Sunday, August 9, 2009

IU football season preview-Upset chances

Let's be honest. The Indiana Hoosiers football team is not expected to win too many games this year.

But while hoping for a Rose Bowl berth may be just a pipe dream, it is possible to hope for a grand upset. The win where the students storm the field and celebrate. The win where every break goes your way. The win where you catch the powerhouse team completely off guard.

It is a win that can save a coach's job, put a program on the national stage for a week, and raise your status among high-profile recruits. Illinois continues to grow thanks to such a win two years ago over Ohio State. Quarterback Juice Williams became a national name.

Michigan, on the other hand, still suffers from a similar upset. The 2007 loss to Appalachian State put the marque programs on notice that those early non-conference games can never be considered a laugher.

Is there a big upset on the schedule this season for the Hoosiers? Here are two games I think the stars could align perfectly for one:

1. At Michigan, Sept. 26

The Hoosiers haven't won in the Big House for as long as I can remember. Actually it has been 41 years -- the last win coming in 1967, the year of IU's only Rose Bowl appearance. But Michigan is not the powerhouse it has been over the last 10 years. Second-year coach Rich Rodriguez continues to rebuild the program after a terrible first season. Ideally, this game would have been played there last year, but the Hoosiers' pistol offense could cause some trouble for the Michigan defense. And if Michigan's offense plays at the anemic level it did last year, the Hoosiers may be able to scratch out a victory.

Make no mistake, an Indiana win at Michigan Stadium would be an upset, even if the Wolverines aren't a national championship contender this season.

2. Vs. Wisconsin, Nov. 7

Wisconsin has played down to Indiana's level in recent years. In 2001, Cam Cameron's offense-only team rolled over the Badgers by scoring 63 points. And in 2002, Gerry DiNardo's Hoosiers came from behind to win. It's reasonable to assume the Hoosiers, playing at home, could catch Wisconsin sleeping once again.

Either game would take a near-perfect game for the Hoosiers to come out on top. But it's a perfect game that we all desire to see to get a victory of this magnitude.

Coming next: 2009 must-win games


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