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Hoosierin' On

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The state of Indiana and its Hoosiers have been good to me lately. Two absolutely epic weekends -- weekends of friends, fun (the type that takes a full week to recover from), and, oh yes, football. I'm writing this now from the road, in transit back to my home in Chicago. This drive marks the end of the second weekend adventure, a trip to see Northwestern play at Indiana University, and right now I just wish I could stay in Bloomington a little longer...

We started the trek early on Friday, in a station wagon loaded up for what was to come on Saturday. That evening was spent at a Bloomington bar called Jake's which I'm sure looks a lot worse when you aren't in the state I was in when I arrived there. The DJ seemed to be on a mission to play only music from my freshman year in college. Somewhere, the 19 year old version of me was in a sketchy frat house smiling. I would tell you more about the night, except, well... Beyond knowing that I also spent time in a place called The Vid and ate some pizza at Rockit at some point, things are a bit hazy.

I like fields

A few hours of sleep later and it was tailgating time. Before I relay the rest of this story (which is sort of disappointing), I have to say -- I love Bloomington. This was my first trip to IU and it is a great town. It reminded me a lot of Madison and it has a stunning campus to boot. That all being said, the tailgate, which began well enough, took a turn for the worse due to the actions of some unnamed Indiana fans (seriously, if I knew their names I would write them because what they did was NOT COOL)...

They ran over our grill. With a SUV.

Let me repeat that. Ran over. The grill. At a tailgate. Yeah. Oh, and they never apologized. I know it's shocking, but it's true... my friend had his grill on the grass, just starting our breakfast food when this group just rolls up and rolls over his grill and our food. Sigh. Fortunately, the majority of Hoosier fans (of which my friend is one) and traveling Wildcat fans were more than generous. We traded the leftover propane for the use of a camp stove, and also received food donations along the way. Oh, and met a really cute dog named Dory. Awww. Later in the afternoon there was a trip to Nick's for the MSU-Iowa lols and some most excellent sustenance. And the evening?

Well, let's just say it was definitely eventful...

 Before I get to this part of the evening, I must confess something. I like 80s music. A lot. Give me some Whitesnake or Pat Benatar and I am a happy camper. So when my friend told me that Saturday night was to be spent watching an 80s cover band at a place called the Bluebird, you can imagine my reaction. The band was called Hairbangers Ball and they were amaaazing. It also didn't hurt that the provider of my couch and pillow this weekend knew the band...


This practically made my weekend by itself...

I have been to many concerts in my life, and many of those took place at small venues or bars, but I don't think I have seen a crowd go more insane than I did last night. And I love them for that. I mean rocking out to Journey, Poison, Skid Row, Def Leppard, and the aforementioned Whitesnake and Pat Benatar music would have been great even if I was the only one into it, but doing it with a bar full of others who got it too? Yes. Oh so much yes. I hope you remember me Bloomington, because I certainly remember you...

It was, all in all, a great trip. This is the type of stuff you remember for years. I do feel like I am forgetting something though...

Oh. Right. There was a football game in there somewhere too.

It is not often that attending a college football game is one of the least entertaining portions of a weekend, but that was the case today. The Northwestern - IU game was fun, to be sure... I really like the Hoosier stadium. But the action on the field turned out completely differently than what I expected.


I really thought, given the usually efficient offenses and porous defenses of these teams, that we would see a shoot-out. I fully expected 50 or 60 points on the board combined by the half. Instead? It was tied at 10 all. Er. Okay.

Part of this was due to a maddening tendency of both teams. This is something the Wildcats have been doing for a while this season, but as far as I'm aware, it was relatively new for the Hoosiers. Maybe Bill Lynch decided to take crib notes from Pat Fitzgerald's previous game film. Anyway, the running joke going with the people I was sitting near was that no matter which team had the ball, if it was first down, there would be a run up the middle for minimal gain. This is perhaps an exaggeration, but it sure seemed that way.

Ultimately, while the result of the game, with a Northwestern victory and bowl eligibility, was what I expected, I didn't like how they got there. They just felt flat all day. Way too many dropped passes. Still issues with ball security. It felt much the same for the Hoosiers. Though Ben Chappell threw for 300 yards again, he just seemed a bit out of sync. Part of this was due to good play on the part of the Northwestern defense, but he definitely missed several completions because his throws would end up bouncing off the receiver's shoelaces. Very atypical of him.

Also, is it the case that the Northwestern quarterback ALWAYS GETS INJURED around this time of the season? I mean, seriously. Kafka last year. Persa this year. After Persa went down with his concussion, I got very worried. The backup quarterback Evan Watkins handled things for the end of that drive well enough, but I just don't know if I have confidence in him to take over if Persa's concussion makes him miss a substantial amount of time. And especially going into games at Penn State and hosting Iowa, I want our full offensive weapon set out on the field. Sigh.

I'm glad for the win in this game. I really am. Especially after the let down that was the Michigan State game last weekend. But... I can't shake these disquieting feelings. Earlier in the season I thought this team was a solid 8 win team, with a chance to be better than that. Lately, I've found myself knowing that we would be bowl eligible, but not sure if we'd make it past the Pizza Pizza bowl. And now? Now I'm actually worried about the upcoming Illinois game. Then again, perhaps we should just try for a lesser bowl so we can finally beat somebody.

Well, that's all I've got on this snoozer of a game. Hopefully your weekend was as awesome as mine was. Until next time...

Happy Halloween and GO U! NU!