Hoosier Scoop Sage Take of the Day, Nov. 6, 2012

Wise coaches contend that the biggest game is always the next one.
In Indiana football’s case, that just happens to be especially true this week.
Wisconsin’s big bad Badgers of Bret Bielema come calling at noon Saturday with a clear path toward representing the Leaders Division at the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis at stake.
How will IU’s football fan base, such as it is, react?
Cynics might suggest that, for many years, perhaps the question worth pondering wasn’t so much why Indiana couldn’t draw more fans to its football games as why it kept drawing as many as it did. But there was always an redoubtably loyal core of 30,000 or so. Good weather and/or good matchups, and even occasional spells of play deemed encouraging, have augmented that number.
Weather was one factor why the fans maybe deserve a bit of pass for last Saturday, even though this Indiana team had certainly played in a manner meriting support and had an important matchup against Iowa on tap.
Rain, wind, sleet and hail combining with sub-40-degree temperatures tested even the loyalists that afternoon — even before lightning prompted two delays that shoved kickoff back by over an hour. It was the sort of raw day where the cold gets right into your bones. Especially for folks with kids in tow, that was fairly daunting stuff. Watching the game on TV someplace warm and dry probably seemed a perfectly viable option. The “crowd” that actually made it into Memorial Stadium stayed pretty sparse, though those who did arrive were admirably fervent and steadfast.
Indiana doesn’t have the sort of football tradition engendering fan hordes that always brave the elements, packing the place come hades or high water. That’s not yet part of IU’s cultural context, which is just one of the things coach Kevin Wilson and his hard-working crew are endeavoring to change.
But after IU posted its second straight Big Ten win to set up this week’s showdown with Bucky Badger, a blizzard shouldn’t keep any true fan away. This stacks up as the biggest IU home football game since, maybe, the epic Old Oaken Bucket tilt in 2007. And as it happens, the extended forecast for Saturday is partly sunny and temps in the mid-60s. So no meteorological rationalizations need apply.
Plus, potential Big Ten title game ramifications aside, Bielema makes for a perfect foil in the eyes of many Hoosier fans painfully aware that his Badgers have hung a combined 142 points on Indiana the past two years. That includes the 83-20 result in 2010 that held IU up to national ridicule and helped cost Bill Lynch, as good and decent a man as one could find in coaching, his job.
Bielema actually called off the dogs a bit in last year’s 59-7 rout, but some IU fans remain pretty frosted about what they perceive was his running up the score the year before.
The Wisconsin coach probably wasn’t necessarily out to win Hoosier hearts and minds during Monday’s press availability when he noted, matter-of-factly, that Indiana is “a 4-5 football team that has a chance to win a championship and is talking Rose Bowl and all that jazz, so they’re playing with really good confidence, and I’ll give Kevin (Wilson) credit for that.
“For us here at Wisconsin to have a game in November that matters really isn’t new, but I get where you’re coming from, from Indiana’s point of view. But hey, they’ve earned their right to get there, and they’re going to try to defend it to the fullest.”
To defend The Rock to the fullest, so to speak, Wilson’s Hoosiers would very much benefit from a big, engaged Hoosier crowd urging them on.
They should get one. They deserve it. They’ve played hard and competitively in every game this season, playing a generally exciting brand of football and exceeding everybody’s expectations but their own while overcoming some fairly significant adversity along the way (wherefore art thou, Tre Roberson?)
Maybe someday soon people will consider Memorial Stadium the place to be on Saturdays in the fall, whomever the opponent and whatever the weather. Regardless, those who consider themselves true IU fans and wish to live up to that designation should probably find a way to be there this particular Saturday.


  1. One sign of how far IU football has come this year is the spread is only 7 points for Saturday’s game. From a symbolic point of view, an IU win Saturday would be as big a milestone as the basketball win vs. kentucky last year.

  2. Badgers?… we don’t need no stinking Badgers!!

    Aruss you are spot on…. a win this Saturday over Wisc would be monumental… an impact of Biblical proportions!!

    I’ll be there in Section 28 cheering for the Hoosiers. I hope the Hoosier faithful get to the game and really back this team…don’t just come for the tailgate and all that hoopla…come into Memorial Stadium and root for this team. CKW has this team believing in themselves. Hoosier Nation needs to get out and support this football team Saturday!! Go Hoosiers…beat the Badgers!!

  3. Bielema’s comment regarding IU being a 4-5 team, talking Rose Bowl is designed to inspire his team, which has underachieved to this point. CKW has not mentioned a B1G Championship nor the Rose Bowl, it’s been the press. To the contrary, CKW has only stressed daily improvement. Bielema’s statement about Wisconsin having meaningful games in November was patently disrespectful, while also true (he’s probably still stinging from Darius Latham’s decommitment from Wisconsin and strong lean toward IU).
    After Saturday Bielema will speak with more respect when mentioning our Hoosiers, just like D’Antonio, Meyer, Fitzgerald and Niumatalolo.
    The football program deserves a Memorial Stadium packed with raucus fans to bear witness to our Hoosiers getting better on November 10th.


  4. This game is important in many ways. Crean always talked about how great the basketball crowds were and how helpful it was to his team. It’s time we showed the football team the same support.
    This weekend will be huge for recruiting in both basketball and football. Noah Vonleh is in town for basketball, and will most likely attend the football game. There is a “movement” occurring in football recruiting that fan support could help make this one of the best football recruiting classes ever. Let’s get to the game early and show support to recruits like we did at Hoosier Hysteria.

  5. Brett Bielema is the most disrespectful coach in the B1G, the look on his face makes me want to punch babies, and I love kids!

    His comments about Wisconsin playing meaningful games in November is laughable. In his attempt to put down the Hoosiers, he actually put down his own team he took a week off in November…..

    As always I will be in my seat for kickoff, cheering on this team. I think I’ll bring a jacket this weekend, it was a little chilly in the 4th quarter on Saturday.

  6. Hey, who doesn’t love punching babies?

    Wish I could be there cheering along with you.

    Hey, do the Hoosiers have any ‘signature food’ they serve at games? Virginia Tech has turkey legs, Wisky has brats, and so forth. How about the Rock?

    Maybe ‘mini stroms’?

  7. I’m ashamed to say that I won’t be ther Saturday. Probably not, anyway. Saturdays are crucial in my line of work, especially this Saturday, although I’m tempted to play hookie & drive south. Either way, I just want to see a good performance. The last 2 have been sluggish, offensively anyway, we’ll need to be on top of our game this week. I really am surprised that in these times of PC, Bielema(one could easily adjust the spelling of his name to a certain disorder, but that would be equally disrespectful & offensive thus making me a hypocrite & a jerk) would go there. Seriously? What an ass. I hope that’s pasted all over the IU locker room.

  8. This is a game I’d really, really love to be in the stands for. I hope it is everything it has the potential to be, the day the Hoosiers ‘turned the corner’.

    Go Big Red.

  9. This is awesome for getting fans fired up. It is terrific to finally have a true Hoosier fan covering the team instead of the darn out of state guys!!!!!

  10. If the offense plays like they did the first half against Michigan State and defense like they did against Iowa last weekend, I think we have a good chance at winning. It seems to me that in most of the games this season either the offense showed up or the defense did, but never really both. If both show up to play this Saturday, watch out!

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