Hoosiers are No. 1

It’s not often – or ever – that you can say that about the IU football team. But Bruce Feldman’s blog says the Hoosiers have the No. 1 softest non-conference schedule in the country. Indiana narrowly edged Texas Tech for the top spot.

At least Northwestern at No. 3 and Iowa at No. 10 ensure the Big Ten is well-represented among the nation’s best at scheduling patsies.

43 comments

  1. I’d rather watch us beat Ball State and try to maintain some momentum with this program than schedule a top 10 team and get smoked. Until we build and continue to improve for a couple years, I dont see any harm with the cupcakes.

  2. i think a patsy schedule is for the birds and is just to get a bowl bid by getting enough wins. at a higher level, it is all about getting a bcs bowl bid.

    i remember back in the 60’s and 70’s iu played texas, washington, washington state, oregon, oregon state, colorado, west virginia, nebraska, lsu — you get the picture — no patsies need apply.

    i would rather watch iu play a good, well-known nonconference team and sometimes win, sometimes lose, but be tested and get better for playing them. it’s more interesting to see somebody like nebraska or colorado than ball state or western kentucky.

    i’m sure michigan said the same thing about playing the likes of notre dame versus the likes of appalachian state last year…

  3. looking at bruce feldman’s line-up of teams with soft schedules, four out of ten are from the big ten. what’s that tell you about how the big ten is scheduling these days?

    even the big boys — ohio state, michigan, penn state and wisconsin – -play a patsy here and there. no wonder the big ten don’t get no respect.

  4. While it may be fun to play a game of “guess the opponent’s mascot” (what the heck is Murray State?), I would love to see IU play a big-name program. But not yet! We’re just starting to make some progress in terms of recruiting which is only going to be fueled by stadium enhancements, bowl games and fan enthusiasm from winning. Once we’re able to sustain a couple bowl seasons, I’d like to see us go to a 3-patsy/1-decent name team schedule (see: Colorado, Kentucky, Pitt, etc.) to balance it out a bit. There is no place for the likes of USC, Texas, etc. on our schedule now or in the near future. Win the 4 patsy games this year, win a bowl game, generate momenetum, then let’s talk bigger things. Go Hoosiers!

  5. I agree with Jim – build some momentum with soft schedules, gain some winning seasons & maybe a couple more bowl games. Then the coaching can look to better players & point to what’s being built at IU, including that addition to the stadium. those seasons of the Dinardo era where IU would travel across the country to get pummeled by Oregon did as much damage to the program as anything.

  6. I hate to say I called it… But I think I just owned a few people who were getting on me a month or so ago because I was calling out IU’s weak a** non-conference schedule year in and year out.

  7. Also, who the hell wants to see IU play any of these cup cakes? No wonder attendance sucks. No one wants to see a bottom feeder Big Ten team play Murray State.

  8. If it werent for the fact that I think the program has some momentum and is making progress, I’d agree. However, I dont see any positives in scheduling ourselves a couple whippings and out of bowl games just to have a cooler sounding opponent. If we want to generate fan interest, recruit interest and momentum, we need to win games. Going 4-8 versus a tougher schedule doesnt do anything but send us backwards because we just arent ready for that. If we can continue to improve in recruits, interest, facilities, a couple more mediocre bowl games, etc then I’ll lead the charge to play Louisville, get UK back, or whoever else. For now, though, I dont really see what we get out of it in the long-term.

    And, even though I want to see us continue to climb and get to where we can schedule big time opponents…for what it’s worth I’d rather play cupcakes and win 7 or 8 and go to a bowl and never change or move beyond that if the alternative is going back to 2-10 seasons and miserable, uncompetitive ass beatings versus almost anyone we play.

  9. Steve O, with that attitude, IU will always struggle with fan support. The games are a blast. The tailgating is awesome and the game time atmosphere at any college football game is just simply amazing. I have gone to the games since I was a kid. I have missed 4 home games since 96. I hope for the best every year. It does get hurtful…the losses, but when we beat Iowa like a couple years ago, it is an AMAZING feeling!!!

  10. Good point, J Pat. I’ll always go even if we never win another game. Because you cant beat B-town in the fall and the Hoosiers are my team.

  11. I agree with the strategy – upgrade the facilities and allow the team to have some success and national exposure to help lure some of the better recruits. That way, when IU actually has to play Michigan and Ohio St. after this year they can actually be competitive…remember IU almost beat Penn St. last year!

  12. I can understand some criticism, but for the most part, all this complaining about the schedule is just an excuse to not support the team. We have attendance problems even during Big Ten games. Florida, OSU, etc…..all those guys play some pretty crappy teams.

    The schedule toughens up in 09. OSU (in Bloomington), Michigan, and South Florida (in Bloomington) are added to the schedule. Are you going to be happy about that, and show up to the games, or are you just going to whine about how “we’re going to get killed”?

  13. And to Jim and J Pat, I agree with you. Tailgating and then watching a Hoosier football game in the Fall is GREAT.

  14. I wouldnt expect anything else. We arent trying to win a national championship here folks. We are just trying to keep the momentum going. Let the big dogs play other big dogs.

    I would have thought we were USC by looking at some of you alls comments.

    Lets learn to walk before we sprint.

  15. With Greenspan gone, hopefully we’ll get back to scheduling at least one compelling non conf game a year. I’m tired of our boys getting shell shocked during the big ten season because they were playing the junior varsity non conf schedule.

  16. Kenny G,

    Once again, you have no clue. We have already scheduled South Florida in 2009 and 2011. They have one of the top teams in all of college football.

  17. When we scheduled South Florida years ago, they were not even close to one of the top teams in college football. In fact, they were one of the worse. If IU knew that they would be getting a top 25 team, they probably would not have made the deal

    Nobody is saying we should be scheduling powerhouse teams (nobody smart at least), but IU should never schedule I-AA teams. I don’t care if other teams do it, they shouldn’t and neither should IU. IU can continue to schedule teams like Murray St, and sure we might win 7 games and go to a bowl game, but we will have no chance to win that bowl game, look at what happened last year. IU was incredibly unprepared to play a team from a BCS conference that wasn’t the Big Ten and they got crushed, did they even get a defensive stop that entire game? I don’t recall. They don’t need to schedule USC or Florida to get themselves ready for a bowl game, but they should schedule one or two middle of the pack BCS conference teams; think teams like maybe a Washington St, Colorado, Ole Miss or NC State. None of those teams are anything better than mediocre, but they are way better than Murray St and would better prepare IU for Big Ten play and a potential bowl game. IU also needs to schedule some road games here and there. I know it doesn’t make them any money, but again it makes them a better team. They should never lose at Northwestern, and getting crushed at Michigan St is unacceptable as well

  18. LOL. We have scheduled a “tougher” game, but that’s not good enough because we may not have expected them to improve by the time we played them. Brilliant. Some people truly amaze me.

  19. I’d be happy if we modestly upgraded the schedule just by resuming the series with Kentucky. I mean, we’re playing Western and Murray, but not UK?? HUH???? I’ve got some Kentucky alum co-workers, and they all agree that they miss the game with Indiana. Needless to say, they’re not all that fired up for that UK vs. Norfolk St. matchup this year, just as we’re not that excited about IU vs. Murray St………

    JBldny, I’m not going to defend the Dinardo administration, but IU did beat Oregon in Eugene, which is a hard thing to do. If you’re going to make a point, it’s best to get your facts straight on the front end.

  20. This is exactly the reason that Bill Lynch was a terrible hire. IU schedule has been ridiculously easy last year and it is again this year. He darn well could make a bowl again. But i GUARANTEE it will be the last time.

  21. I think he was probably referring to the trip to Washington, not our fluke in Oregon. That, or any other trip we’ve taken to a BCS Conference school.

  22. @ JBIndy

    When IU beat Oregon at Oregon and crushed the Ducks season, no one was saying that traveling out west was damaging the program…but I guess that was a few years ago, easy to forget

  23. Will, football schedules are set several years in advance. I’m not sure how much Lynch has to do with this year’s schedule. We stopped playing Kentucky before he got to IU, so I’m not sure he has anything to do with that, either. I agree the schedule is too easy to prepare the team for games against good teams, but I don’t know that Lynch has much to do with this year’s schedule or last year’s, which was definitely set before Coach Hoeppner passed away.

  24. Since 1995 versus non-conference, non-MAC, non-1AA schools we are 6-18. That includes 2-9 vs UK and 2-0 vs Cincinnati and wins vs Oregon and Southern Miss. And 0-2 vs UNC, NC State, Utah and UConn and 0-1 vs Washington. And I guess 6-19 actually with Oklahoma State as another L.

    In the interest of winning games and getting to bowls and continuing to attract more interest, attention, etc from recruits and fans, I think the soft schedule is necessary to rebuild. If we can go to 2 more bowls, lets get UK and someone else back on the schedule.

    Most people would struggle to remember who we played in the non-conf last year or what year we even played Oregon, but they remember a bowl season regardless.

  25. IU fans are too savy to fall for ‘bowl seasons’ created by sketchy scheduling. The beat down Oklahoma St put on us made the novelity of going to a bowl wear off real quick. IU fans will not come to the rock to see us dominate MAC and division II schools and will not passionately support a paper tiger. We need a name to put on the marquee to draw interest from fans and show our boys on the field the athletic bar they need to reach for us to dominate the Big Ten.

  26. Well, I’m about to bow out here because I have other things to do and because reasonable people can just disagree and I think that’s the conclusion we’re going to have here no matter how long we talk.

    But first, I’m not sure what it matters that a bowl season is created via scheduling. We arent trying to win a national championship, at least yet, so are you saying you’d rather play Louisville and Oklahoma and not go to a bowl or have a winning record, but have the personal satisfaction that we went against the best and know we’re 30 points worse than the best teams? Sure it’s nice to play a higher caliber opponent, but does nothing for the long-term in trying to get this program out of the basement. And if the two options are last year with a weak schedule and a bowl or the past ten years getting smoked, I’d take last year’s season over and over again. At least we beat Purdue, were competitive in almost every game, and broke our bowl-less streak.

    I’d also argue that whether or not you win the bowl game hardly matters. Can you recall who Purdue has played or whether they won their recent bowl games? I can’t. What everyone does know is that they’ve been going to them on a regular basis. And have been a major player in the league a few of those times.

    “Dominate the Big Ten”? Baby steps.

    Either way, I’m behind the Hoosiers no matter who it is, USC or Bloomington North.

  27. AMEN, Kenny G, there shouldn’t be sooo many bowl games, where teams who are mediocre at best, get to play in a glorified “post season” that should really reward the best teams instead of teams who pad their records with cupcake wins.

    Also, attendance is an issue. Period. Those of you who say the tailgating is fun, and it’s a fun atmosphere are right, but it seems like more people are staying out in the parking lot or just passing out in the field across the street than actually going into the stadium to watch us kick some division 1-AA team’s a$$.

  28. And you can’t even call this schedule soft!!! I don’t know if there is a word that’s fit to describe how terrible the schedule looks. We have the #1 weakest non-conference schedule in america. That right there should eliminate us from bowl contention. Not to mention, no Michigan or Ohio State on the regular season sechedule.

  29. I lied; still procrastinating.

    Outside of the top couple bowls, who cares anyway? I have this debate with a friend all the time, but outside of the BCS bowls and maybe a couple others, no one cares, pays attention, or even claims the participants are great teams. It’s just something for the team, school, AD, etc to shoot for and to make money. I don’t see a problem with two 0-12 teams playing a bowl. It actually may be more intersting than the Motor City and others.

    I’m just imagining how great a sellout for Texas in Bloomington would be. Probably 5K or more Texas fans and 20K of ours back across the street before halftime. That’d be a real stepping stone. Even better, we could travel to LSU and get walloped by 50. And then after starting out with a couple embarassing losses and little hope for the rest of the year, NO one would come over from across 17th Street. But, hey, at least we played the big dogs. But, maybe we could keep it close. Like when we scheduled the mighty Salukis at home a couple years ago. I’m sure if we can hang with them and almost win, we’re ready for anybody.

    But, ok, let’s schedule 4 teams from BCS conferences and we can get all those people to come in and watch us get smoked. And finish with 2-4 wins per year…….forever.

  30. Good poind Jim, we can’t have Texas, LSU, and USC on the schedule every year, but there has to be a medium. Throw in a Texas or an LSU or even another mediocre team from a BCS conference. How am I going to explain to my Maryland fan friends, the yea, we made a bowl, but we also had the weakest schedule in the country.

  31. I agree, Steve O. If we win 7-8 this year and are able to do so again in ’09, then I’ll be right with you demanding for UK, Louisville, Maryland, Missouri, or even Florida. Whoever. I just think to maintain some sort of momentum and progress, it’s not the worst thing in the world that we’re playing some patsies. Point is, we’re not too far removed from being a perennial patsy ourselves. If I recall correctly, Barry Alvarez used a similar strategy when he began rebuilding the Wisconsin program and that turned out pretty well. I think U of L and probably others did so as well. And, obviously everyone does with at least 1-2 games each year.

    And I’d tell your Maryland friends we’re working on it and its not an overnight process. A few years ago, we wouldve done anything for a bowl even if we joined Bloomington North’s conference. It just takes some time. Credit to you, though, for still speaking to your Maryland friends at all after March 2002. Must be good friends.

  32. Actually you are right. Playboy did a study in the mid/late 90’s and if the tailgaters went to the games, we would sell out every Big 10 game with IU fans. I am one that is cool with that, I just hope one day everyone will go to a game. I have a block of 8 tix and we really have a blast. Steve O, join us sometime man. I will say that if we won that bowl game, you will not have to explain to your Maryland friends anything at all. Also, Just remind them of the beating Cov and friends put on them at Conseco in that revenge game.

    The talk about the schedule must stop, what the heck is the big deal? I have watched IU get killed more often than not for almost 15 years. I have walked to the car dejected and listening to other schools fans talk crap in my own backyard. If we play a cupcake schedule which gets us to 2 straight bowls and use that as a stepping stone and to sell to recruits and it works, so be it. We can hope to schedule the big boys one day. Bitchin about the soft schedule aint gonna do it! Get in a seat! I wonder if those that are so negative about this whole schedule actually go to the games???

  33. I went to IU, and have friends who are still there. I do go to the games, but I’m one of the few who can down 15 beers and still walk my a$$ across the street and to my seat. It’s just frustrating, because I am passionate about IU sports and want them to succeed. I’m being critical of the athletic department and coaching staff, not the players themselves.

    Also, the thought of us playing in some crap bowl against Youngstown State because we both floated through the regular season makes me really sick. It’s embarassing as a fan.

    And what about teams in the top 5 or so that have a chance to make the national championship? The team who played Florida and Texas and lost both has no shot, but the team who played Texas and Northern Illinois and only lost to Texas is in. I guess it’s not something that has an easy fix. But none-the-less it is frustrating as hell!!!

  34. I’m with you on all that, Steve O. I went there and am working on my 2nd and 3rd IU degrees in Indy. I usually have a great time tailgating and drink my share, but make it over. Unfortunately, many dont. But I think the culture is slowly changing. At least people seem a little more interested in what’s going on and listen to the radio some and consider going sometimes. Look at the Bucket game, it was a game that mattered that people thought we could win and it was packed. There’s hope if we can keep climbing.

    Both scenarios are embarassing really; playing crap teams to get the W’s or playing good teams and getting whipped. I think the prior is best for now and then test the waters in a couple years.

    We could schedule ourselves into a bowl and 7 wins every year and it’d be better than what we’ve done by far. Playing Youngstown State in a bowl is better than going 3-9 and playing no one.

    And, I think it’s important to remember, a lot of people would probably complain about playing in some crap bowl against Indiana. It’s not like we should get a big head just because we’re in the Big Ten, most people dont respect us at all in football nor have they had any reason to for many years, until last year and hopefully the future.

  35. I like to get crazy drunk at the tailgates then show up at the game and scream at Lynch about his play calling and lack of adjustments until i’m horse.

  36. you actually turn into a horse??? duuuuude, that must be some real magic potion youre drinking!

  37. No surprise here with the Lynch staff scheduling a schedule that will make stupid people think IU is on the rise. Wrong choice for coach, wrong future for IU

  38. Great comment, Mikie. You really know what you’re talking about; and I like being called stupid. Way to go! Please share some more of your wisdom with us, great one.

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