As has been the case far more than I would like, Indiana has hovered near the beginning of the queue for OTE season articles, meaning we've finished poorly in league play. While we've not yet been forced to go first since I've been writing here (thanks Boilers!), it never feels good to have to be so early in the discussion. 2014 was supposed to be the year IU would shed that spot, but for a number of reasons, that could not happen. As such, I attempt to present the unpresentable, defend the impossible, and give you the improbable case that 2015 will finally (FINALLY) [FINALLY FOR REAL] be the year Indiana returns to bowl season.
I. Case History and Opening Statement
A. Case History
2014 was a typical IU football year. That is to say, there were some awesome things, a bunch of terrible things, and another year where "When's basketball season?" probably got tossed around right about the second half against Iowa or sometime during the Michigan State debacle.
Let's start with the positives: Tevin Coleman went BEAST on every school not named Penn State on his way to a 2,000 yard rushing season and exactly 0 Heisman hype because he played for IU. Wait, that sounds kinda mediocre. Let me try again.
Indiana recorded probably their biggest win in football in years if not decades by upsetting #18 Missouri in Missouri, which almost made up for their sloppy handling of Bowling Green the week before that led to a loss. No, that one doesn't sound that great either. One more time.
The Hoosiers held onto the Old Oaken Bucket with a thrilling 23-16 win over Purdue on a late score by freshman QB Zander Diamont, who seemed to have finally settled into the starting role after beginning the year somewhere around 5th string and redshirted.
You know, I'm just gonna move on to opening statements now, because it gets worse from here. And these were the bright spots of the year.
B. Opening Statement
The reigning, defending 2014 SEC East Champions return many of their key players in 2015, but there were some notable losses from all facets of the team. The offense graduated offensive lineman Colin Rahrig and sent Tevin Coleman to the NFL, the defense graduated safety Mark Murphy and defensive lineman Bobby Richardson (Richardson is also on an NFL roster at present, with the Saints), and special teams graduated Shane Wynn, who was IU's top returner in addition to being a key wide receiver.
Coming back for Indiana are senior QB Nate Sudfeld, in his last chance to fulfill the hopes Hoosier fans had for him as a whiz kid true freshman, pretty much the entire starting offensive line other than Rahrig, and pretty much every wide receiver other than Wynn. The offense also benefits from a couple of former UAB standouts in Jordan Howard and Marqui Hawkins, who may end up slotting into the positions formerly held by Coleman and Wynn.
As for the defense, I think I said it best last year:
"While there have been encouraging noises out of preseason camp regarding the Hoosiers' defense, trying to offer a season-long prediction for how they will play is fool-hardy at best, and potentially slanderous at worst. The truth is, until we see them competing against the best the rest of the country has to offer, we don't know for sure if this will be the same old swiss cheese defense, or if that group has finally turned a corner and become something more resilient."
C. Addendums (Schedule)
September 5th: vs. Southern Illinois
September 12th: vs. Florida International
September 19th: vs. Western Kentucky
September 26th: at Wake Forest
October 3rd: vs. Ohio State
October 10th: at Penn State
October 17th: vs. Rutgers
October 24th: at Michigan State
November 7th: vs. Iowa
November 14th: vs. Michigan
November 21st: at Maryland
November 28th: at Purdue
A. B1G 2015
The Indiana Cocktail Party
Indiana Personnel Files
An Oral History of Indiana Football (Warning: Satire)
B. Bill Connelly's SBNation Indiana Preview
C. What We Can Learn From Pop Culture
If 90s Nostalgia and the power of the internet can conquer the giant obstacle of utter chaos, why can't Indiana rise up from the doldrums they've been stuck in forever?
III. Emotional Plea
Please, just let Indiana get to a bowl game. We've been to fewer bowl games than Rutgers, we have as many total appearances in bowls as Northwestern does losses, Purdue has as many bowl wins as we have appearances, and even Illinois has twice as many bowl appearances as we do. You want to know who has a longer bowl drought than we do? UMass, Texas State, UTSA, New Mexico State, Eastern Michigan, UAB, and Akron. That's the entire list. 8 schools with a combined 6 bowl appearances. WE NEED THIS, FERGODSAKES!
/ACLs stay intact
IV. The Verdict
Indiana football has always been mediocre. Indiana football will always be mediocre. Indiana football has always been mediocre. Indiana football will always be mediocre. Indiana football has always been mediocre. Indiana football will always be mediocre. (repeat ad nauseam, ad infinitum)
|Aaron Yorke||7-5 (3-5)|
|Brian Gillis||5-7 (2-6)|
|Ray Ransom||5-7 (2-6)|
|DJ Carver||6-6 (2-6)|
|Candystripes for Breakfast||7-5 (3-5)|
|Jesse Collins||6-6 (2-6)|
|Mike Jones||7-5 (3-5)|
|Hilary Lee||6-6 (2-6)|
|Graham Filler||6-6 (2-6)|
|OTE Staff Average:||5.7-6.3 (2.1-5.9)|