IU Football Lands at #17 on ESPN Preseason Poll

The Hoosiers have higher expectations than ever before going into 2021.

Jul 23, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen speaks to the media during Big 10 media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Hoosiers are looking to breakthrough amongst college football’s elite.

Tom Allen has built up a foundation and culture this school hasn’t seen in a very long time. IU had their best season in far too long last year with a 6-2 record amidst the shortened COVID-19 season. Indiana went 6-1 in the Big 10 with wins over powerhouses such as Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Their only loss came in a thrilling 42-35 game at the Shoe in Columbus.

The Hoosiers were ranked from Week 2 and on the rest of the season. They were ranked inside the top 20 for the better part of the year before injuries and bad play before their bowl game loss against Ole Miss.

ESPN used a 33-man panel to rank the top 25 teams in the country. As usual, Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State make up the top-5.

Shocking right?

ESPN has two Big 10 teams ahead of Indiana. OSU is slotted in at #5 and Wisco is ranked at #16. IU is right behind the Badgers and they were ranked #17 overall by ESPN’s panel.

Indiana has a preseason FPI of 27. ESPN named Week 1 at Iowa and Week 3 home vs Cincinnati as the Hoosier’s key games. It’s hard to argue with either game. IU must get off to a fast start in Week 1 and show that last season was no fluke. Indiana’s Week 3 contest in Bloomington against Cincinnati will be another tough, early-season contest to see where Indiana stacks up against Top-25 competition.

Both Cincinnati and Iowa are also ranked in ESPN’s Preseason Poll. Cincinnati came in at #11 while Iowa was right behind IU at #18. Both games will be good ways to measure the progress of Tom Allen’s squad from 2020.

Indiana ranked #17 seems like a fair assessment of the team’s roster and standing vs the nation’s best. IU will again have to climb the ladder to prove themselves and show why they can be a top-10 team again. To get there, they must win two games against Top-25 competition.