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Don’t think of Indiana as an easy part of Maryland’s football schedule

The Hoosiers will threaten Maryland's defense in a Week 9 bout in Bloomington.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the start of Maryland's football season on Sept. 3, we're doing an at-a-glance preview of every opponent on the schedule.

Week 1: Howard (Sept. 3, Maryland Stadium, 12 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

Week 2: FIU (Sept. 9, Ocean Bank Field, Miami, 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Week 3: UCF (Sept. 17, Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Week 4: Bye

Week 5: Purdue (Oct. 1, Maryland Stadium, 3:30 p.m., TV TBA)

Week 6: Penn State (Oct. 8, Beaver Stadium, 12:00 p.m., TV TBA)

Week 7: Minnesota: (Oct. 15., Maryland Stadium, time and TV TBA)

Week 8: Michigan State (Oct. 22, Maryland Stadium, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network)

Week 9: Indiana (Oct. 29, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, TBA)

As we’ve ticked through this series of posts glancing ahead at Maryland’s football schedule, we’ve mostly partitioned Maryland’s schedule into two halves: the first, with a bunch of winnable games, and the second, with a bunch of likely losses.

Indiana has historically been quite bad at football, so it’s not hard to look at a Week 8 match with the Hoosiers and see it as a light in Maryland’s second-half darkness. But that’s dangerous, because Indiana strode firmly toward competency last season and could be really dangerous again in 2016.

How good is this team?

We’ll see, but the Hoosiers will at least be tricky.

Indiana had a nice offense last year. A really nice offense. The Hoosiers weren’t elite scorers or anything, but they moved the ball and played at a top-25 level both by points per game (36.5) and Offensive S&P+, the metric from SB Nation’s Bill Connelly that tracks play-by-play data and adjusts for opponent strength.

But the defense is probably going to be bad, just as a general rule.

Who should I watch?

Quarterback Nate Sudfeld is gone, but head coach Kevin Wilson has demonstrated he’s a sharp offensive thinker. The Hoosiers are heading into the fall with what sounds like a genuine three-horse competition to replace Sudfeld, with juniors Xander Diamont and Richard Lagow and sophomore Danny Cameron in the running.

Whoever wins the job will probably be fine, in large part because junior running back Devine Redding should be excellent. He went over 1,000 yards last year, when he shared the backfield with the now-departed Jordan Howard. The Hoosier offensive line will have to coalesce to replace its best player, tackle Jason Spriggs.

Snap prediction, way ahead of time: Does Maryland win?

No. The Terps will be competitive here, but Indiana should be better than Maryland this year, and the game will be in Bloomington. I’m not picking Maryland to win a Big Ten road game until the Terps illustrate a good reason to think otherwise.