Analyzing Indiana football's remaining four games

At 4-4 with four games left in the regular season, Indiana needs to win two of those remaining games to meet minimum bowl eligibility requirements. What are the Hoosiers' chances of winning the remaining games? AllHoosiers.com's Stu Jackson takes a look.

Despite losing its last four games, bowl eligibility is still within reach for Indiana. The Hoosiers have home games against Iowa and Michigan and road games at Maryland and Purdue to close out the season. Minimum eligiblity requires six wins, which means IU must win two of its remaining four games to get there. 

But accomplishing the feat is easier said than done, and the chances of them winning those games aren't as high as you think.

Indiana has been close, but not close enough, over its last two games against Michigan State and Rutgers. 

Iowa and Michigan were two games that, in July and early in the season, may have been viewed as winnable games for the Hoosiers. However, given the last two weeks, "winnable" is a difficult term to define for this Indiana football team. 

The undefeated Hawkeyes, who have climbed to No. 10 in the AP Top 25, have the fourth-best scoring offense and defense in the Big Ten so far this season which doesn't bode well for an Indiana defense that has allowed an average of 23 points per game in the fourth quarter over its last two games. Combined with an offense that has been shut out in the fourth quarter of both of those games, and it's a recipe for disaster in the Hoosiers' second-to-last home game. 

I give Indiana a 30 percent chance beat the Hawkeyes at home Nov. 7, maybe more if it can correct those fourth-quarter problems on both sides of the ball. Iowa's defense and offense will be too much for Indiana despite the Hoosiers having the third-best scoring offense in the conference. 

The Wolverines have the top-ranked overall and scoring defense in the Big Ten, holding opponents to seven touchdowns and 3.5 yards per play so far this season. Indiana's offense showed it could score against elite defenses in the conference when it scored 26 against Michigan State Oct. 24, but until the Hoosiers start putting points on the board in the fourth quarter it's difficult to put faith in the offense otherwise. 

Indiana's chances of beating Michigan: 10 percent. Another challenging defense that will get the best of the fast-paced Hoosier offense. 

Those first two games out of the bye week will be the most challening for Indiana. Its final two opponents, Maryland and Purdue, offer much more winnable circumstances. 

Maryland fired Randy Edsall Oct. 11 and has had an interim head coach since. The Terrapins have the third-worst total defense in the conference, allowing 444.1 yards per game. By the time they play the Hoosiers, they may not have much to play for at all.

Indiana's offense should be enough to win that game with how poor Maryland's defense has played this season. The Hoosiers have a 75 percent chance to win at College Park, Md. 

The Old Oaken Bucket returning to Bloomington is at stake in Indiana's final game of the 2015 regular season, which will be in West Lafeyette, Ind. against Purdue. The Boilermakers have struggled on offense to this point in the season - their 21 touchdowns are the fourth-fewest in the Big Ten.

But Indiana is likely 5-6 heading into the rivalry game, and Purdue would want nothing more than to spoil the Hoosiers' last hopes of a bowl game. The Hoosiers haven't handled expecations well so far this season - see the recent four-game skid - so I give them a 60 percent chance of winning that game. 

Indiana has a shot at achieving bowl elgibility, but its chances will be even slimmer if it doesn't fix the offensive and defensive breakdowns suffered in the fourth quarter of its last two games. 


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