After several weeks dealing with wedding and honeymoon issues, I'm back. And upon my return to the U.S. after missing two weeks, I find the Hoosiers still are one game from being bowl eligible, although at least one reporter thinks 7-5 would give the team a much better chance to play 13 than 6-6.
IU travels to Wisconsin this week to play a Badgers team that has been overrated and has trouble stopping high-powered offenses. Illinois beat them 31-26 even though Wisconsin ran up 519 total yards and Penn State white-washed them 38-7. The Badgers also had trouble with UNLV, gave up 31 points to the Citadel, and gave up 34 to Michigan State. They are coming off a thumping of Northern Illinois, which probably was more of a vacation than a football game.
The Hoosiers have played well against Wisconsin in the past and certainly have a good chance to win this game. It's going to come down to turnovers and Kellen Lewis. If Lewis can hang on to the ball and make some good throws, particularly to James Hardy, the Hoosiers should hang around. Lewis and Hardy had Penn State beat if not for the field goals the offense gave away with second half turnovers.
Defense also will be a big issue. At some point, the Hoosiers are going to have to stop somebody if they are going to win a big game.
This is the "statement" game that can show the pundits, and bowl committees the Hoosiers are for real.