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Indiana Week Special: The 500 Blackout, Crossroad Classic, Kentucky Hate, and Answering Your Questions

At minimum, this should provide you with good pooping material.

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In case you haven’t heard, there is a race in Indianapolis this weekend.

No, it’s not a NASCAR race. It’s an indycar race!

Yep! It’s the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500! The best part is that for the 5th year in a row I’ll be able to watch it live! What’s that you say? No, not in person. I’ll be able to watch it live because I live in Ohio!

That’s because, after a couple years hiatus due to COVID, the dreaded blackout has returned to the Indianapolis area. For the uninitiated, a blackout is when a team/event/venue decides that if local people wish to view their event they must pay for a ticket and come watch it in person at the venue. This has been incredibly prevalent in the NFL space when teams have become tank monsters and people stop showing up (The GOV had to step in to stop this NFL practice). It’s also become very synonymous with the Indy 500 unfortunately.

Prior to COVID, there was only 1 year the Indy 500 ran without a blackout. The 100th running of the 500 in 2016 brought out the fans and thus sold out the 250k plus speedway. This led the powers that be to stop the blackout and let the Indy area watch the 500 live with the rest of the world.

I could go on this topic. The Indy Star did a brilliant write up of it, and the folks at Crimson Cast gave it a podcast as well. I just want to say that I think blackouts are dumb. It discourages growth and interest in the sport and the event, if that’s even what the folks at the 500’s main priority is. I guess by having Shaq DJ the snake pit, you’re pretty much admitting you don’t care if people come for the race or the party, just come pay the money and get into the stadium. Seems slimy.

Anyway, that’s enough of a poorly placed rant about the 500. It’s Q&A time. Let’s see what you all have given me to work with on Indiana Hoosiers week.

Where do you rank the current iteration of Indiana football in state, 3rd behind Notre Dame and Purdue? Or does Ball State pass them as well? – HumbleStarscream

Personally, I think it’s 3rd behind the aforementioned Notre Dork Dame and Purdue. Mostly due to the more recent 2000’s success and the success of last season in Purdue’s case. If last season hadn’t happened, I’d have said Purdue and Indiana were almost the same program making them 2a and 2b. You pick the order. I don’t care.

Also, shout out to you Role Hulman defenders. Rose and Trine both have had decent football programs. Screw you Depaw and Wabash.

Tom Allen’s buyout. Why? Also is it truly a deal breaker? – BoilerUp89

On this site, I like to reference CrimsonCast and Zach Osterman. Both have a fantastic way of framing arguments and giving vital information not just in terms of numbers, but in terms of strategy and way of thinking for the university. My answers here are an amalgamation of information I’ve heard from them specifically.

As for why, it’s because that’s what college football is doing. Texas paid Tom Herman $24 million to not coach Texas. Nebraska paid Scott Frost $16 million to not coach, and could have waited mere weeks to have that number drop significantly and declined to wait. Up and down the line, you see these buyouts. It’s due to the demands of the coaches basically. If you want to bring in top name, top of the line talent, you’ve gotta give them a guaranteed contract. Tom Allen got some name. Indiana wanted to keep him, and thus they offered him a sweet contract that said, “we are committed to you Tom.” That also sends the message to the football world of “ we’re also willing to spend this on our next coach” so that Indiana doesn’t retain that notion of being behind the curve on coaching hires.

As for if it’s a deal breaker? I think it is if the athletic department is funding the buyout. If the boosters do it, then no. Indiana football isn’t basketball either. You can’t make 2 calls and find that money. You’re going to have to go to multiple people. People talk. Rumors spread. If you’re not able to raise the money, you risk poisoning your relationship with the coach. Also, you’ve said you’re committed to him and by all accounts, everyone loves Tom Allen. The situation isn’t as simple as, here’s the number and you suck. It’s a lot more fluid than that and a lot of people truly want Tom Allen to success, me included. I’m just impatient. Soon the administration will be impatient too.

Is 10/21 decision day? If they lose to rutger, the rest of the B1G schedule may be an 0-fer (even with MSU and Purdue on there). Does Allen survives the season or will they get all Frosty mid year, ala nebarksa, and pull the plug? – Cercijo

Again citing Osterman and CC, Indiana isn’t going to fire its football coach midyear without some sort of major incident. Say Tom Allen loves a player too much, perhaps tackles a referee in excitement, or high fives and breaks the university presidents hand off then we can talk. Otherwise, it’s just not something Indiana is going to do for football, in particular this coach. They didn’t even fire Archie or Crean midyear and those guys were definitely hated enough to remove. I don’t expect Allen to be removed until next season at the earliest, unless Indiana hangs a 2 win season again and is just uncompetitive across the board. If there’s any life in the program, he’ll hang on one more trip around the sun.

I seem to recall reading that Tom Allen had a couple of highly ranked recruiting classes (okay, okay, not Ohio State, Michigan, or Penn State highly ranked but high for Indiana). I get that Dasan McCullough and Trevell Mullen have departed but what about the players that remain. Isn’t time for these players who have been in the program a few years to step up? – HoustonBoiler

Yes. It is time. And that’s been one major complaint about Allen. Player development has gone in the toilet. See Tiawan Mullen and Ty Fryfogle and Mike Penix and etc, etc. It’s well past time for some of these talented kids that have remained to pull their weight. This is the year they’ve gotta have it. We’ll see what happens I guess.

Since you’re also willing to accept more general questions, there seem to be some rumblings about further B1G expansion. Any thoughts and what school(s) would you like added, if any? – HoustonBoiler

2 Questions? I’ve got my eyes on your HB. Watch yourself buddy.

Yes, I have less than strong spots. I really want Kansas and Notre Dame. Failing that Kansas and Oregon. Washington can kiss my ass. I’d take Standford or UNC or Duke or anyone else as opposed to Washington. That’s as far as my desires go though.

Who is really IU’s biggest rival: Purdue, Kentucky, or Rutgers? – Vaudvillain

This answer, a lot like herpes or bankruptcy, depends on the situation. Are you at a stadium filled with people? What sport is playing? What state are you in? Does it burn and can you cover it up? If it’s basketball season, probably Purdue at this point. For old people, it’s certainly Kentucky. If you’re Crimson Quarry or on Twitter, it’s definitely Rutgers. The world is your oyster, but either way you decide just know that you’re right.

Personally? Fuck Kentucky.

1. Seeking to maximize sponsorship/NIL money for streaming or broadcasting the hypothetical event, presumably based on interesting news and competitive parity, what five events do you put Indiana’s basketball varsity roster against the same number of players from the football team? 2. Having seen multiple coaches from IUs offense make a splash and honestly seem to overperform, what coach (presumably a B1G coordinator or position coach) could TA hire who would deliver the biggest swing towards mediocrity in the league (and thus excellence* by IU standards)? 3. How long into the tenure of USC and UCLA will it take before IU has beaten both in basketball and football? – MiddlewestAverage

This is a lot. I’m on company time at this moment. 1-My sports in order are Diving, Golf, Volleyball, Rowing, and Softball. Should be a lot of fun all around. 2- I think you meant underperform. So I’m going to go with probably the dude from Clemson who’s been with Dabo forever. Failing that, Washington sacks DeBoer and we get another year rental out of that. Kevin Wilson as OC would be magical but, you know. 3 – This answer is depended on how long Lincoln Riley stays at USC. USC is prone to downward spirals, so I’d wager if he stays, it’s 15-20 years before Indiana football beats USC football. If he leaves within 6 years, I’d say it happens within the decade. Indiana basketball will beat both aforementioned programs soonish and I have 0 faith in UCLA football over a prolonged period of time.

Can we do some more Crossroads Classic discourse? The people (not Indiana fans) seem to be clamoring for it! – ajcuster

When scheduling an event, you should always try and get the most out of it. The Crossroad classic became an event that was not beneficial in ANY way to Indiana. At best, you beat either Butler or Notre Dame on a neutral court. At worst, you get beat in embarrassment and it dings your NCAA tourney resume. It also requires you take a full weekend game slot where you could be playing, say, Kansas or Arizona or in the Empire Classic against teams that will actually help your resume to play. Also, the finances didn’t really help Indiana. The TV viewership wasn’t as national as you could make it. The list goes on and on. The Crossroad Classic is dead and should remain dead. You want to keep putting it on? You’ve got options. Just leave the Hoosiers out of it.

What B1G conference alignment would give IU football a realistic shot at 4 wins? Yes, in one season. How badly mismatched would the divisions be? And what would you call them.- Nothsa

Personally, I’d love a relegation system where the top two teams from division 1 play each other for the championship while the other division just kind of exists for TV rights. Each year, the top 3 from division 2 replace the bottom 3 from division 1 and rinse, lather, repeat each season. That would DRASTICALLY increase the odds Indiana could get 4 conference wins.

For the pod thing, probably the pod of Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, and Illinois. 4 teams that have moments but are generally middling to lower in the ranking. If you’re not sorting by geography, I don’t know how else you’d sort it out. Of course you could always swap Purdue or Illinois for Rutgers and that’d be fine for the win total as well.

The divisions would be insanely mismatched and I’m not sure how you combat that. You’re going to get Michigan and Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State, or Ohio State and Penn State together in a pod one way or another. It’s almost unavoidable. Anyone west of Wisconsin is a non factor, and Wisconsin very well could be a non-factor in the coming years as well. Just because I admire Fickell doesn’t mean I have to ignore the fact that a lot of one trick ponies don’t do well in bigger ponds, or whatever the old saying is.

I’m not good with names. Forever Underperforming Collegiate Kickers probably is my best name. Perhaps Sorely Hoping I Tie division for Indiana as well? I dunno man. I’m not funny.

I was gunna save this for Iowa week but if it isn’t answered this week I’ll ask it again. “In the middle of a fight once my wife told me Iowa was my favorite bordering state and I was absolutely devastated, what is the worst truth bomb you’ve ever had dropped on you?” – HumbleStarscream

Because we’re hurting for content, I’ll answer your questions two apparently. We’re putting a cap in next year. One ride per ticket. Anywho, I just told this story today. In an office with a high school coach talking to a freshman, the coach looks right at the player, and just says “I don’t like your face. You need to fix it.” That truth bomb hurt me for him. It was funny if you know the kid, sad if you didn’t.

Me personally, worst truth bomb was, “hey man. You’re having a lot of fun, but you really suck at dancing.” I’ve done a lot of things in my life and been mediocre to good at all of them. Basketball, baseball, guitar, etc. Dancing is the only thing I’ve been unanimously told I suck at. It still hurts. I just want to boogie.

What do you think? Do you have any observations I’ve missed? Do you have better answers? Let us know, down below!