IU Insider Blog: So hard to predict

Indiana needs three wins in the last five games to get bowl eligible for just the second time in the last 20 years. But it's just so hard to predict what to expect from this IU team from one week to the next.

We are seven games into the 2013 football season with November arriving this weekend.

And we still don't really know what to expect from this Indiana football team.

Sure, we expect that Indiana will score a ton of points on Saturday. If there has been one consistent point with this Indiana team, it's that IU can score points.

But we also know that they're going to give up a ton, too. That's the other certainty.

So that much is a given. But as far as whether this is an Indiana football team capable of winning three of its last five games to get bowl eligible, I don't know how anyone could really know for sure.

Obviously, Saturday is the big one. Beat Minnesota and you keep the hope alive. You move to an even 4-4 on the regular season with four games to play and two of those are home games against Illinois and Purdue. At that point, I would think bowl eligibility would look a lot more promising.

But why would anyone think this Indiana football team will go out and knock off Minnesota?

Minnesota is coming off a victory last week over Nebraska, a win that got the Golden Gophers bowl eligible themselves. I would certainly think momentum would be on Minnesota's side against the Hoosiers.

IU, on the other hand, had a week off to think about the Gophers and all that went wrong the past two weeks against Michigan State and Michigan.

Now for the curious statistic of the week: Las Vegas had Indiana starting the week as an 8 ½ point favorite. What do they know that I don't?

I've covered this program for 16 years and I don't know why Indiana would necessarily be a favorite this week. You don't even know for certain if it's going to be Nate Sudfeld or Tre Roberson running the show. And we're seven games into the season.

But as we always know with Indiana football it's not about the offense any way. The offense will get its points.

It keeps coming back to beating that dead horse. It's the same themes over and over every week. It all comes down to the defense. The Hoosiers have to stop the run, they have to get the Gophers off the field on third down and give the offense more opportunities to score the football.

The one thing I have the most trouble with though is the simple fact that Indiana is giving up 500 yards of offense and 40 points per game. And somehow, this team could still get bowl eligible if it were to win its final three home games.

To me, that's mind-boggling.

Perhaps on Sunday we can all but put this bowl talk to rest. Or on the flip side, perhaps by Sunday the volume on that talk will be beginning to increase.

I just wish that seven games into the season I had a more confident feel as to how this team will fare come Saturday afternoon.

But I don't.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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