Well, this weekend was… something

So, how was your weekend? Mine certainly didn’t go as expected.

Bit of a paltry effort from Indiana’s Big Ten cohorts this weekend, huh? Yeah, didn’t see that coming. A couple losses would have been understandable, but to do that? Ehhh.

The word “feeble” came to mind while flipping back and forth between Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State last night. Although, to be fair, Michigan State’s final margin looked worse than the actual game. But the conference needed that one. Or any of them. This is to say nothing of Northwestern and Purdue losing, and several close calls — including one very, very close one at Nebraska.

One of my big, bold preseason predictions included Indiana winning in Ann Arbor for the first time since 1967. I’m still sticking to that one.

Of course, IU still needs to show that it’s better. Saturday’s game at Bowling Green should give us a more accurate reading of exactly where the Hoosiers stand right now.

The Falcons don’t enter Indiana week at full-go, although last night’s 48-7 romp over VMI seemed to ease feelings in Bowling Green.

Through their first two games — the VMI win and a 59-31 loss to Western Kentucky — the Falcons have yielded 1,126 total yards, including 890 through the air. Though BG handled VMI, its offense is anything but a sure thing heading into Saturday.

Backup quarterback James Knapke filled in admirably for injured starter Matt Johnson and completed 22 of 31 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing one interception. But what will Hoosier defenders see from Knapke and company when they line up on Saturday?

That’s among the many questions looming for Indiana this week. Hopefully, by this time next Sunday, we’ll have some answers about the Hoosiers.

The Big Ten, however, is a whole other story. That’s a problem I’m not ready to diagnose.

15 comments

  1. It’s early, but I’ll say this. THIS is the year where all the stars are aligning for IU to make its move. The B1G in a collective down year that is very similar to 1995, when Northwestern made its run. It isn’t going to be like this for long.

    We keep saying that the schedule doesn’t favor us, but as the season is revealing where teams truly are, OSU, Michigan and PSU are as vulnerable as they’re going to be. They all have young teams without a decent QB.

    Now, I’m not stupid enough to say “Rose Bowl.” A lot of stuff would have to break our way that goes beyond just playing good football. I’m saying that if you are Hoosier fan, we have a team can definitely play with these teams. Before, we’d just write off the OSU game as a loss before it started. We can play with them (this year at least).

  2. The B1G sucks in football this year. Our 3 best teams lose when they play good teams: Wi to LSU, OH St to VA Tech, and MSU to Oregon. The #4 team NE looks beatable against poor competition. MI is humiliated by ND, the same for Purdue v. Central MI and NW is inferior to Northern IL and Cal. PN St wins but only barely. IA is 50/50 vs medium teams. IL and MN seem OK. Maryland and Rutgers are unknowns. Lots of room for IU to be towards the top of the league.

  3. double down,

    a lot of people will be interested in finding out that penn st is without a decent qb. you should do this for television.

  4. coachnocaps,

    Crabby that your JV girls’ team at the Presidio YMCA didn’t make it to the Marina/Cow Hollow 16 and under semifinals?

    You’re right about Hackenberg. However, PSU was a typo for MSU, which is my fault only. PSU is vulnerable for other reasons besides QB. Hackenberg is Dan Marino compared to the two turds at UM and OSU. Cook is pedestrian.

    Point still stands. There is no team in the B1G that can deliver an automatic L to Indiana at this point in the season.

    Nice to find your lip here instead of on Larkin St, though.

  5. I’m not sure if you jump to any conclusions after only one game. OSU’s backup QB could grow exponentially as the season progresses. He’s obviously a very gifted athlete and that was a very tough defensive opponent for his debut.

    Maybe we should be very cautious in prematurely judging any team..MSU had to play a very solid program very far from home. Hard to say if it doesn’t go the other way in East Lansing.

    There’s always a lot of Jekyll and Hyde football in the first weeks…Two completely different halves in the Colts vs. Broncos game tonight. Nothing seems remotely predictable…Hard to tell which team shows up on the next set of downs. How on earth can you extrapolate how they’re going to look in a few weeks?

    I was shocked by how the Colts bitch-slapped the Broncos in the second half…Consistency is in short supply for just about everyone right now(outside of the Seattle Seahawks…).

    There is one consistency: Jay Cutler absolutely sucks…He doesn’t have any spark. He has no belief. Talent wasted on absent heart. He threw 2 picks today. His decision making was horrific. If not for some drops by the Buffalo secondary, it could have easily been 5 picks. I’ve lost all faith in Jay Cutler as a legit NFL QB. and the new coach on the Bears sideline appears to be a Cutler clone…Same spiritless, deadhead, uninspiring, clipboard-holding, soft, jello, boring, anti-Bear. Chicago sports(outside of the Blackhawks)is in its saddest state in decades. PATHETIC.

    Sorry that I went a bit off-topic…Had to get the Bears frustration off the chest. I may become a Colts fan very soon…At least they play with heart.

  6. Harv,

    I agree with the whole spirit and most of the particulars of your post. I’m not making any conclusions. I’m saying that Indiana should sense some serious opportunity here. If you look over that last 25 years of the B1G, which year would you pick for Indiana to have the best chance at making some serious gains? Minny could be standing on this pile at the end of the year. Who knows?

    But, fact remains. We are better. How much better? We’ll see. But, there is no Dreadnought in the B1G this year. And that is good for us.

  7. This football season it is all on IU. If it is a fact that IU football program is improving as thought, IU should be competitive in every big ten game and have a real chance of winning them (maybe not MSU realistically) which should translate into a soli9d winning year.

  8. Honest ramblings Harvard, but long season ahead. Crappy division for Bears. Anything can happen.

    As far as the Big 10’s performance this weekend: other than MSU losing to Whoregon, I was delighted. Nothing like seeing the Buckeyes and Wolverines get obliterated. The whole concept of “rooting for your conference” is obscene to me. I want to see my harshest rivals get stomped, bar none.

  9. But where’s the growth in Cutler’s game? I’ve seen nothing but regression. I know the Bears can’t do any better in the foreseeable future, but I’m beginning to believe it’s never going to happen with Cutler behind center.

    For the most part, I agree with your feelings about enjoying conference rivals getting stomped…But I also think the Big 10 was measured fro years by their success in bowl games(most often the Rose Bowl played in California)and they’ve received a bit of a bad rap for the many dismal showings.

    It’s more of a geographical thing than a particular conference for me…I enjoy watching teams from the Midwest having success on a national stage. Obviously, January weather in the Midwest isn’t real practical for bowl games..But there’s not a lot of balance/fairness in expecting a team traveling over 2000 miles to be as comfortable/fresh/familiar as a team playing in their own backyard. I have very little respect for the entire “bowl” process nor the preference to always play most of the major bowls in Florida, California, or the Southwest.

    I’ve seen some horrific home cookin’ in officiating and there simply has to be more balance for me to ever buy into a belief that anything other than dollars first, balance second, in college football. If we can play a Super Bowl in New Jersey during January, then we can play at least one alternating major college bowl game in the Midwest.

  10. And the Bears still couldn’t pull out a victory with some “home cookin'” of their own in the officiating department yesterday. The late crucial drive to the tie the game was only sustained because the refs picked up a holding flag that was called against the Bears…I’ve watched a lot of football and I can’t remember another game when such a bazaar picking up of a flag(the ref claiming it was “not actually holding” even though “I threw the flag right at the offensive player doing the holding…”)occurred. Oops…We threw a flag…Oops…Didn’t mean to. The Buffalo coach was livid. The Bears were handed a gift…and all they could come away with was a tying field goal instead of the winning touchdown.
    They deserved to lose. The guy they have at QB is pampered …His poor attitude is embraced by teammates. The Bears have built a fraternity of sorts around Cutler’s uninspiring and privileged ways. Could you imagine the Bears with a QB like Andrew Luck paired with a Matt Forte..? Love Forte…but to be totally honest, he even looks like he needs a shot in the ass now and then. It’s an attitude that’s absent. It’s a hunger that I just don’t see that I remember from Bears teams past and Bears players past. From kickoff to final gun, there just isn’t that old Bears spirit to deliver more punishment per pound of football than the opponent is willing to give.

  11. And to think Cutler’s family has ties to my hometown, Chesterton, makes me even more disgusted in his uninspiring attitude.

    Jay’s father, Jack, graduated from Chesterton in 1974, where he played football for the Trojans and still holds some of the school’s rushing touchdown records.

    Jay traveled back to Northwest Indiana many times to visit family and friends of his parents before moving back to the area.

  12. As I stated shortly after Braxton Miller was injured the Bucks are in for a challenging season. I did not realize how poorly the Big Blue Meatchicken is on offense. Or is ND D that good. Both situations IU has to take advantage of.

    Da Bears are in trouble for as long as they have a dummy as the QB.

  13. I agree that Cutler is uninspiring…you hear year after year how great his arm is, but his mistakes always cancel out his talents. Didn’t he go to Vanderbilt? That sounds about right for his pouty, pampered temperament…
    I thought that this year for sure his surrounding talent would be so great that the Bears would be good in spite of him. How hard can it be to throw jump balls to Marshall and Jefferey? Screens to forte? I still think they will come around a bit. Buffalo is an upstart bunch this year; that loss may look Better in week 8 looking back on it.

    @Clarion, credit to you for predicting OSU struggles. I remember that. I though it would be same old same old domination.

  14. OSU’s struggles against VT was predictable, especially given the tenured VT coaching staff. But the major problem was their freshman QB. And his issues are very fixable. OSU has lost the chance to play for the National Championship, and they may not even get to compete for the Big Ten title, but we should assume that they will be a much more effective team by November 22nd.

    Michigan, on the other hand, was humiliated by ND. And that’s not going to sit well with those Alumni. RichRod must be laughing his butt off down in Tucson right now. I see Michigan’s problems to be far more systemic than the challenges facing OSU.

    Both programs will get better, but I think the MI coaching staff could be in trouble. As for IU, let’s hope the coaches and players are just focused on beating Bowling Green this Saturday and improving execution in every phase of the game. Otherwise, it could be a repeat of Purdue’s loss the C-MI.

  15. Happiness is innate. “$126.7 million contract, including $54 million guaranteed” ….? You play a game for a living….It’s in one of the most beautiful cities in America. Your spring and summers are spent laboring over getting better at playing a game. Yes, it’s a tough and violent game, but your health is ruled to be more important than anyone else on the team. Rules are written to protect you…Lineman are fattened like cattle so you don’t accidentally get a run in your pantyhose.

    After a few years at this game, when it’s not the locker room showers, this will be your only towel boy at home.

    What on earth could make you so miserable and pouty?

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