Welp…Indiana just got beat by Nebraska. I don’t have a joke specifically for it, because it all feels like one big joke doesn’t it? Indiana beats Illinois, who seems to be pretty good. Indiana loses to Nebraska, who seems to be pretty bad. Now the B1G West is a colossal mess.
You’re welcome world. Now who do we have this week?
Welp…I guess we’ll see what happens.
- Indiana has only beaten Michigan once in my lifetime. Do your own math.
- Last season, the CFP bound Wolverines seemed to struggle to put away a lifeless Hoosier team in Ann Arbor. Coincidentally, that game officially eliminated Indiana from bowl contention.
- The Lone Indiana victory in my lifetime came in that magical 2020 season.
For fun facts this week, I have contracted out my work to our Michigan correspondents, RockyMtnBlue and Brian Gillis.
Buffkomodo: You wanna pitch in some fun facts for IU/Michigan this week?
RockyMtnBlue: Um sure? What did you have in mind?
Buffkomodo: Just general fun facts about the University of Michigan. Michigan invented X or Y. Celebrity B attended Michigan. Anything generally interesting or fun about Michigan. You know...fun facts.
RockyMtnBlue: Hmmm. Off the top of my head, Notable alumni include Madonna, Lucy Liu, James Earl Jones, Chris Van Allsburg (the author of Polar Express), and the unabomber. Also the entire crew of Apollo 15 (suck it, Purdue). Excluding auto racing venues, it’s home to the largest stadium in the western hemisphere. Michigan literally taught Notre Dame Football how to play the game. The University is 20 years older than the state (dunno if that’s uncommon) and has been arrogant as all get out for every one of those 205 years.Claims to be the first university in ‘the West’ to offer professional education (Med school in 1850, Engineering in 1854, Law school in 1859 all claim to the be oldest of those schools in the West). Was the first university in the world to offer a course in Aeronautical Engineering (1914) (suck it again, Purdue)Can’t name any famous Michigan engineers, but that might be because the school draws ambitious alpha-types like moths to a candle. Of all the people I knew in school that I’m still in touch with, I’m the only one who’s still an engineer. Most of them moved on to management within 5 years of graduation (every now and then a working-class stiff sneaks in)Oh yeah. The bell carillon in the Bell Tower is (or was when I was there) the 2nd largest musical instrument in North America (and was argued to be the 2nd most out-of-tune as well)
Apparently the EKG was invented at Michigan. Who knew?
Also notable: Kelly Johnson (the Lockheed guy who established the Lockheed Skunkworks and led development of the P-38, the F-104, the U-2 and the SR-71)
Also some guy named Larry Page. Dunno if he ever did anything interesting. The internet can be a fun thing.
Buffkomodo: Thank you RockyMtnBlue for the content. We love it.
Brian: Sorry, just seeing this. I’ve got my hands full at the moment, but will send something a little later this afternoon, if that’s OK.
Buffkomodo: Better late than never.
<MANY HOURS LATER>
Brian Gillis: Whenever Michigan and Indiana play, I always think of Anthony Carter. That’s because the play that’s widely regarded as the greatest play in Michigan football history took place against Indiana in 1979. Anthony Carter’s 45-yard TD reception on the final play of the game propelled Michigan to a 27-21 victory, thwarting the upset bid of Lee Corso’s Hoosiers.How good was Carter? He was a three-time All-American wide out on a team that didn’t like to pass. Indiana was no slouch, either. Corso’s Hoosiers won eight games and finished the season ranked in the top twenty.
RockyMtnBlue: I can’t believe I didn’t think of Carter. My brother-in-law was a student at the time and in the stands. He said everyone left wondering why Carter wasn’t triple covered, since he was the only thing resembling a threat.
Brian: That play almost killed Bob Ufer.
More Michigan fun facts? I lived on the same block as Rich Eisen. Played pickup basketball against Jim Harbaugh. Interesting Michigan fun facts? Hmm, that’s another story all together.
RockyMtnBlue: Did he trip you? I understand he’s a wee bit competitive.
Buffkomodo: I really only have two memories of Indiana/Michigan. 1) When Michigan beat Indiana in OT in 2017. I was there for that and it broke my heart. 2) The Bill Lynch gum game. In I believe 2009. When there was an interception thrown on the way to take the lead against that lackluster Michigan team and Billy Lynch got mad and tossed his gum into the stands. I hope that piece of gum is still there.
RockyMtnBlue: “lackluster” is the kindest term I’ve ever heard applied to 2009 Michigan.
It wasn’t the 2008 team, but it was...not good.
Buffkomodo: Given an Indiana perspective, we just assume we’re getting demolished at all times.
RockyMtnBlue: The 2015 game was insane.
Thank God you guys decided that 27 (or whatever it was) consecutive successful runs was getting boring and threw it on 4th down in OT.
Buffkomodo: I’d almost forgot that Mitchell Paige dropped pass.
RockyMtnBlue: I’ll bet those Kevin Wilson vs Michigan games were a blast to watch for other fans. They damned near killed me.
Buffkomodo: Kevin Wilson is crafty enough and a good enough offensive recruiter to score enough points to hang with anyone. But his defenses sucked.
It was fun to watch though.
Brian: Getting demolished all the time? Not at all. Indiana gave Michigan fits for years. The Wolverines usually escaped with a win, but it was never easy. Indiana’s victory in 2020 was a long time coming. That 2017 game in particular, but in my memory, many of the games in that timeframe were very competitive.
RockyMtnBlue: I miss Team Chaos. It was SO MUCH fun as long as y’all were playing someone else.
Buffkomodo: They really were. Well, thank you guys for contributing and good luck this weekend!
What I’m Watching For
1) How unprepared can Tom Allen make the Indiana Hoosiers?
It’s really comical. Tom Allen goes to press conference and says Indiana must get off to better starts. Indiana proceeds to get the ball first in Lincoln on a touchback. Tom Allen must then call timeout BEFORE THE FIRST FUCKING SNAP to avoid a delay of game penalty. That drive is 3 and out. Nebraska proceeds to score on their first drive. Great start to the game Coach. Can it possibly be worse than that against a top 10 opponent? It can but I’ll be watching to ensure it happens.
2) How inept can the offense remain?
Let’s get this straight: the 2022 Hoosier Offense > the 2021 Hoosier Offense. That said, it’s really the difference between a hairline fracture and a compound fracture. Both suck and I’d rather have neither. I’d blame Walt Bell for a lot of this and he does deserve some blame, but he doesn’t block. He doesn’t catch balls or run routes. He doesn’t cut back into defenders instead of scampering to the sideline. So many dropped balls and so many dropped passes, it’s amazing quite frankly this offense scores as much as it does. Then again, the Hoosiers seem to find 2-3 drives a game where they look quite imposing. So how long in the game can the offense be terrible? I’ll be watching for that.
3) Will the defense ever show up?
Real talk, this is the major story from the year in Hoosier world. This defense was supposed to be better than this. Tiawan Mullen has not been an All-American. Cam Jones has been merely okay. To date, the real hero on this defense has been true freshman Dasan McCullough. The goat has been the secondary and they have been getting trashed. Like….big play pass on big play pass on big play pass. It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad and frustrating. Tom Allen was suppose to fix this. He has not yet. So will the defense show up? I’ll be watching for that.
You Either Die a Hero, or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain
That quote really says it all, doesn’t it? Tom Allen was the most celebrated coach in American in 2020. Now? Many Hoosier fans want his head on a pike. I’m inching my way that direction, if not for one key fact: this was always suppose to be the rebuilding year. This was always the year where Indiana was going to be between boom cycles and was probably going to regress and miss a bowl. I get that. I understand that.
That does not excuse the shear ineptitude I continue to watch week to week. I see 4 star recruits never prepared to play. I see coaches constantly saying “my bad.” I see a team call a timeout before the clock even starts. It’s bad football and it’s horrendous coaching and program management. Tom Allen gets some runway because this is Indiana Football and that contract buyout is way too high for Indiana to consider paying it at the moment.
It’s not all on Allen, as some of it lies at the feet of this athletic department. Indiana has some of the lowest paid assistants in college football. Walt Bell earns $450,000 in base salary while Nebraska OC Mark Whipple earns $875,000. Almost literally double. Bell gets “marketing and promotion” money that creeks up to $700,000, but it’s quite possibly still one of the lowest salaries in the Big Ten for an OC. While Indiana has spent on facility upgrades, it’s not been at the level required to really compete in the B1G East. Something must be done.
I’ve been possibly unfairly negative this article though. Indiana plays Michigan this week in what should be an easy win for the fourth ranked Michigan Wolverines. I’ve seen vaunted Michigan teams underperform in Bloomington before though. The one thing that’s really gashed Indiana this year is not Michigan’s strength. It could be a grinder in Indiana this week and coming out of this stretch 4-2 would be a major accomplishment no matter who you beat or lose to. I’m not counting on it though, and it’s likely this will be the final week in 2022 where the Hoosiers are above .500. Let’s see what happens.
Gametime: 10/8 – 12:00 PM EST – FOX