FanPost

Hoegher's 2013 Previews: INDIANA HOOSIERS

Well, I made an incorrect guess as to what team would be previewed by the OTE staff this week, but by golly I managed to write this thing within the time limits of the evening*. Go me. And honestly, this was a blessing in disguise. I'm going to be visiting my grandparents this weekend, and the time that'll have to spend on chores around the farm would leave me little chance to sit down and work on this. Oh, and actual work. I suppose I should put some focus on that as well. "All Jack and no play" though, right? I'm pretty sure that's how it goes.

* this FanPost may seem a little rushed as a result, please forgive me :)

THE PAST

NOTE: all historical data is taken from James Howell's excellent resource and/or Sports-Reference (college football edition)

Indiana Overall Ratings

Indiana Adj Off/Def

Indiana Win Pct/Luck

Winning percentage and "Luck" are plotted on a win-pct basis (mind-blowing, I know). Adj Off/Def/Eff/Marg and Resume rankings are plotted on a percentile-ranking basis. Thus, a team rating out in the 99th percentile would be awesome, a team rating out in the 1st percentile would be not-so-awesome.

Surprise! Indiana has mostly sucked for all of their existence. It's hard to pick out the worst of the coaches, but let's go with Gerry DiNardo, because eff that guy. Bob Hicks also gets special mention for managing to get fired after only one year in 1957.

On a more positive note, two names stand out for Indiana: Bob McMillin and Bill Mallory (special mention goes to John Pont, who brought Indiana to its first bowl game, though McMillin was kind of at a disadvantage there). I'd also like someone to tell me how Indiana was so damn good during the war, because for most teams (military schools and Notre Dame excepted), they went straight in the toilet for a couple years as their best players fought for 'MERICA. That McMillin managed to make Indiana an undefeated team* (9-0-1 in 1945, outright Big Ten champions, #4 in the AP Poll) is so fantastical that I'm starting to think he was a warlock. A quick rundown of results from that year:

Indiana vs Nebraska (54-14)

Indiana vs #20 Minnesota (49-0)

Indiana vs Pittsburgh (19-0)

Indiana vs #18 Purdue (26-0)

Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, McMillin left to go coach the Lions in 1948, where he immediately started to suck. The Lions will do that to you.

Bill Mallory didn't quite reach McMillin levels (I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's going to be an unreachable bar for a bit), but he still was far more successful at Indiana than any coach had a right to be. His teams own 6 out of 9 total bowl bids that Indiana has ever received (again, the grains of salt that the Rose Bowl/Big Ten relationship provides for earlier decades), and I'm honestly a bit miffed that Indinan decided it could fire their most successful coach in half a century after a few down seasons. Look what it got you. It got you Cam Cameron. Go sit in that corner and think about what you've done.

So does Kevin Wilson have what it takes to bring Indiana back to its WWII glory? No, obviously not. Only warlocks can do that and Northwestern's got the lockdown on the only one in the Big Ten. But he does have a chance at getting back to Bill Mallory levels. His 2012 team was the best (by these numbers at least, so your mileage on that statement may vary) in Bloomington since that "Play 13" 2007 squad, and he certainly showed more improvement in his second year than I expected (thankfully not they played the Badgers). Of courses, this is contingent on the defense not being a flaming poop show, which may be asking a bit much.

THE FUTURE

CFBStats.com and FBSchedules.com are used for reference here. I highly recommend both sites.

Projected Rating: -0.217 (90th)

Conf Proj Rec Conf Rec Adj Off rk Adj Def rk Adj Eff rk Adj Marg rk
B10 3-9 2-6 1.081 48 1.318 114 0.451 90 -0.237 91

Schedule SOS rk Conf SOS rk n-con SOS rk
Rating/Rk 0.108 38 0.245 38 -0.167 45

Week 1 (H) Week 2 (H) Week 3 (H) Week 4 (H) Week 5 Week 6 (H) Week 7 (V) Week 8 (V)
124 - FCS 96% 63 - BOATS 31% 74 - BowlGr 38% 26 - Mizzou 10% 0 - BYE 0% 19 - PennSt 5% 30 - Sparty 12% 27 - FuMich 10%
Week 9 Week 10 (H) Week 11(H) Week 12 (V) Week 13 (V) Week 14 (H) Week 15 Week 16
0 - BYE 0% 78 - Minny 43% 84 - LOLinois 44% 22 - Wiscy 6% 14 - OhioSt 3% 70 - ????? 36% 0 - BYE 0% 0 - BYE 0%

The number next to each opponent represents the projected ranking for that team. The percentages represent projected likelihood of winning a particular game, helpfully color-coded for your benefit (no regard for home/away, though that status is noted). The team names have been adjusted to better fit your screen, I hope they are obvious enough. You are free to ignore everything and tell me why I'm wrong, you're probably right.

Indiana 2013 Profile

This is an attempt to quickly illustrate a team's outlook for the coming season.These aren't unique (my personal experience was a Pokemon Yellow Guide from my youth): maxing out the pentagon is better. Winning percentage should be obvious, but other than that: the numbers here represent percentile rankings. 99th percentile is good, 1st percentile is less so.

So.. yeah. These aren't the most optimistic on Indiana's 2013 prospects, mostly because while the offense was much improved in 2012, there is still the anchor of a couple poorer quality years from before. The defense needs no introduction and has been likened to the episode "Fear Her" for some time. Since I've managed to work in a strained Doctor Who reference to a college football preview, I think I can die happy now.

I have no idea how Indiana convinced Missouri to come to Memorial Stadium (maybe they thought they were playing Nebraska?), but that's still a likely loss for the Hoosiers. Navy and Bowling Green seem like they should be easily attainable, but:

Navy is usually decent (last year excepted, and they still made a bowl)

Bowling Green was like the bizarro-Indiana last year - great defense, bad offense (actually, now I want to watch that game)

The Big Ten inter-divisional games did Indiana no favors, though at least the schedule makers were nice enough to put all the easiest games (Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue) at home.

HOWEVER: but for all the doom and continued gloom I'm trying to defend here, I'm ignoring an important detail: recruiting. Indiana ranks somewhere in the mid-40s, with 6 (!) 4-star recruits coming in next fall. Kevin Wilson did work, y'all.

OFFENSE:

Let's not forget the players that are already on campus though Tre Roberson (JR) coming back from injury is huge, as he's clearly the best QB on the roster (8.0 yds/att, 68.1% in 2012, albeit against limited opponents) with some wheels in his legs to offer another weapon of attack (11.3 yds/car, 3 TD). Cameron Coffman (JR) brings back experience from taking Roberson's place last year, though his 6.7 yds/att isn't the best, and he doesn't have the mobility that Roberson has . Nate Sudfield (SO) offers an intriguing option (7.7 yds/att, 7 TD's), in my opinion, though I have to think that there is a reason that he didn't play hardly at all in the final games of the season. Still, three apparently decent options at QB is better than the alternative that Michigan State (moldy cheese) or Iowa (tabula rasa) are faced with.

I have a confession: despite being a fan of two football teams (the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Vikings) who feature a strong running game as their preferred method of attack, I think running backs are largely insignificant (Adrian Peterson is a god, though). I think a strong O-line does more to influence the yards running backs rack up than individual athletes running into a wall of defenders. I think Kevin Wilson might buy into this philosophy as well, which would make sense given his offensive reputation.

Stephen Houston (SR, 4.7 yds/car) has a significant lead among the other returning backs, but Tevin Coleman (SO, 4.3 yds/car) and Isaiah Roundtree (JR, 4.8 yds/car), and D'Angelo Roberts (JR, 3.6 yds/car) all had major contributions. There's an arguement that Rountree's actually the best of this group (thanks be to the inimitable Bill Connelly for that), but there's no one player that really stands out to me. Daryl Chestnut (3-star) is coming in, but I think he'll find difficulty cracking the group of four ahead of him. Maybe he'll pass up D'Angelo Roberts, but I don't think it'll make much difference. I'm not going to pretend I know anything about Indiana's offensive line, but the OTE staff seem to think they have some talent there in Jason Spriggs, and they only lose their center from last year.

Wide receiver is where the talent for Indiana lays, as they return er'rybody. I'm not going to name all of the names on the list, but Cody Latimer (JR, 15.8 yds/rec), Shane Wynn (JR, 10.0 yds/rec), Kofi Hughes (SR, 14.9 yds/rec), and tight end Ted Bolser (SR, 10.9 yds/rec( all had over 400 yds receiving in 2012 and will probably get a lot more practice in 2013 with the state of Indiana's defense. In addition to that solid group, Indiana has two 4-stars coming in (Rashard Fant* and Taj Williams), as well as Isaaac Griffith (3-star) to add depth (among others). Hey, this might be a fun team to watch!

* Rashard Fant might be switching to cornerback, so don't quote me on that.

DEFENSE:

I mentioned that Kevin Wilson had six 4-star recruits coming in, and in a probably well-guided notion, four of those (maybe five) are on the defensive side of the ball. Rashard Fant was mentioned above, and Darius Latham (DT, 4-star, and a name I actually recognized), David Kenney (DE, 4-star), Antonia Allen (S, 4-star), and Kristopher Smith (OLB, 4-star) also join this group. Noel Padmore (CB, 3-star) and Maurice Swain (DT, 3-star) also look like possible impact players. I'm guessing Darius Latham and David Kenney will probably be needed right away, because Indiana loses two senior defensive lineman (Adam Replogle and Larry Black Jr.) to graduation. With the state of Indiana's defense the past couple years (obviously terrible against the run, but not exactly stellar against the pass, either), losing senior contributors may not be the worst thing in the world, but there's something to be said for experience. That, and those two led the team in TFL's, so yeah. Plenty of opportunities for the young players.

I'm glad that Wilson focused on bringing in defensive talent. It's my belief that offensive skill deficiencies can be schemed around, which is how Mike Leach and Art Briles can have such success despite their personnel (RGIII excepted, of course). It's my belief that defensive talent deficiencies do not enjoy the same advantage, possibly because the offense largely dictates what happens (Jadaveon Clowney offers his protest). However, I'm not sure how much effect the recruiting efforts are going have this year. Perhaps it's our collective bias towards highlight plays, but I don't recall freshman on defense being able to have the same impact as a Sammy Watkins, for example.

Even so, Indiana needs to stop the hemorrhaging of yards and at least bring up its defense from "abysmal" to "bad." I said the same thing last year and the Hoosiers failed to do so. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. It'll be interesting what Indiana will be able to offer come 2014, though.

HOEGHER'S BIASED PREDICTION

4-8. I'm writing off all road games for Indiana next year, I feel that I'm justified in doing so. I'm also writing off the Missouri game, who I think is far better than their inaugural SEC performance made them look (I won't be upset if y'all prove me wrong, though). I won't give them the Indiana State (FCS) game, because Indiana State was actually okay (for an FCS school) and Indiana only beat them by 7 pts last year. Sorry, Hoosiers.

That leaves seven home games against Indiana State (FCS), Navy, Bowling Green, Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue. Asking them to go 6-1 or 5-2 against that schedule is optimistic in my opinion (and I'm only including Penn State here because they'll have a new quarterback), especially given a lack of objective defensive improvement at the moment. Reaching five wins would be a major accomplishment, in my opinion.

QUICK REFERENCE:

Adj Off - analogous to scoring offense, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Def - analogous to scoring defense, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Eff - analogous to scoring ratio, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Marg - analogous to scoring margin, adjusted for opponent strength.

Luck - difference between actual winning percentage and expected winning percentage.

Resume - analogous to win/loss record, adjusted for opponent strength.

For for information see here: HOEGHER'S PRIMER.

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