Last year was a good year for Notre Dame (minus that whole National Title game and Mantei Teo thing), but the other Indiana schools in “Power” conferences didn’t do so Hot. Purdue had a disappointing year, leading to the firing to Danny Hope (sorry Purdue fans, I know this brings back bad memories). IU had a successful season by recent standards (they won a Big Ten game, which hadn’t happened in a couple of year), but with a Bowl game on the line, the Hoosier feel apart down the home stretch. Ball State was steady again in the MAC, and UIndy won their conference for the first time and won its first ever playoff games (but was subsequently eliminated by the best team in D-II). But that was last year, and living in the past didn’t get anyone anywhere, so let’s take a look at what 2013 has in store for the Indiana football schools.
Notre Dame- Notre Dame starts this fall ranked #14 in the AP poll, and #11 in the USA Today coach’s poll. Like stated above, the Irish played for the National Title last year and by all accounts looked like a D-II team compared to Alabama. The Irish fans, (and I assume) players, and coaches didn’t feel like that game was an adequate representation of their season as a whole and they are no doubt trying to rectify that last game of last year and get back to the Title game. The Irish have 4 games against preseason ranked teams as well as several other rivalry games on the road which most people will tell you are not a walk in the park. Good News for Irish fans though, every game will again be televised, because… well… you are still Notre Dame and that’s part of the tradition. Notre Dame is going to have a good year, but I don’t see another National Title appearance for the Irish… and a BCS bowl might be a stretch as well.
Purdue- Purdue has new hope in the form of a new coach in Darren Hazel. I have heard the commercials driving to and from work. He is saying all the right things; he wants Purdue back to the glory of years gone by. He has said he is going to bring back the high flying offense, and rejuvenate the cradle of the quarterback. Again, he is saying all the right things, but talk doesn’t necessarily translate to wins. The big ten still has several strong teams, and Purdue didn’t get luck when it comes to scheduling. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State and Ohio State to open the Big Ten schedule. Their non-conference schedule doesn’t have much help either with Notre Dame, Cincinatti and Northern Illinois on the agenda… and the bucket game is down in B-Town this year, and IU has been showing signs of improvement between last year and this upcoming season IU might actually try to take the bucket back this year. This might be a down year for Purdue, so it will be interesting to see how the fan base reacts. Boiler up!
IU- IU was in a spot last year where 3 straight wins would have got them a chance to play for the Big Ten title. They lost all 3 in glorious fashion with all 3 losses being by double digits. IU has improved under coach Wilson, but by no means are they the class of the Big Ten this year. IU can score… we learned that last year, and they were running out a freshmen QB last year. IU’s biggest problem has been, and probably will continue to be on the defensive side of the football. IU lost 4 or 5 games last year despite scoring over 30 points. If IU can stop anybody on defense they might just have a shot to make a bowl game. All 4 of the Hoosiers non-conference games are at Memorial Stadium, but all 3 teams that are on their schedule that are ranked to begin the season… are on the road. But, there is more good news, the other conference games, against the weaker Big Ten teams, are at home. The big highlight for Hoosier fans is that the Bucket game (hey, I feel like I wrote about his already) which is in Bloomington and if IU defense shows some signs of a pulse, this is a winnable game. IU returns 19 starters, so if the rebuild is truly happening, this year is the year to prove it. I am going to stick my neck out here and say that the Hoosiers squeak into a bowl game at 6-6.
Ball State- I will be honest, of the teams I am writing about here today I know the least about the Cardinals. In recent years, the Cardinals have been in the bowl hunt most years, and I expect nothing less going into this year. Ball State got knocked around a bit by the class of the Big Ten last year (Kent State, Ohio, Toledo), but otherwise did pretty well in the conference, and they knocked off IU in Bloomington last fall to open the season. Ball State has 1 power conference team on their schedule (Virginia), but otherwise play other Mid Majors. Like most MAC teams, I expect a lot of high scoring games coming out of Muncie IN this year.
UIndy- UIndy is coming off its first playoff berth, its first playoff win, its first conference title, and most are likely optimistic down on the south side of Indy. UIndy starts the season ranked 19th and 13th in Division II polls and is the favorite to win the GLVC again this season.
Thanks for Reading,
-T.O. signing out