Welcome to Indiana, where the football team is used as an excuse to drink until basketball starts and most people can’t tell you the team’s record from last year. Things in the past have not been bright for the Hoosiers during football season. With the team being the losing-est team in FBS history (we’re #1!), Bloomington has often been ready for basketball season by early October. That being said, there are some highlights to look forward to this year.
- Head coach Tom Allen may know what he’s doing
Tom Allen has shown that he can turn around an absolutely abysmal unit into something showing relative competence. When Allen arrived in Bloomington, he took over a team ranked 121st in defense and took it to a respectable 37th ranking. If our math skills are correct, that’s an improvement!
- The Hoosiers have the best named player in the country, possibly the universe
On offense, IU returns some decent, if oft-injured, starting wide receivers. This includes the fantastically named Whop Philyor who showed some flashes last year. Philyor will have to pick up the slack left by the void of WR Simmie Cobbs & TE Ian Thomas who were drafted in the NFL. Hopefully, he teams up with WR J-shun Harris II to form the most iconic-ally named duo since Bartles & Jaymes.
- They may (or may not) have a serviceable QB
The Hoosiers also have a new grad transfer in Brandon Dawkins from Arizona who has solid experience and could help the offense be better than last year. He will compete for the starting position, and should win the job. There’s also freshman quarterback Michale Penix and IU’s best recruit in a while, 3-star RB Ronnie Walker.
- They are Indiana
Seems obvious, and unfortunately true. They are annually bad and have always been bad except two glorious years in 1945 and 1967 (where are the commemorative shirts?!?). The magic 8 ball says, “Chances aren’t good.”
- They lost 8 defensive starters
This includes linebacker standout and another amazing name Tegray Scales (the Hoosiers have cornered the market on cool names. Note to parents: if you name your kid something cool and they play football, they will eventually sign with Indiana. Book it.) They also lost cornerback Rashard Fant. This could lead to a regression from the entire defensive unit.
- The offense sputtered last year
On offense, well, it wasn’t great last year. Offensive Coordinator Mike DeBord has produced some less than stellar results. Last year the Hoosiers were 69th (Nice!) in the nation in yards/game. However, this time, 69th (Nice!) isn’t a good thing.
- Bru-uu-tal division
Arguably the biggest con for Indiana is the division they in which they play. They play Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan who were all ranked at some point last year, a spunky Minnesota team, and a potentially dangerous Maryland team. It is an unforgiving division.
2018 Season O/U Win Total
It is really difficult to determine exactly what to expect with this team. On one hand, they have the 8th easiest non-conference schedule in the country. On the other, they play in a bru-uu-tal division (it’s directly above. Weren’t you reading??). Vegas has the Hoosiers o/u at 5.5. They do have Michigan St, Ohio St, Iowa, Penn St, and Michigan on the schedule. However, they at least get the Spartans, the Hawkeyes, and the Nittany Lions at home. So they could go anywhere from 3-9 to 9-3. Not sure, if they’ll be able to get over the hump, so we’ll say under. It’ll be a frustrating season for the Hoosiers.
Newcomer to water
A freshman to watch for this year is RB Ronnie Walker. He was Indiana’s biggest recruit commitment in what feels like years. He should be explosive behind Indiana’s surprisingly well put together offensive line. Hopefully, he can bring Indiana back to having explosive and dangerous runners like Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard.
Odds and ends
As we mentioned earlier, Indiana has been bad for basically its entire existence. This is the 131st season of Indiana football. Of those 130 previous seasons, Indiana has had 34 winning seasons compared to 39 seasons of 2 wins or less. However, in this upcoming season, IU has the chance to break two streaks that are thoroughly bad. Indiana has lost to Michigan and Ohio State 22 straight times. Well technically IU has lost to Ohio State 21 straight times with a tie in 1990 and a loss in 1989. But still, 22 straight non-wins. So basically, here’s hoping that nobody beats Indiana 23 times in a row! Also, Indiana hasn’t won a bowl game since 1991 so here’s to hoping that streak ends this year as well!
All in all, it probably won’t be a great season for Indiana. It’ll be thoroughly average season with bowl eligibility probably being on the line against Purdue in the Old Oaken Bucket game again. But at least that game is in Bloomington. There will also probably several heartbreaking losses to Ohio State and Michigan State with yet another overtime loss to Michigan. However, don’t misunderstand. We’d be more than happy being wrong. But if we’re right and it goes south, take heart: basketball season is right around the corner!