We've reached the halfway point and we're coming to the end.
In this space, we will continue our series in previewing (and ranking) Michigan's 12 opponents for the upcoming campaign. To kick things off, Hawaii was the topic and we've moved from there to examine Central Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Maryland and Rutgers. In this seventh edition, we will be taking on the Indiana Hoosiers, who gave Michigan a real scare in 2015.
The Hoosiers finished with a losing record at 6-7, but the 13th game came in a bowl and that is a good sign. Indiana's offense was lights-out, including a 41-point outburst against Michigan in a one-score loss, and the defense was, well, not so good. Still, this was a dangerous team on a weekly basis and that is a pleasant change for fans in Bloomington.
What to expect in 2016
Once again, we know Indiana will be able to score and we don't know if they can stop anyone. Kevin Wilson's team will be replacing Nate Sudfeld at quarterback, but most of the offense returns aside from that, even with the caveat that replacing dynamic RB Jordan Howard won't be a foregone conclusion. On defense, this was a group that didn't crack the top-100 (!) nationally last year, so improvement should come, but the returning members of the secondary and linebacking corps will have pressure on them with an entirely new defensive line.
A few major projection systems still make the Wolverines a 17-point favorite or better in this spot, and that is probably indicative of the talent disparity. Still, Indiana is (very) volatile with that dynamic offense, and this is something of a scary game for the Wolverines. It does take place in Ann Arbor in the home finale, but with Ohio State looming the following week, this could also be a spot where Michigan overlooks Indiana. That wouldn't be a good idea, but Jim Harbaugh's group should prevail.
Stay tuned as the preseason opponent countdown continues.
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