You may be a bit bleary-eyed after all the Christmas festivities, but don't adjust your television dials when you see the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday.
Yes, that is Indiana and Duke playing in a football game. In a bowl, no less. And sure, they are playing on a baseball field (Yankee Stadium). But we assure you, this is indeed a football game.
All joking aside, the Hoosiers and Blue Devils could turn in one of the more entertaining games of the early bowl season if things go to form. Here are three reasons to watch:
1. New kids on the block: OK, so we can kid about both these programs being basketball schools. But what that means is there is still excitement on both sides about being in a lower-tier bowl. Especially for Indiana. The Hoosiers made their first postseason game since 2007 and only their second since 1993. This is brand-new territory for the Indiana players, who figure to be highly motivated -- if, understandably, perhaps a little nervous -- to play on this stage. This is the fourth straight bowl trip for Duke, which had higher hopes than the Pinstripe Bowl earlier this season. Still, the Blue Devils shouldn't be so accustomed to the postseason that they feel this game is beneath them. Prior to 2013, the program had never even been to back-to-back bowl games.
2. Points, points, points: It's a good thing they won't be using an old-fashioned, manual baseball scoreboard for this one, because the points could well be flowing freely in the Bronx. Indiana led the Big Ten in scoring (36.2 points per game), total offense and passing and has a balanced attack led by senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld and running back Jordan Howard. Even if Howard, who has been dealing with a knee sprain, isn't able to play, the Hoosiers can still run the ball thanks to an outstanding offensive line that features two All-Americans (tackle Jason Spriggs and guard Dan Feeney). Duke will have to try to slow down that offense without All-American safety Jeremy Cash, who's out with a broken wrist. But the Blue Devils will likely be able to score boatloads of points themselves, as the Hoosiers' generous defense allowed more than 500 yards and 37 points per game. Duke dual-threat quarterback Thomas Sirk could give Indiana's defense fits, and we could well have ourselves a shootout.
3. Creative coaches: Before arriving in their current posts, both Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and Indiana's Kevin Wilson had plenty of experience at the championship level. Cutcliffe was the offensive coordinator on Tennessee's national championship team and coached both Peyton Manning on the Volunteers and Eli Manning as Ole Miss' head coach. His resurrection of the Blue Devils' program might be his most impressive work yet. Wilson was the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma, where he won the 2008 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. Both coaches are known as innovative offensive minds, which means the chess match here should be a really fun one to watch.