Was Indiana Football A One-Hit-Wonder In 2020?

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Fans of Indiana football had seen their team become better in recent years, but last year’s team was something else. It was competitive and had a real shot at winning the Big Ten. But as the 2021 season draws near, fans are likely wondering one thing.

Are the Hoosiers a one-hit-wonder? Was last season an anomaly, or will the team be just as competitive this season?

Michael Penix Jr. looked like a star in the making before going down with a knee injury. The defense was solid (19th in scoring) and has much of last year’s squad returning. The only real question is whether the team can take the next step in 2021.

Can they go from being the surprise team that few saw coming to one that still wins despite the element of surprise being no more? Will they be worth betting on in 2021?

2021 Indiana Football OddsBetRiversDraftKingsPointsBet
National Championship+10000+10000+10000
Big Ten+1600+1600N/A
Big Ten--East Division+1000+1000N/A
Heisman--Michael Penix Jr.+10000+10000+8000

Previewing The 2021 Indiana Football Team

With so many people off last year’s squad coming back, the expectations should be high for Indiana in 2021. Michael Penix Jr. will be back and with four of his five offensive linemen coming back. While Ty Fryfogle is back, Whop Philyor and running back Stevie Scott have moved on to the NFL.

The trick for the Hoosiers on offense will be how the running back competition pans out and if Penix Jr. can look as good as he did prior to his knee injury. However, even if Penix does not lose a step, the offense will need to take a big step forward as a whole.

Last season they ranked 94th in total offense, 114th running the ball, and 59th in scoring. If the Hoosiers are going to remain competitive and possibly win their division or the Big Ten, the offense needs to be better.

On the defensive side of the ball, most of last season’s good unit is back, but they did lose one crucial component—their defensive coordinator. Kane Wommack is now the head coach at South Alabama, but Tom Allen did not have to go far to find a new one—last year’s linebackers coach, Charlton Warren.

If Warren can keep the defense from taking a step back, then his first year as a defensive coordinator will be a success.

But maintaining the status quo may not be enough to be competitive in the Big Ten in 2021. Ohio State will be one of the best teams in the country again. Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State will be a lot better than they were in 2021.

With a tough non-conference slate to start the season (@Iowa and vs. Cincinnati), if they stumble out of the gate and lose confidence, they could be in trouble. They will need to be clicking on all cylinders with Penn State, Michigan State, and Ohio State to start their Big Ten schedule.

Sports Betting Recommendations

Were the Hoosiers a one-hit-wonder? Will Indiana come back down to Earth in the 2021 season and remember they are supposed to be a basketball school? Ummm– no.

Assuming Penix Jr. does not take a step back, the offense should be better than it was last season. As for the defense, it should at least be as good as it was. That should be enough to keep the Hoosiers competitive in 2021.

But are they worth betting on outside of games where they have a favorable matchup? Eh—maybe.

Whether or not they even enter the outskirts of the national title conversation will depend on whether they can take care of business against a good Iowa team to start the season and then against a good Cincinnati team in Week Three.

If Penix Jr. can hit the ground running against Iowa, they stand a chance. But they will need the defense to be on its toes against Cincinnati. However, even if they do sneak into the backend of a few national title conversations, whether they remain will depend entirely on how they do against Ohio State.

Whether they can win the division or the Big Ten will hinge on beating the Buckeyes. While Ohio State will need to find a few new superstars this season, that does not necessarily mean the door will be open for Indiana or anyone else in the Big Ten.

Should they beat Ohio State, they will win the division. Of course, they probably will not beat Ohio State, but they will win the East if they do. As for the conference, if they make it to the title game, chances are they will be the favorite to win it.

It is hard seeing them take down Ohio State, though. 

However, since they were competitive with the Buckeyes last year, there is a chance the Hoosiers might take down Ohio State. With the odds being what they are, it might be worth skipping your morning latte for a week and putting a few bucks down on the Hoosiers to win their division and the conference.

But just a few.

As for the national title picture, do not waste your money betting on them. Even if Indiana wins the Big Ten, it is hard to see them competing with the likes of Alabama, Clemson, or Oklahoma.

However, at +10000, put a few bucks down on Michael Penix Jr. to win the Heisman. Whether he wins will hinge on beating Ohio State. Should that happen, you will be happy you put $10 down on +10000 odds.

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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