Friday, October 28, 2011

Look for Hoosier-Wildcat Shootout; Zeller Plays to Hype; Is $2,000 Fair?

Figure a shootout is coming Saturday with Indiana and Northwestern knocking heads in a Hoosier Homecoming.

Both teams have defenses no coach wants to take credit for. The Hoosiers can’t defend the pass or stop the run. The Wildcats can’t defend anything.

So that’s a wash.

Northwestern has a strong offense with its spread attack that even a defense as formidable as Penn State struggled to deal with. It can run and pass, but it’s a better passing team.

IU might have an offense now that Tre Roberson has taken control at quarterback. The Hoosiers showed something at Iowa by scoring 24 points and racking up long drives. They should be able to get in the end zone often enough to make things entertaining, anyway.


Cody Zeller makes other guys better. Is there a more positive comment you can here about a player, especially a freshman?

In truth, no. A guy who makes others better is rare. To do it at such a young age, is special.

Zeller has benefitted from having two older brothers play major college ball. He knows what he has to do, and he’s doing it. Granted, it’s early and he’s only doing it against teammates. We’ll see what happens when he faces Kentucky and Ohio State, and the other prime-time opponents on the schedule.

For now, though, the early optimism seems accurate. It’s even more reason for Hoosier fans to get excited.


A lot has been made about all the players leaving the football program since Kevin Wilson took over from Bill Lynch.

That’s not usual. Different coaches have different player needs. Not every player responds favorable to a new coach.

It’s obvious Wilson wasn’t the coach for some of the veterans. It’s also obvious some of the veterans weren’t the players for Wilson.

Doug Mallory, the co-defensive coordinator, remembers when his father, Bill, took over the IU program in the early 1980s. Three new coaches in three years had decimated the talent pool. The elder Mallory installed a disciplined, tough-minded approach that also didn’t suit the veterans. No matter. When he had taken over the Colorado program a decade earlier 35 players left his first year.

“Any time you come in with a transition you’ll have guys who won’t buy into the work ethic,” Doug Mallory said. “You hope it’s a smooth transition. Sometimes, it’s not. You get buys who want to be part of this program.”


How is this $2,000 extra money the NCAA Division I board of directors just approved anything but a way for the elite schools to have an even bigger advantage over their mid-major competitors?

Yeah, we know. The supposed purpose was to help athletes pay for the extras they need to make it in college, like laundry, food, dates and, at certain schools, tattoos.

The powers in the power conferences worked out a deal sure to boost their recruiting edge.


Because mid-major conferences such as the Horizon (Butler thrives there) and the Mid-American (Ball State is a member) likely don’t have the financial resources to pay that money. The Big Ten certainly does because of the lucrative Big Ten Network, although figure league athletic directors would have preferred to keep the money for other uses.

Say you’re a stud high school player. Your choice is Butler and IU. Not only do you consider the usual criteria, you have to think about money. Go to IU and you’d get an extra $8,000, $10,000 if you stay for five years.

Yeah, that matters.

You’d better believe Tom Crean and his staff will mention that if they’re in a recruiting battle with the Butlers of the college basketball world.

They will be, and they will win. That’s good for the Hoosiers, bad for mid majors.

Is that fair? No. But that’s not the point. Now, if the power conferences were about fairness, they’d have some sort of revenue sharing so every Division I school would be able to afford the $2,000 benefit.

That ain’t gonna happen. So if you’re a BCS school, you’re in control. If you’re not, you gripe, just as you do about the lack of a football national playoff.

Then you hope things will get better.

1 comment:

  1. Butler could probably come up with the money for those recruits.
    Before the football season you hyped Wilson and the recruits, now you make excuses for him. We may win a game this year as teams consider us toast, and even if that occurs, we are still .. toast.