly close game, just like last year. Devine Redding will run all over the Demon Deacons in the first half, Indiana will get out to a big lead, but will almost give it away before holding on.
KYLE ROBBINS: Dave Clawson’s reconstruction at the Power 5’s smallest university by far hasn’t been easy, but there are signs of incremental progress. Problem is, there’s still not a ton of talent being added to an offense that sputtered last year and they’re more than vulnerable in the secondary. That’s not a good mix to play Kevin Wilson Pointsball. Indiana 38, Wake Forest 27.
Game 4: Michigan State Spartans
BEN RAPHEL: Hoosiers play their best game of the year under the lights and take the lead with 5 minutes to go, but a late Sparty rally gives MSU the victory. Tyler O’Connor has his best statistical game of his career. MSU, 46-42.
BRIAN FOX: Tyler O’Connor and the Spartans give IU a warm welcome to Big Ten play by mollywhopping the Hoosiers. In his postgame press conference Kevin Wilson will stay positive and commend roughly 50 players who had a good week of practice.
ALEX ROBBINS: This is the one I am struggling with the most. After The Only Colors couldn't take the joke about why you should hate them, I want the Spittoon back and for Tegray Scales to knock the mayo out of their starting jar of quarterback. And a 5:00 p.m. start time is just sleepy enough to make me think Indiana can beat a team they shouldn't. But then I think, "It's Indiana." But as we all learned a long time ago, you've got to be more heart than brains to be an Indiana football fan. Gimme the Hoosiers to get to 4-0. 37-35.
JACOB RUDE: Last year, the Hoosiers started 3-0 and we
stole the idea from Dan Dakich to campaign, er, campaigned to bring College Gameday This year, the same outcome is likely, this time with MSU instead of Ohio State. In order to avoid a silly game of “I said it first” with the aforementioned radio host, I hereby re-launch #iufb4gameday. MSU 28, IU 17.
DAVID SIEGEL: Now that we’re feuding with the Spartans, this game takes on more significance. Also Kris Wilkes, the biggest local IU basketball recruit since Cody Zeller, will be in attendance. The atmosphere will be electric.
That is until MSU methodically drives down the field every possession with 4 yard carries and short out patterns, sucking the life out of not only the IU team, but every single person in a 5 mile radius of Memorial Stadium. Michigan State 31-20.
KYLE SWICK: Indiana fell just short of knocking off #1 Ohio State in the conference opener last season and have been knocking on the door of a big conference upset for what seems like Kevin Wilson’s entire tenure. A prime time date in Bloomington is just as good of a time as any and, like any big game, it is probably going to involve a Zander Diamont rushing touchdown. Hoosiers over Spartans, 29-28.
KYLE ROBBINS: DON’T THINK MICHIGAN STATE WILL BE VERY GOOD AND INDIANA MIGHT BE 3-0 BY THIS POINT AND THIS WILL BE A NIGHT GAME AND NOPE NO WAY NOT TAKING THIS BAIT GIVE ME BETA BLOCKERS BEFORE THIS GAME. Michigan State 38, Indiana 30.
Game 5: at THEEEEEEEEEEEE ohio state university
ALEX ROBBINS: This game either comes after a disappointing loss after a 4th quarter letdown or the biggest win since Missouri. Ohio State 42-21.
BRIAN FOX: Ohio State just had the misfortune of suffering through a miserable 12-1 season last year. Kevin Wilson will give the Buckeyes this game to make them feel better.
JACOB RUDE: Considering how rough last year was for Ohio State, I’m inspired by their willingness to field a team again. Throw the curveball and start Zander Diamont. He sliced up that vaunted defense last year. Ohio State 31, IU 20.
DAVID SIEGEL: Party’s over, guys. OSU ain’t forgetting to show up 3 years in a row against Indiana. OSU 55-20.
KYLE SWICK: It appears I’ve predicted the Hoosiers to start 4-0 with a win over Michigan State so Buckeyes over Hoosiers, 49-7.
BEN RAPHEL: With LeBron James in attendance, the Buckeyes needlessly run up the score in the fourth quarter to put the Hoosiers away. Kevin Wilson throws his headset down in anger, reminding the crowd of how Steph Curry threw his mouthguard into the stands as the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals back in June. OSU, 50-22
THOMAS WACHTEL: I dunno, maybe Zander will save us again, only like, all the way this time. Probably not. More blood. Buckeyes, 45-20.
KYLE ROBBINS: It’s Ohio State-Indiana -- which used to mean 40-something to 3-something, but now means 2.75 quarters of competitive football and then 1.25 of quarters apoplectic internet rage. Ohio State 41, Indiana 32.
Game 6: Nebraska Cornhuskers
KYLE SWICK: This is a game that a lot of people think the Hoosiers will win and that makes some sense. Nebraska is still feeling their way through the post-Pelini fog and Indiana is theoretically on the upswing. That said, it’s Homecoming, and we all know the Hoosiers have never won a game on Homecoming, per state law. Huskers over Hoosiers, 34-28
DAVID SIEGEL: Games like this, ones against semi-good to good teams that have name clout, are the type that IU needs to win on a consistent basis to become the type of program they are trying to become. Indiana knows this, and will lose because of it. Nebraska 45-20.
ALEX ROBBINS: The Huskers just aren't college football royalty anymore, so it doesn't worry me a bit that Indiana has scheduled them for Homecoming. Nebraska's defense has traded in the blackshirts for mini-skirts in the past few years and the Hoosier offense should be clicking by this point. A nice win on Homecoming gets Kevin Wilson's kids to 5-1 at the halfway point. Indiana 34-27.
THOMAS WACHTEL: They lost to Illinois and Purdue last year, I’m shocked they didn’t get thrown out of the league like we did with Rutger. Indiana, 21-13.
JACOB RUDE: On the topic of bad nicknames, Cornhuskers? Really? You named your school nickname off a summer job? Why not choose Lifeguards or Camp Counselors or Lawn Mowers? Nebraska 28, IU 24.
BEN RAPHEL: The Hoosiers lose a heartbreaker on Homecoming. With IU down 8, Tommy Armstrong throws a late pick, setting the Hoosiers up for one more drive at the end of the game. Richard Lagow finds Simmie Cobbs wide-open for the TD, but the two-point conversion is no good, ending any chance of a comeback. Nebraska, 51-49.
BRIAN FOX: Jordan Westerkamp will have a monster day against IU’s secondary, but Nebraska doesn’t end up ruining IU’s homecoming. Hoosiers beat the one Big Ten team that lost to Purdue last year, 34-28.
KYLE ROBBINS: This is the game with some reallllllllllll stupid potential -- and it might be the one that Changes Some Things at Indiana, if things go right. I think Nebraska’s probably a little better than some — I’ll even go out on a limb and say they’ll be a ranked 5-0 and coming off a bye week heading to Bloomington on October 15. That said, this is a homecoming game for Indiana and the perfect opportunity to get the big one. This is the One where Indiana maybe starts to really turn a corner. Or it’s not. I don’t know. Indiana 33, Nebraska 27.
Game 7: at Northwestern
KYLE SWICK: Oh my god an 11 AM kickoff in Evanston. They should air this game on C-SPAN or something. Indiana Football has played a lot of really stupid games in their recent and extended history, I have a feeling this is going to make the list. Whoever is the starting quarterback at this point probably misses most of this game with an injury, it’ll be about that time of year. Wildcats over Hoosiers, 19-13.
BRIAN FOX: Clayton Thorson has a career day by throwing for 200 yards, Justin Jackson runs the ball approximately 40 times, and the Northwestern fan next to me won’t shut up about how awesome 1995 was. Illinois’ second-favorite Big Ten team wins 14-13.
BEN RAPHEL: The Hoosiers have the lead through three, but the defense runs out of gas late, and the Wildcats win on a last-second field goal. NW, 33-32.
JACOB RUDE: Medill sucks. IU 35, Northwestern 24.
DAVID SIEGEL: See: Nebraska, minus the name clout thing. NW 26-17.
ALEX ROBBINS: This is one of just two defenses in the league that I think could shut down the IU offense. But it's also one of the offenses that I think Indiana's defense can hang with in a low-scoring affair. I think this could go either way, but since it would be for bowl eligibility, I'll give the nod to the Cats. Northwestern wins 20-17.
THOMAS WACHTEL: I’m not sure that I can reliably predict a winner for this game, because you see – I didn’t go to Medill, so I’m not an expert. Northwestern, 35-28.
KYLE ROBBINS: Don’t you dare ask me to pick a 1am sure-to-be BTN game between Indiana and Northwestern. Absolutely not. Get this the hell away from me. I have no idea. Thorson and Lagow both throw for 450 yards a piece before Cthulhu rises from Lake Michigan and swallows everyone in Ryan Field whole. Indiana 27, Northwestern 25.
Game 8: Maryland Terrapins
ALEX ROBBINS: Bowl eligibility comes much earlier than we could ever dream in 2016. And clinching that berth will be oh so sweet at home. It won't feel anything like the win for Hep against Purdue, but it will signal what has been long coming: Indiana football is good football program. Hoosiers roll the Terps, 41-21.
KYLE SWICK: Maryland has a lot of potential and absolutely clowned the Hoosiers during their first trip to Bloomington a couple of years ago. That said, apparent blackmail artist extraordinaire Perry Hills is once again their starting quarterback. Perhaps DJ Durkin saw Jim Harbaugh turn Jake Rudock into a serviceable passer and is just trying to one-up the old boss. Good luck with that. Hoosiers over Terrapins, 35-27.
THOMAS WACHTEL: Oh, the Maryland Fightin’ Crying Jordans! WIN, 49-20
JACOB RUDE: I realize that the word terrapin might be more common on the East Coast, but Maryland essentially named themselves the Maryland Turtles. I can think of few things less terrifying. Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is their mascot? IU 27, Maryland 21.
DAVID SIEGEL: Indiana vs. Maryland. Adidas vs. Under Armour. The Chef Curry 2’s vs. The James Harden Construction Boot. The only winner in this game is lovers of played out jokes. On the field, Indiana realizes its offensive potential in the same way the basketball team seems to do every time Maryland comes to town and wins a shootout. Indiana 48-38.
BEN RAPHEL: After two great performances that unfortunately end in losses, the Hoosiers lay an egg at home to fall to 3-5, bowl hopes look in jeopardy, and the hot seat discussion for Kevin Wilson starts up once again. Fans at Memorial Stadium start to discuss whether the hoops team can repeat as B1G champs. Maryland, 34-18.
BRIAN FOX: This Will Likely be an Indiana win. 35-20 Hoosiers.
KYLE ROBBINS: Noted knockoff TJMaxx suit designer Perry Hills can’t throw the ball accurately more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. DJ Durkin will probably make Maryland better on defense in year one. I’m not sure how he helps them, you know, score point. Indiana ends the month of October at 6-2, bowl-eligible, and on a 3-game conference win streak. We’re wayyyyyy too close to the sun, here, buddy. Indiana 34, Maryland 27.
Game 9: at RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY
BRIAN FOX: Much like the top teams in the SEC, IU has scheduled a late-season non-conference game to break up the conference schedule. Despite a rousing pregame speech from honorary captain Chris Christie, the Scarlet Knights come up short.
BEN RAPHEL: yeah sure whatever just win this stupid game i don’t care. Indiana, 69-0.
DAVID SIEGEL: The Hoosiers will lead by 20+ in the 4th, and I will turn the game off and enjoy the rest of my day, because I can’t imagine a scenario in which a clearly inferior team makes up that much ground in such a small amount of time. Indiana 48 - Rutgers 31.
KYLE SWICK: How many times does Rutger have to beat Indiana before I stop picking Indiana to beat them and making a bunch of jokes at their expense? Well … at least three. Hoosiers over Scarlet Knights, 41-24.
THOMAS WACHTEL: I swear to God if we lose to frickin’ Rutger again I’m going to put my head through a wall. Indiana, 55-0.
ALEX ROBBINS: As long as no starters come down with a case of the New Jerseys that Imodium can't fix, Indiana finishes what they started last season and doesn't take their collective foot off the gas in this oddly-timed non-conference game. Hoosiers 48-27.
JACOB RUDE: Why did we schedule a non-conference game in early November? IU 69, Rutger 0.
The Hoosiers will lead by 20+ in the 4th, and I will turn the game off and enjoy the rest of my day, because I can’t imagine a scenario in which a clearly inferior team makes up that much ground in such a small amount of time. Indiana 48 - Rutgers 31.Yeah.
Game 10: Penn State Nittany Lions
BEN RAPHEL: Indiana, 29-12. The Hoosier defense gives up just four field goals all day in their best performance of the year, moving them back up to 5-5 with two games left.
BRIAN FOX: Penn State will end up missing Christian Hackenberg, which is a statement I never thought I’d type. The typical defensive slog between these two teams will feature a lot of punts. Joseph Gedeon scores the lone TD of the game on a fake punt but IU loses 9-7.
DAVID SIEGEL: Had to look up who the Nittany Lions’ QB will be, and was delighted to find that the heir apparent to universally-agreed-upon-all-time-great Christian Hackenberg is some guy named Trace McSorley. Trace. McSorley. It sounds like the name of a bit character in a hack TV show that was formulated by a robot whose job is to name millennials, but has never actually met a human. No way IU loses to a Trace McSorley. Indiana 27, PSU 23.
JACOB RUDE: I once sat through a Penn State-IU game. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Penn State 7, IU 6.
KYLE SWICK: Another game that a lot of people feel reasonably confident in the Hoosiers prevailing. But as the old adage goes, if you’re going to pick Indiana to pull a massive upset, you need to offset it with a couple head-scratching losses and the Hoosiers completely no-showing at home against the Nittany Lions will probably qualify. Nittany Lions over Hoosiers, 31-14.
THOMAS WACHTEL: [REDACTED DUE TO ONGOING LEGAL PROCESS]. Penn State, 28-10.
KYLE ROBBINS: PUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNT. Just kidding. Indiana’s beaten Penn State at home before in recent memory, I’m still not sold on the Nits being any good this year. but oh god i’m about to pick indiana to win eight games oh god oh my god. Penn State 24, Indiana 21.
Game 11, at The University of Michigan
ALEX ROBBINS: I would love nothing more than for the clock to be ticking down at the Big House and a camera to pan over Jim Harbaugh with a brown stain on the back of his khakis as Kevin Wilson is firing up some victory bacon on the visitor's sideline. But I'm a little too realistic about this season -- not that the Hoosiers can't beat Michigan -- and I've already picked IU to win too many games with one more to come. Wolverines break our hearts again. Michigan 42, Indiana 39.
BEN RAPHEL: Indiana once again puts up a great effort in the Big House, only to see a final drive come up short as the game ends. Michigan wins the B1G title and loses to Bama 39-0 in the CFP semis, which greatly amuses MSU fans. Michigan, 36-29.
DAVID SIEGEL: No matter the outcome, whatever is written here will be screenshotted by 54 Michigan Men and spit back to us after the game to explain exactly how we were factually incorrect in our predictions. CANT WAIT. On that note, I really don't think Michigan is nearly as good as they think they are, and Tom Crean finally gets to sit at the adult table at Thanksgiving. Indiana 30-27.
KYLE SWICK: Maybe we’re a trap game being Michigan’s last opponent before Ohio State or maybe they’re just a lot better than us and playing at home so it won’t really matter. Wolverines over Hoosiers, 38-10.
THOMAS WACHTEL: Hopefully Tom Crean will get a few good shots in on Jim Harbaugh in the Bone Pit before the game and he’ll be honor bound to give us one. Otherwise this is probably going to hurt. Michigan, 45-35.
JACOB RUDE: Very excited for Indiana to go into the Big House, battle hard, blow a late lead and half the refs screw us over at least once. Michigan 35, IU 28.
BRIAN FOX: The real highlight of the day is Tom Crean and Jeff Meyer brawling in the stands. Michigan, 38-31.
KYLE ROBBINS: nah, skip
Game 12: Purdue Boilermakers
BEN RAPHEL: Needing a win to get to a bowl, the Hoosiers win their fourth straight Bucket Game, ending Darrell Hazell’s tenure on a lousy note. Indiana, 53-27.
DAVID SIEGEL: It’s a very weird feeling when your team, one that has not won a bowl game in 25 years and only BEEN to two bowl games in the last 20, is looked at as clearly head-and-shoulders above a school that used to be its bitter rival. But that’s life in the state of Indiana in 2016, and the train does not stop now. Hoosiers wrap up the season with a convincing win. IU 30-14.
JACOB RUDE: Reminder that Darrell Hazell recruited Simmie Cobbs to be a defensive back. And yet, Purdue is still actively employing this man. The jokes make themselves. IU 420, Purdue 0.
THOMAS WACHTEL: The moon landing was faked. We’re getting four in a row. Indiana, 52-14.
KYLE SWICK: The Bucket is never going back to West Lafayette. Viva la Burke. Hoosiers over Boilermakers, 55-10.
ALEX ROBBINS: Hoosiers 52, Boilers (don't mess) 17. A nice way to end an 8-4 season.
BRIAN FOX: I really hope Darell Hazell continues to fire both coordinators at the end of each season in an effort to keep his job. Give this man a lifetime contract. Oh, and Indiana keeps the bucket 49-10.
KYLE ROBBINS: Sure, 7-5 sounds fine. I’m tired of writing. Indiana 900, Purdue -2.