Who, Where, When: Indiana opens Big Ten play by welcoming the #1 team in the nation to Memorial Stadium this Saturday, as they play host to the Ohio State Buckeyes. The 3:30pm kickoff will be broadcast on ABC (ESPN2 in some areas), with Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham on the call, assisted by Dr. Jerry Punch on the sidelines. History suggests this will not be a good game for IU; 0-15 vs. #1 ranked teams, 0-5 against #1 OSU teams specifically, and the Hoosiers haven't beaten the Buckeyes since back to back wins in the late 80s.
Numbers of Note: 5, the Hoosiers' present winning streak dating back to last season (tied for 6th longest in program history). 10, the number of consecutive games in which Indiana has forced a turnover. 15, the number of Hoosiers from the state of Ohio, including Devine Redding and Tegray Scales. 21, the number of passing yards Nate Sudfeld is out of 5th place all time in Indiana's record books. 26 years, 51 weeks, the amount of time that has passed since the last team an Indiana football team defeated Ohio State in Bloomington (as of this article being published).
A Little Something about the Buckeyes, courtesy of OTE's own GoForThree: Ohio State's season has been one of shifting expectations and surprising performances. After months of hype about having the three best QBs in the country, the Buckeyes find themselves with two signal callers who have yet to play to their potential. It was great to vanquish the ghosts of last year's loss to VT, and to do so in rather convincing fashion. Since that joyful night in Blacksburg, the Buckeyes seem to be sleepwalking. It's not so much the score as the seemingly endless slew of errors and miscues from an offense that was supposed to be a world-beater. The worst performance obviously came against NIU. Five turnovers and a play calling scheme that couldn't get out of its own way. Overall, this year's OSU team has been marked by the great defense many expected, but has yet to come together on offense. While some envious non-Buckeye fans might admonish the Ohio State faithful for worrying in the face of a #1 ranking, Buckeye fans have seen this before. Top billing seemed to bring out underperformance in previous great Buckeye teams. Hopefully this year's squad adjusts to the new coaching staff and Urban gets the coaches' efforts focused on improving the flagging offensive line and errant QBs.
Fun Facts and Notable Alumni from Ohio State: Since I did these last year, I don't expect many things have changed. If you want to read them, go here.
Prediction: I'm not sure that there's a whole lot that could surprise me about this game. If Indiana gets blown out, well, that's what happens when Indiana and Ohio State play football. If the Hoosiers keep it close, then what we've been seeing so far this year might be fairly accurate. If Indiana somehow squeaks by for the upset, then it's the "Any Given
Sunday Saturday" theory. About the only thing I can't see happening is Indiana steamrolling the Buckeyes, and if that happens, we're pretty much looking at the end times, so you'll have bigger things to worry about. Does Indiana have a chance to win this game? Absolutely, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Should Indiana win this game? Hell no, and that's what makes it funny. The only thing Indiana really has to lose here is just another football game. My "official" prediction will be tOSU 49 - IU 35, but I'll be rooting like hell for the upset. Besides, it's not like #1 ranked teams haven't fallen in Bloomington before.
Next Week: The Hoosiers travel to Penn State. How everyone feels about that trip will largely be dependent on how Saturday goes.