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October 18, 2013

Staff Predictions: Michigan vs. Indiana

Michigan is 52-9 against Indiana all time, having outscored the Hoosiers by an average of 20 points per game. That, of course, all means nothing when the two teams suit up and duke it out Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

There have been some close calls mixed in over the years. Lee Corso's team had Michigan - well, tied in 1979 before Anthony Carter spoiled the party on a pass from John Wangler with no time remaining. Antwaan Randle-El and Co. gave the Wolverines a scare in 1999 before U-M pulled out a 34-31 win, and those who haven't erased 2008-10 from their memories recall Tate Forcier to Martavious Odoms (in one of those years- ?) for a late game winner. (Can't remember the final score since most of the era has been removed Total Recall style in reverse. It was Odoms, right?).

The only Hoosiers win in the last four-plus decades came in 1987, when IU had Bill Mallory on the sidelines and a monsoon made the second half a literal wash in a 14-10 Hoosiers win Bo Schembechler called "a mistake."

But this Indiana team has a legit shot. Yeah, it's still a double-digit underdog, but it's not the usual three of four scores. IU can score points, and though the Hoosiers have a very giving defense, Michigan's offense hasn't been very receptive to such gifts this year.

The Wolverines need a win to stay in the Legends Division race for at least two more weeks, when we'll really find out what they're made of, a stretch that starts at Michigan State.

Congratulations to our crack staff, which once again laid an egg with last week's picks (it's just getting embarrassing now, guys). This week's winner receives a chance to brag about beating guys who couldn't win a predictions contest in their own families.

The picks:

Chris Balas: It's been 34 years since Wangler to Carter for a 27-21 win, and there have been a lot of cakewalks in between. The former is more memorable, but the latter makes for a much more peaceful message board week.

By our calculations, it's going to take a 17- or more point win to pacify the fan base's lunatic fringe and make our jobs easier this week.

Michigan 38, Indiana 21. Please?


John Borton: Indiana football games this year average 960 yards of combined offense, 74.5 points, and less defensive restraint than demonstrated by the corpulent couple at all-you-can-eat pizza buffet night. Michigan didn't employ the Hack-A-Hackenberg strategy quite well enough a week ago, but they'll come up with just enough speed bumps to avoid an Ann Arbor apocalypse.

Michigan 38, Indiana 30


Michael Spath: A bit like two weeks ago, I'm not entirely sure how Michigan will come out tomorrow. You might be inclined to think the Wolverines are mad and will play with the intensity needed for four quarters of domination, but then that ignores the fact that the offensive line is still a mess and that this Indiana offense will cause problems. Expect a high-scoring affair that U-M could lose.

Michigan 45, Indiana 35


Andy Reid: Like my grandma used to say, "There's nothing like playing Indiana to cure what ails ya."

OK, you caught me. She didn't really say that, but for the Wolverines, it's true. Run game struggling? It's your lucky day, because Indiana has one of the worst rushing defenses in the country.

I can tell you one thing: the fans aren't the only ones furious about what happened last Saturday night. The players are going to come out with a little fire in their bellies in this one.

Michigan 38, Indiana 24


Tim Sullivan: Michigan looked bad against Penn State, whereas Indiana, at least in the final score, looked very good. While U-M is still on a visionquest to figure out what to do with its offensive line, Indiana is not the sort of program who can punish them for that. Holding serve on offense opposite a high-powered IU attack (and maybe earning a few breaks on that side of the ball, to continue the tennis analogy) will be big for Michigan. This game will be scary in a few years, but the Hoosiers don't yet have the athletes to turn Michigan's deficiencies into an upset.

Michigan 42, Indiana 27


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