After reaching the Insight Bowl following the 2007 season, Indiana University football had hoped to improve on both its standings in the Big Ten Conference and a second straight bowl bid.
However, after a tumultuous offseason, Coach Bill Lynch and the Hoosiers have a long road ahead of them.
Following the end of the 2007 campaign, Indiana had high hopes pinned on quarterback Kellen Lewis and his Michael Vick-like running abilities. However, Lewis appears to have found himself in trouble with the law, landing him an indefinite suspension from the team, said Lynch.
In the meantime, Lynch has begun installing a Ben Chappell-friendly system in preparation for the naming of Chappell as a starting QB. However, Chappell, a Bloomington native, is unproven, having thrown an interception in his one and only play this past season. Hoosier fans must hope that Lynch's throwing friendly vs. running friendly system is more to Chappell's liking.
Although Lewis is both with/off the team due to suspension, CB Tracy Porter and WR James Hardy both left and were drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft. The gaping holes left by these two will be sorely felt, specifically the height of Hardy downfield and his ability to grab slightly off-target balls thrown by Lewis. No true leaders have stepped forward to fill the shoes of these two, however, the leadership of Nick Polk, a S/WR should help.
On the defensive end, the return of Greg Middleton will definitely help, but the lack of size found on both the OL and the DL still hasn't been addressed. Chappell, as a pocket passer much like Peyton Manning, will need protection that wasn't provided to Lewis, a scrambling QB.
The 2008 Indiana Hoosiers football team can only hope to muster together a five- or six-win season, with likely wins coming over Western Kentucky, Murray State, Ball State, Minnesota, and Central Michigan, with another potential (but a stretch) Big 10 win over Iowa.
Likely losses will come to Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. Toss-up games are Penn State and the Oaken Bucket game, Purdue.