2011 Season Expectations


Hey it’s early but let’s talk about expectations for next season. Wilson and his staff have reiterated their point numerous times that they are here to win today. The loss of Ben Chappell at the QB spot will be tough to overcome and a lot of next year’s success will depend on what kind of production we can get from the QB position. Is a bowl game a possibility in Wilson’s first year? Let’s take a look at the schedule.

9/3/11 at Ball State
9/10/11 Virginia
09/17/11 South Carolina State
09/24/11 at North Texas
10/01/11 Penn State
10/08/11 Illinois
10/15/11 at Wisconsin
10/22/11 at Iowa
10/29/11 Northwestern
11/05/11 at Ohio State
11/12/11 Bye Week
11/19/11 at Michigan State
11/26/11 Purdue

One of the first things that I liked when looking at the schedule is the fact our bye week isn’t the second week of the season like it had been in previous years. Next season’s bye week could be a few weeks late but I would rather have it then to allow us to finish the season strong instead of the Hoosiers getting run down towards the end of the seasonand stumbling to the finish line. We do add back Virginia next season in non conference and our non conference schedule will only get more difficult in the next couple of years. Hoosier fans would love to forget what happened when we traveled to Virginia a few years ago and have a chance to show that our loss was very uncharacteristic when they come to Bloomington.

I don’t think it is unreasonable to think that the Hoosiers can get to a bowl game in Wilson’s first year. The non conference schedule isn’t all that difficult and we should come away with 3-4 wins. One of the biggest issues the Hoosier football team has had to the last few years was more of a mindset issue than a talent issue. We knocked on the door so many times the last few years and just couldn’t finish out games. Wilson and his staff have spent a lot of time already focusing on getting the team to buy into a better mentality in their preparation. So far the players are buying in and seem very eager to work through these spring practices. Many different coaches have said that the talent is there and it’s just a matter of getting them to have the right mindset and confidence in their play.

I think this mental adjustment will allow the Hoosiers to pick up a couple more Big Ten victories next season. Purdue, Northwestern, and Illinois are teams that jump out right away that I think we should have a good chance of winning if we just play to our potential. The fact that the Hoosiers have played Iowa and others extremely tough shows that they are pretty close to pulling off an upset every year but just can’t close out some of those games. I am confident that under Wilson and his new staff we might be able to pull one of those types of games next season.

The schedule sets up nicely for the Hoosiers to get the program back on track. The non conference schedule isn’t awfully difficult but they will travel on the road to Ball State (technically Lucas Oil) and North Texas which always makes things a little bit more interesting. If they can take 3-4 of the non conference games and play like an average Big Ten team in conference play then they should be set up nicely to pull out 6-7 wins for a bowl game. Like I said before, a lot will depend on what kind of production we can get from the QB spot. The WR core is still solid and we return 4 starters on the O-line. Coach Frey should be able to get a little bit more out of them than we have in the past and we have a lot of young RB’s in case Willis gets injured.

We have the talent at the defensive tackle position and at the linebacker spot and hopefully most of the defense will be able to get coached up with the new staff. Secondary is always an issue but there are a couple of young guys (ex. Lawrence Barnett) who should be considered upgrades if they can play to their potential and a healthy Chris Adkins at the safety spot won’t hurt either.

Hey it’s early but let’s throw out some predictions. In Wilson’s first year I’m going to say he gets us to at least 6-6 and to a lower tier bowl game. This will be the first step in turning around the program and with some success on the field Wilson should be able to bring in a good size upgrade in the recruiting game.