We here at OTE love our potlucks (even if there’s some occasional arguments over who brings the casserole and who brings the hotdish), but it seems like a lot of us much prefer bringing answers to these things than questions, so for once, I’m flipping the script. I’ll leave it up to you in the comments to decide what food goes best here, the rest of the writers have given me their burning questions, which leaves me to provide the answers. And here we go.
Big Red Twice: If Indiana were a celebrity, who would it be and why?
Candystripes: Indiana football as a celebrity would be Steve Buscemi. A solid role player, not exactly the look that you would expect from the level of fame they have, but someone you can always count on for a quick burst of entertainment. Theoretically capable of a star performance, but more than likely going to settle into the background when the major players show up and take over.
Boilerman31: I’ll do my best to be courteous (Bucket) and not turn this (Bucket) into a hate fest (Bucket). Granted, it’s one year in so data is limited, but what are your thoughts on Tom Allen thus far? Did IU get someone who can keep the momentum or just another name to prove that football will always be second fiddle to Basketball?
Candystripes: I appreciate (Banners) the noble sentiment (Banners) and will give (Banners) my response in kind (Banners). My article from yesterday notwithstanding, I think if Tom Allen can keep the recruiting level about where it is now, he might be able to sustain most of the momentum, but the on-field product is going to be the biggest factor in whether or not football will ever become more popular than tailgating (the real second fiddle to basketball). Allen has shown that he can run a defense with plenty of talent; now it’s time to figure out if a young defense and a decent offense led by a questionably decent coordinator can keep IU afloat.
LGHF: On a scale of 1 to nutty, how hoops crazy is the State of Indiana? Does the hoops hysteria still permeate all towns/cities?
Candystripes: It’s probably only a 9 now. Basketball is still the primary sport in the state, but the rise of the Colts during the Peyton years has tempered some of the frenzy a bit. High school basketball is actually still the top dog in the state, but even that has lost some of its luster from what most would probably consider the high point. Damon Bailey filling up most of the RCA Dome for the state basketball finals was probably the last major “crazy” hoops moment for the state, but there are still plenty of towns out there where Friday and sometimes Saturday nights during the winter are for basketball and basketball only. I can’t speak to the rest of the college level, but Bloomington on game day was pretty crazy right around Assembly Hall and probably also down Kirkwood Avenue, and fairly quiet on other parts of campus.
Of course, the easiest way to measure how crazy the state is is to look at Romeo Langford’s recruitment, and how he would be asked to sign autographs for almost an hour after some of his games, as well as be serenaded by IU chants during games (even from opposing student sections).
LGHF: Give me a (somewhat realistic) dream season for 2018 Indiana football.
Candystripes: Oh man, that somewhat realistic is gonna be tough to hit, but I’ll try anyway. The dream opening for the season is to start 5-0. Nabbing Michigan State off a bye week is gonna be tough, but better that they’re coming to Memorial than us going north. Ol’ Brassy needs to come home once in a while, after all. No realistic dream involves knocking off the Buckeyes, so that loss is a given, but surprising one of Iowa or Penn State is not unreasonable, so hitting bowl eligibility before the end of October would be sweet. The least likely November win is at Michigan Stadium, and since this is still an Indiana football dream we’ll probably lose to Purdue again, but that still means 8-4, and after what happened last year, that would be just fantastic.
If we remove realism from the equation, then 9-3/10-2 possibilities exist. But let’s not discuss those, because then I’ll just be sad when they inevitably don’t happen.
Stew: How jarring has it been to go from all offense, to an offense coordinated by Mike DeBord? How does it feel to hand over the title as the B1G’s Big 12 team over to Purdue (and in such short order)?
Candystripes: It’s fun to occasionally score 70+ points, but honestly I’d much rather have the lower scoring games if it means the defense can also keep the opposing offense off the board. Being the Big 12 team sounds like fun, until you realize that the rest of the conference is very much ground and pound, and having a Big 12 style defense is VERY, VERY bad against that.
Townie: In a “my state is better than your state” superiority contest, how do Indiana folks rank the following list: Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio?
Candystripes: Obviously, Indiana is number 1. From there, Tier 2 is Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and maybe Wisconsin depending on who you ask. Tier 3 goes Iowa, Minnesota, and then Nebraska. I wouldn’t call that the definitive ranking, more of a feeling I get about how other people might think. I’m also slightly biased, given that I’ve actually been to all of these states, which is more than I can say for a lot of people I know.
MNW: As Indiana is the Crossroads of America, rank all the Interstate Highways that run through the state.
Candystripes: Slight disclaimer here, I’ve never actually used I-64 (and only just found out it existed today), so it will probably be ranked lower than it should for that reason. I’m also going to leave out most of the 3 number auxiliary interstates, other than the two that I actually use.
Thus, my rankings look like this: I-65, I-465, I-865, I-70, I-74, I-69, I-64, I-90, I-94, I-80. I welcome your flames in the comments.
MNW: Will Indiana be the first team in the country to innovate with a two-punter formation, and if so, how will it manage to still lose to Ohio State?
Candystripes: I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of a two punter A-11 style formation in our playbook. (It’ll probably be by 17 points or more.)