Monday, August 22, 2011

Pre-Season Countdown: #9

Here's our list of games from easiest to most difficult:

#12  Indiana State University
#11  Eastern Michigan University
#10  Temple

And with a great big YAWN, we introduce #9 . . .


I came to the Big Ten so I wouldn't have
to play Oklahoma State anymore!
As we touched on in our Countdown to the season #10 (Temple), the Hoosiers are sporting a new head coach, former OC for the Oklahoma Sooners.  Unfortunately, offense has not been the biggest problem with the Hoosiers the past few years.  Their defense allowed 34 points per game (ranked 102nd in the nation) last season. 

But the Hoosiers return five of their front seven, so with some experience on the line, hopefully that stat will improve.

That said, the Hoosiers need to replace QB Ben Chappell who passed for 3,295 yards a year ago.  Both candidates for the job are listed as 'good passers who can run.'  Kevin Wilson is also planning on adding the hurry-up offense, which will be a change for the team.

Overall, the team returns 14 starters (six on offense, 6 on defense, plus the kicker and punter) from a team that limped to a 5-7 season last year.

The first four games for the Hoosiers are Ball State, Virginia, South Carolina State, and North Texas.  With a little luck against the Cavaliers, Indiana might come into this game undefeated.  Penn State must overcome the Tide to make the same claim.  The safe odds are that these two teams will meet with records of 3-1.

Both PSU and Indiana will open Big Ten play, with the Lions coming off a prep game against EMU and the Hoosiers returning from a trip to North Texas.  Both teams may be in a sugar coma from their cupcake.

Penn State has struggled in Big Ten openers over the years, and strangely seems to open on the road more often than at home.

1993MinnesotaHW 38-20
1994MinesotaAW 56-3
1995WisconsinHL 17-9
1996WisconsinAW 23-20
1997IllinoisAW 41-6
1998Ohio StateAL 28-9
1999IndianaHW 45-24
2000Ohio StateAL 45-6
2001WisconsinHL 18-6
2002IowaHL 42-35 OT
2003MinnesotaHL 20-14
2004WisconsinAL 16-3
2005NorthwesternAW 34-29
2006Ohio StateAL 28-6
2007THEMAL 14-9
2008IllinoisHW 38-24
2009IowaHL 21-10
2010IowaAL 24-3
8H - 11A7-11

Although we have opened with OSU or THEM 4 times, NONE have been at home.  We opened with Indiana in 1999, a great season until the Minnesota fiasco.

Prediction:  It may seem like a repeat of Temple, but new coach, new system--> rebuilding or transition year for the Hoosiers.  Rebuilding yearHoosier Football:  Rebuilding since 1967!  Penn State wins, but with Iowa up next, I suspect we play conservatively.  Do we play any other way?  Okay--more conservatively.  Expect a low scoring, too close for comfort kind of game on the road.

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