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Eyeing IU

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Prediction time

Typically, I'm one to lean on the cautious side of a prediction.

Some publications like the Sporting News has the Hoosiers finishing last in the Big Ten.

Others have them finishing slightly ahead of Minnesota and Illinois.

Sports Illustrated is among the publications saying the Hoosiers will finish the regular season 6-6.

To get to that mark, and qualify for a bowl, IU would likely have to win all four of its non-conference games (Towson, Western Kentucky, Akron and Arkansas State) and then win two of the three against Michigan (Oct. 2), at Illinois (Oct. 23) and Northwestern (Oct. 30).

Can it happen?

The Hoosiers have enough offensive firepower to succeed. Quarterback Ben Chappell, running back Darius Willis and wide receivers Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher are capable of piling up the points.

The question, as in many years at IU, is the defense. Four starters return from a team that finished 10th in the conference in total defense. Bill Lynch said the revamped defense has heard the critics and is ready to prove it can get the job done.

For much of the camp, I've been leaning toward five wins. It is the safe pick. But I've changed my mind and will say the Hoosiers will find a way to get that sixth victory.

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