Saturday, August 30, 2008

A good win

The Hoosiers beat WKU 31-13. Offensively it was a good day for the most part, thanks to two big plays by Kellen Lewis. But I was a little concerned about the sputtering at the start of the second half. They let WKU get back into the game and if two WKU field goals had been touchdowns, who knows what would have happened.

IU ran up 450 net yards, including nearly 300 yards rushing, according to the gametracker. The one ugly stat: 7 penalties for 63 yards.

The defense played surprisingly well in the first half, giving up no points and not much in terms of yardage. It was the 210 net yards they gave up in the second half that was a problem. WKU seemed to find a rhythm and the no-huddle seemed to tire the Hoosier defense.

Next week: Murray State comes to town. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. Sept. 6.

Second half sputter?

The second half did not start well, but the Hoosier offense appears to be back on track. The score is 31-13 with eight minutes to go, after a 65-yard Lewis run for a touchdown. It was a similar play to the 75-yard score in the first half. Lewis ran the entire way up the middle almost untouched.

The Hoosiers had to be shaken to wake up, however. Western Kentucky closed to 24-13 before Lewis's run. The Hilltoppers have been moving the ball in the second half. That may have to do with the IU defense tiring somewhat (WKU is running a no-huddle offense) and the lack of some starters, who were suspended.

The Hoosiers could put them away with another score on the upcoming drive, especially if it takes some time off the clock.

By the way, there are some stats available at if you click on gametracker.

Note: My dad's alma mater, Pitt, is on the ropes at home against Bowling Green. They have the ball down 3 points with 13 minutes to go.

The Hoosier season is underway

That is a picture of the IU game. On my TV. And its not on ESPN, ESPN 2, Versus, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or another traditional college football network. It is Big Ten Network. Did I mention it's on my TV?

It's halftime and IU leads 17-0. I liked Kellen Lewis' 75-yard TD run in the first quarter. He outran four defenders the last 30 yards or so. The defense is looking good too. Western Kentucky is not doing much in terms of running the ball. I'm not crazy about some of the big penalties, but that problem should be fixed as they shake off the rust.

For some reason, the stats on the, CBS Sportsline and Big Ten Network sites are not available. But IU needs to come out in the second half and deliver the knock-out blow.

Another alma mater wins

We talk a lot about Indiana University, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears at this blog. But there also is a high school football powerhouse that I am proud of. The Carmel Corsairs in Mundelein, Ill. (I'm class of 94) were ranked No. 7 in the Chicago Tribune pre-season poll. Last night was the season opener against No. 12, and arch-rival, Joliet Catholic. Carmel took care of business, winning 24-12, but may have lost a star fullback.

Next week, the Corsairs take on rival Libertyville. It may seem like a home game, however, because the campus is about a mile away.

The Corsairs are looking for their second trip to the state finals. I was at the game in Champaign, Ill. in 2003 when the team won it all and finished ranked No. 1 in the state.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't stop believin'

An interesting story in today's Chicago Tribune by baseball writer Phil Rogers. He argues the worst-case scenario for the Cubs is an all-Chicago World Series -- a match-up with the White Sox.

Sure it would be great for Chicago to be the center of the baseball universe. But the Cubs would have to play up to four "away" games across town on the south side. Rogers said the Sox would have nothing to lose in such a series. I agree. If the Sox lose, that means the Cubs will have won and and broke the curse, and the team that is clearly favored in Chicago will finally have something to celebrate.

If the Sox win, well, the Cubs are once again leave expectations unfulfilled. All the pressure clearly would be on the north side, not the south side.

Rogers said Cub fans should pray the Sox are eliminated early. Are you sweating TJ? And Cubs Nation?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finally ... a starting QB

In what may be the "Duh" moment of the week, IU Coach Bill Lynch named Kellen Lewis the starter over Ben Chappell.

Lewis led the Hoosiers to a bowl game last year. He was an All Big Ten selection and led the team in rushing and passing. IU's spread offense was implemented with him in mind.I know Chapel looked good in spring practice, but really ... Did anyone expect Lewis would not be taking snaps this season? Did Western Kentucky's coaches develop a defensive game plan for Ben Chappell and not Kellen Lewis? I supposed Chappell got enough reps with the first team offense that he could step in more easily if Lewis gets hurt. But I think every Hoosier fan knows who must be under center if we are to expect wins.

On a side note,
Terry Hutchens, the Indianapolis Star's IU beat writer, shows me up and predicts the Hoosiers will go 8-4 this year and plan Wake Forest in the Champs Sports Bowl. Go figure.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Hoosier Season ... Big Ten

The key to the Big Ten season for the Hoosiers will be to win the games they should win. There are probably four games that even the most optimistic fans would say would end up in losses.

Game 4 -- Michigan State
The Hoosiers' first conference home game should be a tough one. The Spartans are picked to be among the best in the conference this year and typically play well in the first two months of the season before dropping off. The Spartans will be coming off, potentially, a big win over Notre Dame the previous week and should be ready. I don't think the IU defense will have enough to keep the Spartans at bay.

The game should be close, but MSU pulls this one out. IU drops to 3-1.

Game 5 -- Minnesota
This game is on the road, but IU should have enough offense to hammer the Gophers. The team had one of the worst defenses in the conference last year and doesn't have much in the way of returning talent. The problem here is IU thinking they win in a romp. A few mistakes and Minnesota is in this game at the end. The Hoosiers remain focused and move to 4-1.

Game 6 -- Iowa
This is possibly an even match-up, but the game is in Bloomington, giving IU the edge. Iowa is well coached by Kirk Ferentz and will be ready for this game. But I think Kellen Lewis will take over and the Hawkeyes will fall. IU moves to 5-1.

Game 7 -- Illinois
The Illini are facing some of the same issues at the start of the season as the Hoosiers: validate an outstanding 2007, which included a berth in the Rose Bowl. This game will be in Champaign, where Illinois plays well. While both teams run the spread offense, I don't think the IU defense will be able to contain Juice Williams. In a high-scoring affair, the Hoosiers fall to 5-2.

Game 8 -- Northwestern
Homecoming in Bloomington is a wonderful time. And just like the leaves, the fortunes of the Hoosier football team are changing. The Wildcats likely don't have enough to hang with the Hoosiers. It's a happy homecoming and IU avenges last year's lost in Evanston, moving to 6-2. That ensures a second straight .500 season.

Game 9 -- Central Michigan
This doesn't seem like much of a game, but it is another trap. Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour is getting a lot of pub as one of the top QBs in the conference. He through for nearly 3,700 yards and 27 TDs last year. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and 19 TDs. He is as much of a force as Kellen Lewis.

While the Chippewas averaged 34 points a game, they gave up 36. This game may come down to who has the ball last. The Hoosiers are due for a head-scratching loss, and this may be it. IU losses and drops to 6-3.

Game 10 -- Wisconsin
The Badgers are expected to compete with Ohio State for the Big Ten title. Even though this game is at home, I don't think the Hoosiers can stop the Badgers power game. It's a two-game losing streak. IU is now 6-4.

Game 11 -- Penn State
A trip to Happy Valley can never end well. The Nittany Lions may not be a Big Ten title contender, but they will play well at home. IU may put up a fight, but they lose this game too. Now the Hoosiers are reeling at 6-5.

Game 12 -- Purdue
It's not looking good for the Hoosiers. They enter the Bucket Game in the same situation as last season, needing a win to secure a bowl bid. This time the game is in West Lafayette and it is Purdue Coach Joe Tiller's last game. Put aside the rivalry. The Boilers will be playing for Tiller. They win it. IU finishes on a four-game losing streak and ends at 6-6.

There should be a bowl spot available for a 6-6 team. The question will be should IU get it? They will be able to score points, which will impress bowl committee members. But they will have lost four in a row, which may turn them off. I think they squeak into the Motor City Bowl. Book your tickets for Detroit now.

The Hoosier Season ... Pre-conference

We're less than a week from kick-off. Most fans know this season is important for the future of the program, maybe more important than last season's drive to play 13. This is the validation year, the chance to prove last year was no fluke. The full schedule is here, and here are my predictions, game by game:

Game 1 -- Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers are known more for basketball than football. But this team could surprise the Hoosiers, especially in week one. The team is coming off a 7-5 season and has 14 returning starters. ESPN thinks WKU will scare someone this year, but in their seven wins last season, the Hilltoppers beat no one of consequence. They lost to Ball State and Indiana State, teams IU took care of with relative ease. I think the Hoosiers will win this game.

Game 2 -- Murray State
The Racers play in Division I-AA and really shouldn't be in the Hoosiers league. They were 2-9 last year and have a new coach this year. The Hoosiers offense should overpower this team, taking them to 2-0.

Game 3 -- Ball State
This match-up has trap game written all over it. The Hoosiers had trouble with the Cardinals last year (I was at the game). The teams traded scores in the first half before IU pulled away. Ball St. QB Nate Davis was impressive running their spread offense. Davis passed for nearly 3,700 yards and accounted for 30 touchdowns.

IU Coach Bill Lynch should have the team ready, however, and barring injury, the IU defense should make the difference here. IU wins and goes to 3-0.

And now on to Big Ten season.