So, let’s get this out there in the open. Indiana Football fans, you need to remain calm. There is a chance that the Hoosiers are 3-2, or even 2-3, after their first five games. If so, don’t panic. Keep your heads. Everything is going to be fine.
Will we be disappointed? Sure. We want to see Indiana win every time they take the field. But that’s asking a lot in the Big Ten. Sure, the program seems poised to have another tremendous season, but it won’t come without some bumps along the way.
Those bumps may come in the form of the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first game and the fifth game, both on the road, and also in a home game with a very good Cincinnati team in the third game of the season.
Sure, the Hoosiers are good enough to win all of those games. But opening the season at Iowa is going to be a tall order. Iowa finished last season at 6-2, just like Indiana. And the two loses? A 21-20 loss to a 7-2 Northwestern team, and an embarrassing 24-20 loss to a bad Purdue team. Both losses were in Iowa City. So, they are definitely beatable up there. But they were also 7 points away from being a perfect 8-0 in the games they played.
The Nittany Lion’s struggled to a 4-5 record, losing at home to Iowa, Maryland, and Ohio State. Indiana eked out a win against Penn State last year, 36-35, in overtime. (In case you have been living in a cave.)
Both of these games are winnable games. I’m not implying that they are not. What I am saying is, if Indiana is 3-2, or even 2-3, through five games, remain calm. Don’t panic.
Following their opener in Iowa City on September 4, the Hoosiers host the Idaho Vandals a week later in Memorial Stadium. A little home cooking will help them right the ship regardless of what happens in the opener. The Vandals posted a dismal 2-4 record last season, and the two wins were over Eastern Washington and Southern Utah. Not exactly stellar competition.
In the third game of the season, Indiana hosts the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats had a great campaign in 2020-21, finishing with an impressive 9-1 record, with the lone loss coming in the Peach Bowl to then 11th ranked Georgia. The Bearcats went into that game ranked number 6 in the country and only lost it on a 53-yard field goal at the end. Indiana is going to have its hands full.
In the fourth game of the season, Indiana goes on the road to Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers finished last season 5-7. They only played against one really good team last season—a BYU team that finished the season 11-1. The result was a 41-10 smack-down by the Cougars. Though this is a road game, it’s a game Indiana should, and must, win.
Now, I don’t want you to think I am being negative. I’m really not. Indiana could go 3-2, or even 2-3, over their first five and still have a very good season. And I fully expect they will. I think Tom Allen has a little more magic up his sleeve.
But if the Hoosiers lose a couple of games early, that’s okay. We as fans just need to stay positive and keep cheering them on.
Tom Allen has proven to us that he knows how to coach this football team, and to lead this program.
The influx of talent to Indiana shows us that recruits and transfers from around the country believe that too. Let’s trust him to do the job.
I’ve been an Indiana Football and Basketball fan all of my life. And in my 45 years, I have seen some things. I know how we are. We love our Hoosiers passionately, on the gridiron and on the court. But we also tend to overreact to losses.
Here is my impassioned plea as we count down to that much-anticipated kickoff in Iowa City on September 4. Relax. Remain confident and calm. It’s going to be okay. Everybody breathe. 3-2, 2-3, or whatever. Let’s keep our eyes on the long-term and be thankful that we finally have the right man at the helm of the Hoosier program. #LEO