Let’s address Indiana’s non-conference football schedule. We think it’s smart scheduling given the current state of the program. Some think it’s pathetic, embarrassing and just plain wrong. Then they think we’re idiots.
Let’s take a look to see who’s right (EDITOR’S NOTE: It is our blog, so we have a built-in advantage).
IU hosts Towson, Akron and Arkansas State. It plays at Western Kentucky. These teams combined to go 9-37 last year.
Akron might be the worst team in the Mid-American Conference. Western Kentucky used to be in what was once called Division I-AA and is now called something like subterranean championship division. Whatever. The NCAA can never make things simple. Anyway, Western Kentucky moved up to Division I-A last year –- it’s in the Sunbelt Conference -- and went 0-12.
Arkansas State also is in the Sunbelt and went 4-8. It is projected to finish in the middle of the Sunbelt pack. Towson is a member of the whatever division. Okay, it’s actually called the Football Championship Subdivision. Anyway, it’s a notch down from the big boys. In other words, it should be fodder for the Hoosiers.
On paper this is a lackluster schedule. It will not stir the blood, generate huge sellouts and bring ESPN’s College Game Day to Bloomington.
That, of course, isn’t the point. The Hoosiers are trying to build a program. They need winning records and bowl games, and if it comes in part from playing not-quite-ready-for-prime-time teams, so be it.
IU tried playing the Oregons and North Carolina States of the world several years ago and it didn’t go well. Yes, we know the Hoosiers somehow upset Oregon in a game where you wonder if somebody sold somebody’s soul to You Know Who, but overall it was a disaster.
If Indiana puts together a string of winning seasons, if it shows it’s ready to sustain a run of solid success, much in the way that Northwestern has, then it can slip in a Vanderbilt or Colorado or Navy. Yes, restoring the Kentucky rivalry would be good.
For now, though, bring on the patsies.