1. Case History and Opening Statement: These are Not My Father’s Indiana Football Hoosiers
A. Opening Statement
I’ve watched enough Boston Legal that I feel I’m very well prepared to make this opening statement.
Ladies and Gentlemen…as you all know, the team on the docket today is the Indiana Football Hoosiers. A program, that historically, has been compared to Kansas Jayhawk football, Michael Jordan’s time in the minor leagues, and the Purdue school of Business. All three terrible things.
Sporadically throughout its history, and really history of anything, there have been some bright spots. Sure, there were a few 8 win seasons. Indiana has in fact won a bowl. These facts don’t change that Indiana has been known as a terrible football program for a long, long time.
Well friends, times have changed.
Indiana football is no longer to be counted as an easy win.
Indiana football is no longer a doormat.
Indiana football is no longer a terrible program.
Throughout this…article…you’ll find that not only is Indiana football no longer a bad program, it is in fact a good program. A good program with a lot of promise. And with that promise, it may in fact be the program to fulfill the age-old prophecy. The prophecy that out of the abyss of awfulness, a red colored team will rise up and slay our Scarlett and Gray overlords! Hazahhhhh!!!
INDIANA FOOTBALL IS HERE TO STAY!
INDIANA FOOTBALL IS HERE TO WIN NOW!
LOOK OUT! HERE COME THE HOOOOOOOOOSIERS!
B. Case History
Over the last 40 years of Indiana football, the Hoosiers have improved upon a winning record (6-6 is not a winning record) only 3 times, 4 if you count last season. Over that time, they have had exactly 7 winning records. Since 2000, they’ve won 4 or more B1G games 4 times and finished in the top 4 of the B1G just twice.
Enter 2019. Indiana goes bonkers and wins all the games they should win. They hang a solid 8 win season up, and lose a bowl game in Indiana style. 5-4 in B1G East might I add.
Enter 2020, a year of fuckery. A year of weird. And in that weird, Indiana decided to turn the eastern division upside down by going 6-1 through their shortened season, but still losing their bowl game.
The 2020 Indiana team should have been known as the Demon Slayers. They seemingly obliterated all of the old hurdles Indiana had. Michigan? Torched them and made those CBs look like children. Penn State? Get a couple lucky plays and bounces and were able to knock them off. Wisconsin? Said “Bye Felicia” even with a backup QB. Indiana was in the AP and coaches top 10 at various points too and finished top 15 (I’m not looking up exactly where they finished but it was like 12 or 13)
The last remaining hurdle for this program is beating….them…. I won’t say their name for fear of conjuring their anger, but we know who they are. For once, they seem a little out of whack. They seem mortal. I understand we haven’t played a game though. But just maybe they’re down or at the very least confused?
Now, staring down the barrel of the 2021 season, Indiana looks poised to compete again. They’ve had a Penix repair. They return 19 of 21 starters. Good god Tiawan Mullen looks like he’s going to give QB’s nightmares this year.
Historically, Indiana has a win percentage of around 40%. Over the last 5 years, that win percentage is 52%, and over the past 6 years, they are still 36-35. It’s nothing to write home about…unless you’re Indiana. For so long, the floor has been unsteady and virtually on the ground. Always a bottom feeder. But now, Indiana is trending in the right direction over a good period of time, not just relying on 1 good year.
2. Discovery: From Around the Site
A. What We’ve Written About Indiana This Offseason
OTE 2021 Indiana Football Preview Podcast
Indiana Week: 2021 Written Preview
Indiana Week: Potluck #1 Tom Allen - Investment Banker or Used Car Salesman
Indiana Week: Coaching Changes
Indiana Week: Potluck #2 Penix Jokes
Indiana Week: Potluck #3 Never Lost a Tailgate and Predictions
B. What We Can Learn from Pop Culture
This is the best Indiana team of my lifetime.
“This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.” Eminem
Shoot your shot!
3. Schedule of Events
4. The Verdict: Mostly Positive
This Indiana Hoosiers team is special. Not different. Special. 11-1. We’ll stumble somewhere, but we’re blowing up the death star and keeping our bucket. The OTE writers don’t agree with that, except for LPW and WSR, but at least we’re in the meaty part of the bell-curve according to them. Progress!
5. Emotional Plea: Ramblings of a Lunatic
My dad took me to see Antwaan Randle El play at Memorial Stadium when I was a kid. I knew enough about college football at the time to know that…Indiana was bad. When I asked why we were coming to watch a terrible team play, he said “you don’t get to see great players play at Indiana very often, unless they’re playing against us.”
“Why’s that dad?”
“Because Indiana is bad at football, and always will be.”
For the bulk of the last 20 years, dad has been correct. Indiana has been bad. The Cameron and DiNardo years were piss poor. Terry Hoeppner seemed to be the guy who might reenergize the program in the mid 2000’s, but his unfortunate passing was just a gut punch to the immediate future of the program. I don’t blame Bill Lynch for his tenure. I’m sure it couldn’t have been easy.
In came the Kevin Wilson rebuild. Boy, was it a rebuild. That Ball State loss was terrible to start, but by the time Kevin Wilson’s personality and character flaws got him ushered out, the program was heading in the right direction finally.
Enter Tom Allen, a man I’d run through a brick wall for. Not only does he seem genuinely like a good guy, his players seem to agree. The media seems to agree. Hell, less than 15 days before the start of the season, Sport Illustrated wrote a piece on him and Indiana football! INDIANA FOOTBALL. That was unheard of 20 year ago.
Allen has pushed the Hoosiers floor up from a basement dweller to at minimum a 6 to 7 win per season program. Hell, over the last 5 years, they’ve averaged 6 wins a season. This season will be about how high we can push the ceiling up though.
I truly believe this group of Hoosiers is special. As it shows, I’ve seen a lot of Indiana football in my short time on this Earth. Most of it forgettable. If there ever was a team that could push the program to new heights, it’s this team. Not last years team. Not next years team. This years team.
This team returns 19 starters from a team that was top 10 ranked last year and whooped up on the majority of their competition. This year. If Indiana is ever going to have a better shot to take a B1G football title, it’s got to be this year.
*To the tune of The Greatest Show*
Hoosier fans, this is the moment you’ve waited for….Woah.
Been searching in the dark, for a team that’s different than we’ve had before….woah
And buried in your bones there’s a feeling you can’t ignore
Taking your breath, stealing your mind
This is the year we leave the ghosts behind
Tell me do you wanna go????
Oh. And fuck Gary Barta.