Posted: 7/29/2014 9:42 AM
29 writers who cover the Big Ten were recently polled by a news organization (cleveland.com) and asked to predict where each team in the conference will finish. The consensus is that IU will wind up next to last (ahead of only Rutgers) in the newly configured East Division of the conference. When I first read this I was angry but, upon further reflection, I can't say that I blame them. Until we can prove that we're anything other than also-rans, it's not realistic to expect much respect from the media or anyone else. Moreover, we got a really bad draw with this division. It is loaded, top to bottom. If anyone thinks our game against Maryland (who was picked just ahead of us in the aforementioned poll) is a lock, they're mistaken. They are a good team with many weapons and a very good coach. And the road game against Rutgers is no sure thing either. So, while I feel great about our offense and am hopeful for improvement on D, it's going to be a bloodbath each Saturday and it's tough to pick out the wins. That's why the non-conference schedule is particularly important this year. We've got to go at least 3-1 before Big Ten play in order to have a realistic shot at a bowl. I keep going back to the defense. We just don't know how much improvement we're going to see, and that's the wild card. Despite the difficulty now in identifying potential wins, I believe they will materialize if the defense modestly improves (and our offense stays healthy). I'll be devastated if we win fewer than 6 games, but 5-7 wouldn't shock me. Then again, neither would 8-4. Let the games begin...
Posted: 7/29/2014 10:02 AM
Posted: 7/29/2014 12:05 PM
jmsgws wrote: I think 6th is right. Heck with IU's track record, the safe pick in our division is last. We can compete with just about anyone one in the division, but winning is a different story.... I'm just looking for two more stops per game on defense. I know that isn't great improvement, but that should give us a few more points, per game. With the close games we have, should be enough to get us at least to .500.