Indiana Football: Are Hoosiers better than Michigan State this year?

The Indiana football team is trying to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. But are they still being overlooked in the Big Ten?

Indiana won eight games last year and finally played a bowl game in the state of Florida. They return most of their skill players on offense and should be able to put up a lot of points this year.

Because of the talent returning, the Hoosiers are getting some love from the media and have been ranked or just outside the top 25 of way-too-early rankings. There is, though, so other people that are still giving no respect to the Hoosiers.

One of those is our fellow FanSided site Spartan Avenue who covers the Michigan State Spartans. Yesterday they published an article about the upcoming 10 game conference season and said seven wins weren’t out of the equation for the Spartans. But in doing that they would have to beat the Hoosiers and according to Jack Williams that won’t be a problem:

A lot of people think that Indiana isn’t a guaranteed win, but Michigan State has won nine of the last 10 matchups, with the only defeat coming during the 3-9 season. I’m extremely confident about MSU’s chances here.

He also would add this little bit

Michigan State has had a rough couple of seasons, but when did they become worse than the teams listed above?

The other team he is talking about is Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers have been trending down, while the Hoosiers are trending up.

While he is right in saying the Hoosiers have not been as good as the Spartans and they have won nine of ten matchups, that doesn’t mean they are definitely better this year.

Last year the Spartans struggled but they still had a very good defense when they played Indiana and the Hoosiers still put up 31 points and nearly won. Well, that offense returns while the Spartans shouldn’t be as good offensively.

The Hoosiers return Michael Penix Jr.who was on his way to an unbelievable season at quarterback before he got hurt. The Spartans do have Rocky Lombardi as the probable starter, but he still is unproven and it doesn’t say much that he couldn’t beat out Brain Lewerke who was horrible for the Spartans outside of his first year as a starter.

Running backs the teams are pretty even. The Hoosiers bring back Stevie Scott III, while the Spartans have Elijah Collins coming back. Collins outrushed Scott by about 200 yards, but Scott doubled his touchdowns, 10 to 5. They are close to a wash for both teams.

The biggest difference may be in the receiving core. The Hoosiers have Whop Philyor who not only was one of the best receivers in the Big Ten but the whole country last year. Add in Ty Fryfogle and tight end Peyton Hendershot and the Hoosiers have a ton of weapons in the passing game.

The Spartans do have Cody White returning and he had almost 1000 yards receiving, but Philyor is better. The biggest problem with the Spartans is they were so bad on offense that not many players had a chance to shine. Or was it because of those players that they didn’t shine?

Defensively the Spartans may be better, but the Hoosiers should be much improved this year. But even with a good defense, the Hoosiers have shown they can score on the Spartans. And the Hoosiers will get the game at home.

It is still a long way off, but I would be more surprised if the Spartans were the favorite going into the game. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Hoosiers an 85% chance of winning the game. That is a pretty big margin.

Will it be a good game? Probably, but to say the Hoosiers are no problem for the Spartans this year is just ridiculous. Overall have the Spartans been better? Yes, they have, but this year the Hoosiers enter the season as the better team. Sorry Spartan fans.