Friday, August 22, 2008

Thoughts on the upcoming football season

We're less than a week away from the start of the IU football season and I've been reading a lot Hoosier previews talking about the next step. Can the Hoosiers take the next step after the big step forward last year (winning seven games, appearing in a bowl for the first time since 1993) and become relevant in the Big Ten?

The schedule this year is filled with many games we should win. There are eight home games, an automatic advantage, and four non-conference games against teams that should be below Big Ten caliber. So the Hoosiers should win seven games again this year and should get to another bowl game.

What I'm looking for is the win we're not supposed to get. The upset no one thought would happen. Last year, (in conference play) it was Illinois beating Ohio State in Columbus. The Illini were talented and went to the Rose Bowl, but OSU was a national championship contender and ranked No. l at the time. It was a game where Illinois coach Ron Zook earned a lot of respect around the country, and the Illinois program was thought to have taken a major step up in the college football landscape.

It is a game where your team plays over its head and their team plays down just enough. A game where the students storm the field. Where the highlights make it to SportsCenter at the top of the show instead of on the ticker.

There are two games this season I would count as true upset, completely unexpected, wins: Wisconsin (at home) and at Penn State. Both are BCS contenders and should be favorites against IU.

In my mind, that is the one thing missing from this football program -- the ability to beat a team no one ever thought they could.

Any thoughts out there? Did I miss the "milestone" victory?