DUKE BLUE DEVILS (7-5) vs. INDIANA HOOSIERS (6-6)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT
Las Vegas: Indiana -2
It’s another opportunity for a Tom Crean-coached team to get run off the floor by a nationally renowned program and…oh, I’m sorry. I just assumed when I saw Duke vs. Indiana, it was a marquee college basketball matchup, and I also assumed I had the go-ahead to make this hackneyed joke were it a football game.
Now that the requisite basketball schools reference is out of the way, this might be the most intriguing matchup of Saturday’s bowl slate. Duke football has reached such a point under David Cutcliffe that 7-5 with a bowl bid can be deemed a disappointment. Not long ago, the Blue Devils merely making the postseason would be a wild success.
Indiana’s currently in that spot Duke was three years prior. This is the Hoosiers’ first bowl appearance since 2007, and first since Kevin Wilson became head coach in 2011. Indiana knocked on the door several times previously in Wilson’s tenure, and was very nearly denied again this season.
A huge, blown lead against Rutgers and nail-biting loss to Ohio State loomed large as the Hoosiers needed to defeat rival Purdue in the regular-season finale to gain eligibility.
While the basketball references are so easy as to border on lazy, this matchup does have the potential to produce a point total one might see on the hardwood. Wilson’s Hoosiers employ an explosive, uptempo style that, at 36.2 points per game, ranks No. 23 in the nation.
Duke is without All-American safety Jeremy Cash, leaving the Blue Devil secondary vulnerable to Indiana’s potent passing attack.
Indiana can give up points just as quickly as they score, surrendering 37 per game this season. I anticipate Duke’s offense being happy to engage Indiana in a back-and-forth contest. Dual-threat quarterback Thomas Sirk should put up some big numbers in a high-scoring affair.