Who, When, and Where: Indiana opens its 2015 football campaign at 4pm Eastern time this Saturday against the Salukis of Southern Illinois. ESPNews has the broadcast, with Roy Philpott and David Diaz-Infante announcing. Southern Illinois finished their 2014 season at 6-6; Indiana went 4-8 in a season that need not be talked about again. Speaking of things we don't need to talk about again, in the only previous meeting between these two football teams, Southern Illinois won 35-28 in 2006.
Meet The New Hoss, Same as the Old Hoss: With Tevin Coleman now in Atlanta, UAB transfer Jordan Howard has stepped into the starting spot Coleman left open. As Tevin set a new IU rushing record last season, Howard did the same for UAB, rushing for 1,587 yards on 306 carries. Expect an offensive line returning most of its starters to open plenty of holes for their new rusher, and we might see some more Indiana rushing records fall in 2015.
Fun Facts about Southern Illinois: There are actually two main branches to the Southern Illinois University system. Carbondale is the home of the main Southern Illinois campus (this one is the Salukis), and SIU-Edwardsville is the other primary branch (that has their own basketball squad). The first SIU athletic teams were nicknamed "Maroons" unti 1951, when the school adopted "Salukis", known as the royal dog of ancient Egypt, and referencing the region's nickname of "Little Egypt".
Notable Alumni of Southern Illinois: Curt Jones (founder, Dippin' Dots), Jim Belushi (actor/comedian), Duane Kuiper (former baseball player, current San Francisco Giants broadcaster), Walt Frazier (Basketball Hall of Famer), Bart Scott (former football player, analyst for the NFL Today)
Prediction: If Indiana is fortunate, Nate Sudfeld comes out completely in sync with the receiving corps, Jordan Howard rushes for 200 yards, and IU rolls to an easy win. If Indiana isn't fortunate, Nate Sudfeld has a mediocre game, Jordan Howard rushes for somewhere around 150 yards, and IU wins by two scores late. If neither of those things happen, something has gone terribly wrong, and this entire prediction becomes invalid. IU 42 - SIU 17.
Next Game: Florida International comes to Memorial Stadium next week under the lights.