Friday, September 25, 2009

The Amazingly Anonymous Hoosiers Shooting For Respect

You have three seconds to answer this question - and no, you can't phone a friend and you can't use Google - who is the head football coach at Indiana University?

Didn't get it? You're probably not the only one.

The answer is Bill Lynch and he's in his third year at the helm of the Hoosiers.

But don't beat yourself up about it - Michigan hasn't played the Hoosiers since a 34-3 spanking in Bloomington in 2006 but there's a bigger reason at play: over the last decade Indiana has made its football program into arguably the most anonymous program in the Big Ten.

Not since Antwaan Randle-El graduated in 2002 have the Hoosiers had a truly "marquee player" who receives national attention (he finished sixth in Heisman voting that year). Here are some other interesting facts: Indiana's last visit to the Rose Bowl was in 1968, the last time they finished a season in the AP Top 25 was 1988 (20), and they did not play in bowl game from 1994-2006.

It's also fairly easy for Michigan fans to ignore Indiana because the all-time series sits at 50-9 (not in favor of the Hoosiers), Michigan hasn't lost to the Hoosiers since 1987 and last lost to the Hoosiers at home in 1967.

That being said Bill Lynch does have this Hoosiers team at 3-0 coming into play at Michigan Stadium this Saturday. But - and there's always a "but" - those wins are over Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan and Akron. Now I know what any Michigan haters are saying, other than Notre Dame Michigan has played two MAC teams!

Indiana beat Eastern Kentucky by 6, WMU by 4 and Akron by 17.

Michigan beat WMU by 24, ND by 4 and Eastern Michigan by 28.

Clearly, though, M cannot take any opponent lightly - especially not the Big Ten opener. Indiana is hungry to go 4-0 and to wipe the smiles off of all M fans across the country. Michigan is suddenly a media darling again (see Sports Illustrated's September 21 issue) and all Michigan fans are salivating for a 12-0 season (realistic fans are still salivating for a 7-5 season).

Indiana will bring in the "Pistol" formation on offense. It's like a shortened shotgun formation where the QB stands back from the centers a few yards and the RB remains behind the QB. The Pistol theoretically helps the QB and RB read the running game, especially on the interior of the line.

Will this unorthodox look foul up M's defense? It's really anyone's guess when it comes to the "bend don't break" defense M has been running out so far through three games.

On defense the Hoosiers have a pair of bona fide pass rushers: Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton have combined for 40 sacks in their careers at Indiana. This will surely put pressure on M's freshman QB and a line that's been reshuffled because of C David Molk's injury. Expect them to get to Tate Forcier, but let's hope M can counter their pressure with some timely draw plays to Brandon Minor and Michael Shaw and some screens to Carlos Brown. I would also like to see TE Kevin Koger to reestablish himself this week after the passing game basically took the EMU game off.

I fully expect Indiana to put some points on the board, but Michigan is averaging 38 points a game and the Wolverines will outscore the Hoosiers.

Michigan 35, Indiana 21.

Michigan will surpass it's 2008 win total in one month of the 2009 season...the Hoosiers will remain largely anonymous at least this week.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

35-21 sounds about right. Let's hope M gets a comfortable lead in order to get the subs some time in the 4th quarter. And keep everybody healthy for the trip to EL next week.