|-8 IU (-115) @ bet365|
8* Take Indiana (#494)
Indiana has been disrespected all year, and they’re sick of it. Three loss Florida got a New Year’s Six bowl invite. So did three loss Iowa State. Two loss Georgia, who, like Indiana, didn’t play for the conference title got a New Year’s Six invite. But Indiana didn’t. The Citrus Bowl which normally takes the top Big 10 team that doesn’t make the New Year’s Six. The Citrus Bowl chose Northwestern over Indiana instead.
For some teams, I’d be very worried about a letdown or a flat effort in this spot. Not Tom Allen’s team here; a master motivator whose team has bought in all season! This is a chance to for the Hoosiers pummel an SEC school on national TV. I expect them to take advantage.
Indiana’s unique 4-2-5 defense is legit. They lead the country in interceptions, despite playing only seven games – remember how they flummoxed Ohio State’s Justin Fields in Columbus? Indiana is also #1 in the nation in red zone defense and #1 in the Big 10 in sacks. Defensive coordinator Kane Wommack is sticking around d for the bowl game before he heads to South Alabama as their new head coach. And don’t forget – the 4-2-5 defense is specifically designed to contain spread offenses with a downfield passing element – exactly what Lane Kiffin runs for Ole Miss.
The Rebels are struggling with opt-outs and COVID issues, big time! WR Elijah Moore and TE Kenny Yeboah – their two leading receivers – are both now prepping for the NFL draft, instead of their bowl game. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for a team still dealing with significant COVID concerns. Head coach Lane Kiffin: “We are kind of running out of players here, which is not ideal when you are a tempo offense….you are going to see a lot of young guys.” And considering this Ole Miss defense allowed 30+ to seven of their nine opponents this season – not a trustworthy stop unit in the slightest – Indiana’s offense is primed to light up the scoreboard now that QB Jack Tuttle – atop 20 QB recruit coming out of high school when he originally signed at Utah -- has had time to get up to speed, replacing the injured Michael Penix.
Indiana ended their bowl drought last year in a heartbreaking one point loss to Tennessee, covering the spread in the process – they’ve been through this with this coach and have something to prove here. Ole Miss is in the ‘just happy to be here’ category; a sub .500 team that hasn’t been bowling since 2015; an extended drought. Expect a smackdown! Take Indiana.