How good could Indiana football be?

Indiana has looked good at times and bad at others. What's the ceiling for the Hoosiers this season?

It's been an interesting first five games for the Indiana football team.

The Hoosiers were expected to be better this season. How much better? Well, that depended on who you talked to.

IU brought back key pieces of an offense that was incredibly impressive at times last season. It hired a new defensive coordinator in Brian Knorr that brought a new 3-4 system to Bloomington. The recruiting class was better.

And yet, through five games, it's hard to know what to make of the Hoosiers. They've been disappointing at times (See: Bowling Green, Maryland), making football fans feel like they're the same old IU.

They've been impressive at other times (See: Missouri), and average at others (See: Indiana State).

Add it all up, and the Hoosiers are 3-2 with seven Big Ten games still to play this season.

So where does that leave us? How good can Indiana be?

That's a question I've found myself asking several times during this young season. Some will argue with me, but I don't think IU's performance at Missouri was a fluke. I think the Hoosiers could do it again, and I think we will see another performance like that before this year is over.

The problem for the Hoosiers has become consistency, something that is common among teams not used to winning big games. They put together an outstanding performance against the Tigers, but then looked like they didn't belong on the same field with Maryland.

Indiana is at Iowa for a noon start on Saturday, and the Hawkeyes have played better of late. But it's a game Indiana really needs to win with No. 8 Michigan State coming to town the next week and a trip to the Big House looming.

Saturday will mark Indiana's first road game since its win at Missouri three weeks ago. Will the Hoosiers come out overly confident about their ability to win on the road or will they repeat the solid performance? The answer to that question will go a long way in answering what IU's ceiling is this season.

Personally, I like the elements of this team. The defense is improving and is capable of keeping the Hoosiers in the game long enough to give Nate Sudfeld a chance to win it. To me, it's more important that the offense develop some consistency this week and in the weeks to follow.

Tevin Coleman has been there all season long, but the passing game has come and gone. I'm still not sure Sudfeld has developed a good enough chemistry with his young receiving corps for conference play. I have my doubts about that.

If Sudfeld and the receivers can develop that chemistry and consistency, there are another four wins on the schedule for the Hoosiers. If not, they could narrowly miss a bowl game again.

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