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Everything posted by olsontex

  1. Quick, shifty, next-level passer... yes please. After Clowney, Fears has got to be our next #1 priority recruit in my opinion. Don't mean to sell Kaleb Glenn short (I hope we get him too), but everything starts at PG and IU's current/committed PG's are all unlikely to stay more than two years (including Lander). I think by the end of the season Lander will have either established himself as the 5 star NBA bound player he was projected to become (or at least headed in that direction) or he will transfer for a change of scenery. My hope is we have him for 2 more seasons and he becomes a 1st Round pick. Obviously time will tell for Bates and Hood-Schifino but I don't think I need to comment on their current trajectories. In case anyone is questioning my classification of Bates or Hood-Schifino as PGs, I should add that I don't consider the guy who brings the ball up the court or guards the other team's "PG" to be the PG. For me it's whoever is directing the offense in a half-court set and I expect it to be these two guys if Lander doesn't establish himself.
  2. This video is from a few months ago, hadn't seen it before. My biggest take-away was that he plays under control and with purpose. He also seems physically tougher than a lot of his peers in this game. * I would be remiss not to mention I was a LOT more impressed with Leland Walker (247 #170) than I thought I'd be. He certainly passes the eye test against D1 talent. Unranked 3* Pete Suder also showed out well. Given the number of fairly high rated recruits in this game it's a good reminder of how little separates players in the 80-100 range from many guys outside of the Top 150. I'm not suggesting we target them but impressed none the less.
  3. Completely agree. In fact, I think just about all of the ranked B10 teams seemed 1-2 spots lower than I expected (Penn State maybe 3-4 spots). The knock on OSU is youth and new QB??? Take a look at a majority of the other top ranked schools and you could say the same thing about them. New QBs - #1 Alabama, #3 Clemson, #5 Ohio State, and #6 Texas A&M. OSU is no different than these schools in terms of reloading with an elite recruiting class year after year. My Top 5 +1 and Big 10 reshuffling would be: 1 - Alabama (until it's shown their reload isn't superior to everyone else year-after-year I can't discount them) 2 - Georgia (return pretty much everybody) 3 - Ohio State (very similar to Clemson except OSU has a defense) 4 - Texas A&M (least QB reliant power program in the country, host Alabama and Auburn this year) 5 - Clemson (very similar to OSU except they don't have a defense) 6 - Oklahoma (weak schedule, host both Iowa State and Texas) 14 (up from 16) - Wisconsin (a much better team than their 4-3 COVID ravaged 2020 showing) 15 (up from 20) - Penn State (2020 pre-season #8 before everything unraveled, another deep and loaded team in '21) 16 (up from 17) - Indiana (tough schedule, added more talent than lost, survive Iowa+Cincinnati and this is too low 19 (down from 18) - Iowa (not a slight - couldn't bump Miami any further) 25 (unranked) - Northwestern (sorry Louisiana) Other BIG 10 teams with potential to crack Top 25 - Minnesota and Michigan Reality Check SEC: At the end of the season it would be extremely tough for 3 SEC teams to remain in the Top 4. I seriously considered ranking Georgia ahead of Alabama. If the new Aggie QB pans out, this might be the year they beat Alabama. LSU seems a bit high at #14. BIG 12: Oklahoma is going to start the season 3-4 spots higher than #6 and has a reasonable chance of running the table. They're going to stay in the Top 3 until they lose. Doesn't mean I have to give them credit for hype and a weak schedule. Iowa State might be a much bigger threat to OU than some realize. ACC: Clemson's ranking speaks a lot to past performance... with Trevor Lawrence at QB. They might be too high at #3 or #5 and it would not be a surprise if North Carolina wins the ACC and ends up in the Top 5. Miami might have the talent to dethrone Clemson but they open with Alabama and don't play Clemson in the regular season. PAC 12: Oregon and USC will be ranked reasonably high to start the season, keeping them in CFP striking range. Oregon hosts Ohio State and USC travels to Notre Dame. If the PAC 12 schools lose these games the conference will be buried and likely locked out of the playoffs. If they win is it enough to regain the amount of respect needed to re-enter the playoff landscape? BIG 10: Despite the rankings, smallest talent gap between Ohio State and everyone else in recent years. The relatively low starting position for the rest of the BIG 10 might be problematic for post season positioning. There is no clear cut #2 team in the conference to start the season. A 1 loss season by anyone not named Ohio State will not be enough to make the playoffs. Group of 5: Three Group of 5 teams made the ESPN Pre-Season Top 25. I'd categorize two as good teams being rewarded for strong 2020 seasons. However, Cincinnati is on a different level and with road games against Notre Dame and Indiana they'll have a chance to prove it. The sad thing is an undefeated season including two statement wins still might not be enough to matter for post season opportunity.
  4. ESPN College Football Power Rankings - Season Kickoff (Aug 3, 2021) A surprisingly high amount of love given to IU from this crew (which included former OSU stud Joey Galloway). Here are the timestamps for the three primary discussions on Indiana if you don't feel like sitting through the entire 45 minutes: 10:16 Top 5 Returning QBs - Penix was one of a handful of names mentioned in "others" 19:21 Top 25 - #17 Indiana 21:15 More IU commentary (discussion was a lot more in depth than most of the other teams in Top 25) Big 10 schools in the Top 25 #20 Penn State, #18 Iowa, #17 Indiana, #16 Wisconsin, #5 Ohio State Other Notables #11 Cincinnati, #9 Notre Dame, #7 Iowa State
  5. If things go reasonably well for James on the field, I have a feeling he's going to become a fan favorite. I can't pinpoint exactly what is, but there's something really likeable this kid.
  6. Agreed, we've strung together a couple of nice seasons but it will take a few more before sports writers and fans take IU seriously. I don't think the opposition programs share their opinion (unfortunately no more sneaking up on anyone). I can understand the fans bias/ignorance, and even the motivation of local market writers, but I don't appreciate the agenda/shallow research of national sports writers. I don't mind the program flying under the radar until the point comes that it impacts CFP and bowl placements. It doesn't seem to be hurting IU recruiting at all.
  7. She reminds me of Molly Shannon.. and you can bet she didn't need anyone to tell her the record and setup the passive aggressive slight. It's no exaggeration that people (all people) around here follow their flavor of college and high school football in the same way most people in Indiana feel about basketball. The difference is it's WAY more fragmented here than in Indiana. There is no such thing as the "Texas TV Market". There's about 10 of them. We're also a rather politically corrupt state, and you can bet that if this committee had a path to punishing UT they'd do it in a heartbeat.
  8. I got my MBA at SMU and I literally live across the street from the campus. I can throw fruit from my front yard and hit SMU players on their practice field. As for Michigan State, I spent 5 years of my childhood in East Lansing during the Kirk Gibson and Magic Johnson era. I can still taste the hot chocolate and not feel my toes. As for TCU and Texas A&M, both of my sisters went to TCU and a majority of the rest of family are Aggies. It's just easier not to root against them. Plus I have to root for somebody to upset the order of things in the SEC, and outside of Vanderbilt, the Aggies are the least offensive option.
  9. a few questions that need clarity before looking towards the future. 1) Why is the SEC the dominant football conference. could this change in the foreseeable future? a) Superior in-region recruiting talent: 139/247 2022 recruits (56%) Could this change? Unlikely The root dynamics of weather and cultural priorities are responsible, both unlikely to change b) BCS/CFP era performance: 11 of last 15 Champs (4 different teams) Could this change? Yes In the first 8 BCS years the SEC won just 1 Championship. Over the 17 years preceding BCS the SEC was the Champion just once. Let me re-state this. In the 25 seasons preceding the SEC's dominant 15 year run, the SEC won only 2 National Championships. It may seem hard right now to envision the SEC slipping a bit back to Earth but at some point it's likely to happen. Just ask the Yankees, Cowboys, or UCLA/PAC12 Basketball. c) Recruiting success: I'm going to largely leave this for a future topic. For now, I'll just say kids are getting more savvy every year and the ability to access important information for decision making is also getting easier every year. Every scholarship recruit is of course going to the NFL. Alabama's 3rd string could start for most programs in the country and gain far more notoriety as the big fish in a medium sized pond. How did it work out last year for Alabama's draft hopefuls? Fantastic for the 6 superstars drafted in the 1st Round, not so great for the rest of their NFL hopefuls as only 4 more Alabama players were drafted from the 2nd Round on. I have to believe there were plenty more who would have had a decent shot in a less crowded situation, and I also believe kids are going to catch on to this in the very near future. I think this is part of the reason Curry is legitimately considering IU. d) TV exposure and revenue: Could this change? Yes - see 4) below 2) Is the completely football centric nature of this situation warping my (your) perspective? Absolutely. I definitely care about IU football but in order of importance to me: value/status of IU degree, IU basketball, then IU football. As long as moves aren't made that potentially lower the value of my degrees, lower the profile of IU basketball, or exclude IU from a shot at the CFP, this realignment situation is nothing more than a minor frustration from a handful of greedy old men wrecking another national institution. If given the choice to add Stanford/Cal-Berkeley/Virginia/Duke or Alabama/Clemson/Georgia/Florida State to the Big10 - give me the first group. Keeping it just sports related, by now we are all fully aware of just how dominant football economics are in this situation. But what does that have to do with the relative importance of football vs. basketball for the fan base? It's not like I need to curb my enthusiasm by 73.53% to match the ratio of football to basketball revenue generation. Sure, there's no chance basketball will ever equal football popularity in a conference like the SEC. However, I see very little chance of SEC domination in football impacting the quality of basketball in parts of the country where the two sports are on more equal footing. 3) What actually defines "success" for me (you) in terms of college football and the bigger overall picture? I'm not a college football fan, I'm an IU and SMU Football fan. I also like Michigan State, TCU, and Texas A&M enough to hope they do well. Success occurs when IU has a winning record, gets in a decent bowl game, and is at least part of the national conversation. Sure I'd love them to be in the CFP but falling short doesn't wipe out my enjoyment. The bigger picture? Don't cheapen my degree and give me something to talk about around the water cooler no matter where in the country I may be... that won't lead to a dismissive response. 4) Is there a longer term inevitability that will make most of the current realignment issues obsolete? There is no question in my mind. The current kingmakers of college football (ESPN) could care less about tradition, impacts on universities, or anything else without a $ sign in front of it. The fact that we've devolved to a point where an outside commercial entity determines the fate of college athletics is unfathomably F'd Up, but it is reality. TV sports share of viewers has been declining for years and not just in football. This makes year-over-year comparisons less meaningful. However, comparing two games in close time proximity is still reasonable. Consider these two pairs of examples from the 2021 BCS: 1) National Championship: 18.65 M viewers (Alabama vs. Ohio St), Semi Final: 19.15 M viewers (Clemson vs. Ohio St) The less meaningful game without an SEC team was the bigger draw. Not a fluke, the Clemson-OSU game also beat Alabama's Semi Final match-up against Notre Dame (18.89 M viewers) . 2) Cotton Bowl: 5.9 M viewers (Florida vs. Oklahoma), Fiesta Bowl: 6.7 M viewers (Oregon vs. Iowa St) Once again, the game without an SEC team was the bigger draw. This one is particularly eye opening, given the massive pedigree and the perception of Florida and Oklahoma's national popularity. What it speaks to the most is CASUAL fans aren't even tuning in for marquee match-ups of "storied" programs... while on Christmas vacation and trapped at home because of a pandemic! This is a classic inelastic demand problem. So how would one go about forecasting schools with the highest potential TV rating? Here's the formula: Step 1: 10 Yr W-L / # Conf schools bordering state + total jersey sale revenue.... MINUS the entire left-hand side of whatever uncorrelated or perception-based B.S. I throw into this part of the equation Step 2: Find a list ranking the size of the current student base and alumni base by school Step 3: Ignore step 1, consider the potential non-student interest level in the local market (<100 miles) or any unique special interest stories, base 90% of your TV viewership forecast on Step 2. ESPN, Fox, Amazon, Facebook, and every other potential platform with interest in airing games know this. They also know the timezone difference and lack of familiarity with programs West of the Rockies greatly curtails the level of interest around the rest of the country. They know this challenge is unlikely to change without regularly scheduled games with schools East of the Rockies. They also know the games need to actually be meaningful, rivalries need to be ignited, and match-up repitition needs to occur for long-term interest to stick. I'd imagine stakeholders aren't going to be satisfied with "stopping the bleeding" of sagging ratings, they expect growth just like any other business. It's inevitable that coast-to-coast conference alignments are coming in the future to expand the pie.
  10. Is this new, really really old, or just a mistake? Prior to just now seeing IU listed as 1 of 4 "warm" schools, I don't remember seeing anything about Dante Anderson. https://247sports.com/player/dante-anderson-46058581/
  11. For those living in Indiana who have connections with coaches/scouts/etc., is there a perception one way or the other on potential bias in recruit ratings/rankings, PRIOR to commitment to a school (we already know bias exists AFTER but for different and intentional motivations)? I would be a bit surprised if there was any intentional bias prior to commitment. However, I can see potential for kids from Indiana to be ranked slightly lower than their peers in football hotbeds. The most obvious reasons being lack of exposure and in-person scouting. Another potential reason might be perceptions on the relative level of competition (compared to a state like Florida), which would also encompass "State X" doesn't have a very good track record of developing high level players at a specific position. If any of these thoughts have validity, I'd think it's the skill position recruits most likely to be underestimated. I had a somewhat related thought on recruits in states known for producing linemen. When skilled 6'5 285 linemen aren't out of the ordinary within a particular region, it would be easy to lose sight that they would be out of the ordinary and "special" in many other parts of country. To make this a little less abstract, What's the likelihood that #63WR Omar Cooper would be the #38 ranked WR in the class if he played in Georgia or Florida? What's the likelihood that #889 Bray Lynch would be the #603 overall recruit in the class if he played in Indiana?
  12. My thoughts are beginning to transition away from "what will happen" and "why it will happen", to think about instead on what I'd like to happen and what will be most beneficial long term. It starts with accepting the reality of a few things. 1) No realistic path for the Big 10 or any other conference to match the SEC's current position of strength in football. 2) Football revenue is exclusively driving THIS situation, nothing else matters, but there's no reason for me personally to care about football revenue. It ain't making my life better or worse. 3) Notre Dame will not join the Big 10 for a large and varied number of motivational and contractual reasons. It's a shame because in terms of "on the field" football they are such a logical fit 4) There is 0% chance a school like Texas A&M would even consider leaving the SEC (unless you live here in Texas, it might be hard to relate to the complexities of the Aggies relationship with the SEC and UT). People associated with TAMU consider their program on equal footing with Alabama, LSU, Florida, and Georgia, and they're hell bent on proving it. They are chomping-at-the-bit to beat the absolute crap out of the Longhorns repeatedly in the coming years (a joy that will never get old). Their Athletics Department generates the 2nd highest revenue in the country, there is nothing the SEC won't do to retain them in the conference. Again, zero chance. Deep exhale... well that simplifies things a bit, and even opens up possibilities for leap frogging the SEC at some point in the future (depending on your perspective). But there are a few questions that need clarity before looking towards the future. 1) Why is the SEC the dominant football conference. could this change in the foreseeable future? 2) Is the completely football centric nature of this situation warping my (your) perspective? 3) What actually defines "success" for me (you) in terms of college football and the bigger overall picture? 4) Is there a longer term inevitability that will make most of the current realignment issues obsolete? I'll make a second post later on with my thoughts on these questions, and what I'd like to happen.
  13. If IU were a country competing in the 2021 Olympics: Gold Medal Count - tied for 12th Total Medal Count - tied for 15th - Excluding Brazil, tied with the entire Continent of South America - Trailing the entire Continent of Africa by just 3 medals As the Olympics are nearing conclusion, a few countries hoping to catch up with IU include: Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Romania, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Turkey, Israel, and every country on the African Continent.
  14. I'd be worried that in the rare years we play Kansas in football a victory wouldn't be worth anything (and a loss would be crushing). On the basketball side I'd be worried that joining the Big 10 would actually raise their already extremely high profile and it would become a match-up we might lose more often than win. While the Big 12 offers to easiest path for expansion, none of the remaining teams offer enough to move the dial. It would be a move that screams of desperation and wouldn't even come close to countering the SEC moves. I'm in the camp of either: (1) Do nothing (don't expand that is - there are some vindictive options that I think are justified) - Make sure the CFP doesn't expand from the current format of 4 teams. We aren't getting in unless we win the Big 10 anyway. If the remaining Power 5 conferences collectively keep the CFP limited, it will pour an Olympic sized swimming pool of cold water on both ESPN and the SEC. - To add maximum pain, convince the Big 12 to let OU and UT out of their Big 12 obligation immediately. I have a sense the extra TV games resulting from a 12 team field was a major element of ESPN's push for SEC expansion, as an important additional source of revenue to cover financial expectations of this coup. The Longhorn Network is owned by an ESPN subsidiary, it's a money pit, and parent network is on the hook until 2031. They currently owe Texas $160M in differed payments. I'm starting to believe a secondary element of ESPN's push to bring Texas to the SEC is the opportunity to buyout the Longhorn Network as part of renegotiating the 2025 CFP contract (assuming they can hold on to it). - No matter how good the SEC becomes, they aren't getting more than two teams in, and it's far from a given they can even get a second team in consistently. To get a second SEC team in, at least two Power 5 conferences have to be down enough that the conference champion is not worthy of a playoff spot AND there has to be a clearly deserving 1 loss team behind the SEC winner. This was a significant hurdle before adding a Top 10 and a Top 20 program to the schedule of their second place hopefuls. They've just made the road a lot harder for the old members. - Where will the money come from to help cover the conference shares for UT and OU? Watch the discontent blossom as the remaining 4 years on ESPN's exclusive CFP rights aren't enhanced 1 penny. Watch the SEC scramble to figure out where the revenue will come from to cover two more programs without reducing the pie of the other 14 programs. The only way the SEC wouldn't be negatively impacted is if ESPN takes on an even larger financial burden by making them whole, years ahead of the potential financial benefits. (2) Merge with the suitable programs in the PAC 12 for the start of next season. It's looking more like an inevitability that we're eventually moving towards a league structure that resembles the NFL. The Big 10 can get ahead of it and lock up a good chunk of the best remaining programs. Above all, block the SEC from an opportunity to be a coast-to-coast conference. My preference is for #1 with a premeditated attempt to make this situation as painful as possible for the instigators of this fiasco. Any form of deterrent to additional SEC moves would be a good thing.
  15. I really like posts like this. I'm just as excited about what IU grads do after or outside of IU as I am with accomplishments at IU.
  16. I agree, establishing this threat will be difference maker for taking IU into the upper echelon of college football. We already have a secondary that is equipped to take advantage of DL pressure, which will be significantly enhanced with greater play disruption. Looking at the bigger picture, one of the largest remaining factors for IU being considered as a major player in recruiting is the ability to establish a pipeline to the NFL for higher profile players. Imagine the highlight footage when our pressure ability catches up to the opportunistic (takeaways) and coverage abilities that have already taken root in the secondary.
  17. That is my perception too, although prior to watching the Gruden video it was not as high as it is now. Beforehand, I viewed Tom Allen as a good football coach who had spent many years learning the intricacies of the game. I did not view him as an elite X's and O's strategist, I viewed him as an elite motivator, and attributed his ability to get the most out of his players as the factor that makes him an outstanding coach. That video definitely changed my thoughts on Allen as a complete coach. The two biggest takeaways for me were: 1) he distills the game down to the handful factors that truly do determine the winner of most games, and makes sure IU is positioned to win these factors 2) he thinks and game plans like an NFL Coach, which I think has to be attractive to recruits (day-in-day-out preparation for the style of football played in the NFL)
  18. To be honest, I struggled trying to find a clear cut way to draw the line. There was a time when the hierarchy of bowl games was a lot more clear. The #2 team from conference X would play the #2 team from conference Y. This type of logic seems to be evaporating from the game as the number of teams selected for BCS bowls is not distributed evenly between conferences. Therefore, I considered the opponent, my perception of the prestige level of Baylor/IU at that point in history, W/L records, and a few other "less concrete" considerations (like "was this a slight to the program"). A reasonable argument can be made both up and down a level for the way I classified the bowls. The COVID factor played a major role in bowl pairings last year, most important being the elimination of expected attendance as a consideration. There is no question in mind that bowl selection committees strongly consider how well a team's fan base travels. Like all other bowls, The Outback Bowl attendance capacity was capped at 20% of the stadium capacity. With this element of revenue generation eliminated from the equation, decision makers were freed to incorporate a lot more logic instead of being shackled by financial consideration or conference requirements. For this reason, I think a lot of the match-ups were determined based on "story lines" and prioritizing the perceived talent of a team over their actual in season results. Our bowl match-up last year with Miss St is a good one to use an illustration. First off, the pairing really disappointed me. Not because I though Miss St was "beneath" IU, quite the opposite. A loss against a 4-5 team would be used as media fodder to knock IU back down "where we belong", and the response to a win over a 4-5 team would be indifference. The truth is two of the scariest sub-500 teams in the nation last year were Miss St and LSU. I don't view the match-up as a slight to IU, I view it as a nod of respect to Miss St. IU on the other-hand produced results on the field worthy of placement in a major bowl. Both teams are considered programs on the rise, playing in the toughest divisions of the two toughest conferences, which also contributes to the intrigue of the pairing.
  19. Those definitely were the good old days, but I'm optimistic IU is headed there again. Hopefully in Basketball too. The best gigs for my band were always right after an IU B-Ball win. Automatic huge crowd of people ready to celebrate, especially at Jake's since there was a lot more room than Bluebird.
  20. While researching IU's historical performance I noticed many losing seasons, and a few periods of brief success. Success during the war years. Around the turn of the century, IU was a fairly respectable program in the old Western Conference. Seven of the Eight teams would eventually move on to form the foundation of the Big 10. In 1905, led by HalfQuarter Flanker Shamus "Scoots" McGillicuddy, IU stormed to an 8-1 record upsetting the favored University of Chicago Game Theories. OK, I made up the player, his position, and the Univ of Chicago team name but the rest is true. Indiana managed just 3 winning seasons in the next 11 years. When WW I broke out, the U.S. instituted a policy of National Isolationism (ignore the world around us). By 1917 we entered the war to end all wars, as our President saw a great opportunity to capitalize on the weakened position of our European allies and assert a new world order. ** to quote Matt Damon in Goodwill Hunting, "You smart people read the wrong F-ing books. You wanna read a real history book? Read Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States. That book'll knock you on your ass." ** My way of recommending something worth reading for the intellectually curious, but I digress... With America now at war, IU immediately returned to form with a 5-2 record in 1917. The 1918 season was shortened to just 4 games due to the large number of young men fighting in Europe and/or dying from the Haskell County Flu (known to some as Spanish Influenza). IU went 2-2 and the war ended shortly thereafter. Over the next 23 seasons Indiana would manage a winning record just 4 times. As fortune would have it World War broke out again and in 1942 IU Football would once again rise to prominence with a 7-3 record. In the following three years the war continued raging on and so did IU Football. After a brief 4-4 stumble in '43, Indiana rattled off 7-3 and 9-0-1 campaigns the next two years. IU reached it's high watermark ranking in 1945 at #4 in the final AP poll, a feat that would be matched in 1967 but never surpassed. Unfortunately, former Indiana Daily Student writer, IU Grad, and legendary journalist Ernie Pyle couldn't provide a write-up of IU's triumph, due to a prior engagement as America's preeminent war correspondent. Ernie delivered the human side of conflict and stories of American courage home to small towns across the nation who were missing their sons. He couldn't write about IU because he was busy being cut down by enemy fire and dying in heavy fighting on Iejimi during the Battle of Okinawa. If his name sounds familiar it's probably the building named in his honor you passed many times on your way to class. IU extended their wartime success in '46 and '47 with two more winning seasons but would fade back to irrelevancy. 1948 to 1957 brought a string of 11 consecutive losing seasons, followed by 2 .500 seasons, and then 7 more consecutive losing seasons. The Vietnam Conflict had been simmering for a few years but 1967 saw the beginning of a 3-year high mark for troop deployments. 1967 also saw IU achieve it's second greatest season with a 9-2 record, a Rose Bowl match-up with USC, and a #4 AP final ranking. From this point until a few years into the Bill Mallory Era, Indiana was a mixed bag. Mostly .500ish seasons with the occasional 8-4 and 1-10 season mixed in to keep things interesting. While IU did go 7-4 in 1991, win the Copper Bowl, and spend some time in the rankings, I'm not going to tie it to the Gulf War. Indiana was already 5 seasons into the greatest 8 year run our football team has experienced. It's this stretch from 1987-1994 that's our litmus test for the current squad. I see every indication that our current "golden age" could surpass the Mallory years. As far as the peculiar timing of Indiana's best historical seasons corresponding to the height of America's wartime engagements, I'm not sure what to make of it. I spent my time at IU playing gigs at Jakes, Bluebird, and Frat parties in a band named Primitive Means, de-pledging several fraternities, and suffering through ROTC. I spent the following 8 years as an officer in the Air Force and found myself stationed for two years on Okinawa, where Ernie Pyle died. So, if you have an inkling that my first thought might have been the wartime IU Football teams were comprised of a bunch of cowards avoiding service to country... you'd be correct. However, this is not actually the reality. In 1917 Congress passed the Selective Service Act (more commonly known as the draft). Public Universities were required to provide records of undergraduates and alumni who had enlisted for service. IU reported roughly 35% of their current and past students enlisted, including members of their athletics programs. Most notable was three-sport letterman and basketball captain Charles Buschman (pictured below holding the ball). Also featured is former football legend and and newly transitioned assistant basketball coach, Scoots McGillicuddy, back row far left.... just seeing if you're still paying attention. As a surprise to no one, it was the Boilermakers who were actually trying to avoid the war. "Meanwhile in Lafayette, a Purdue sports reporter held out hope that Purdue’s athletes could avoid military service. He wrote, “If Uncle Sam can do without several of Purdue’s basketball stars until the present season is over, Purdue should be able to look forward to a very successful season.” Uncle Sam could not do without, and Purdue lost the athletic services of several basketball players as well as basketball Coach Ward Lambert, a future Naismith hall-of-famer, to the military." Outside of future Dirty Works at the Crossroads actor Dastardly Dan (back row, 2nd from right), none of these guys scare me. I think our guy pictured above (front row, far left) could take him though. One of Purdue's players (bottom row, 2nd from right) tried to get out of military service by faking a boo-boo on his knee. The situation for IU Football during WW II was similar. "Another loss from the 1944 team was halfback Robert Hoernschemeyer. Hoernschemeyer was a second-team All-Big Nine player in 1944, but he entered the Naval Academy after the 1944 season, played for the Navy Cadets in 1945, and then played 10 years of professional football. On the other hand, several players returned from military service in time for the 1945 season. Most prominent among these were Pete Pihos and Howie Brown. Pihos was a lieutenant in the 35th Infantry Division, and Brown received three Purple Heart citations for his service in the European Theater of Operations. Neither had been discharged when the season began, but they were granted 60-day leaves by the Army and returned in time for the second game of the season against Northwestern." I don't know what transpired at IU in 1967 during the Vietnam Conflict but if there was anti-war sentiment, at that point IU would hardly be alone. It would also be forgivable, given the state of politics surrounding this situation. I do know what IU was like in 1991 as the Gulf War kicked off. I was getting ready to graduate and the focus of our ROTC training changed significantly. Students were by-and-large dispassionate about the situation and protests were both minor and uneventful. This war had no impact on IU Athletics as the days of the draft were long over. It's generally a good idea to avoid topics that broach on politics. I decided to write this post because I think it offers a tiny glimpse into a few unique snapshots of interesting time periods for IU Football. I also think that our program could be on the brink of greatness and having some context of our less than fruitful history might help us appreciate it all the more. I'm not a war hawk, and I'm definitely not intending to stir the pot for anyone with strong beliefs one direction of the other. If anyone was offended I'm genuinely sorry, as I did consciously try and choose my words as carefully as I could.
  21. This is an interesting conversation (historical relative strength of different conferences, national championships) but how much do you think it matters in the context of conference realignment? I'm assuming this prestige would translate into the SEC dominating the other conferences in terms of current recruiting classes, and the Big 10 would be behind several other conferences as well. After all, OSU is the only legitimate title contender we've had for quite a while. Right? From my perspective, the distribution of the 2022 recruiting classes doesn't reflect this assumption. Sure the SEC is in a class by themselves on the field and the top dog in recruiting, but it falls a little short of dominance over the Big 10 in the recruiting landscape. The gap does widen though when you look at the SEC top-to-bottom. Something interesting is revealed when you remove the Top 20 recruiting classes and then compare conferences. Here are the average recruit ratings for the Power 5: 86.22, 86.23, 86.06, 87.51, and 87.59. The first 3 conferences are virtually identical (attractiveness to recruits is identical for 2nd and 3rd tier Power 5 schools in these conferences.). The second 2 conferences are a step ahead and also virtually identical. Do you know which conferences are in each of these two buckets? Bucket 1: ACC, Big 10, Big 12 (if you prefer the average total points as a gauge they are: 141.13, 140.58, and 140.30) Bucket 2: PAC 12 and SEC I don't want to repeat it over and over again but prestige/appeal/marketability doesn't necessarily correlate to actual football success. Consider Notre Dame's 33 year championship drought. How about their W-L record over the 22 year period of recruiting rankings? That would be an average of W 8.0 - L 4.5 and includes 6 seasons failing to post a winning record. It also includes 11 seasons failing to even finish in the Top 25 and a mere 4 Top 10 seasons. If I hadn't mentioned "Notre Dame" would you look at these results and think "now there's an elite program!"? There's no standard formula for looking at a range of 20+ years and pinpointing a combined ranking but this looks to be around the #15-18 ranking range to me. So how has this decent but not great track record impact Notre Dame's athletic program annual revenue or their ability to recruit at a high level? Their $170M revenue and $19M profit both ranked 6th in college sports last year, as it is year-in-year-out. With 20 Top 15 and 12 Top 10 recruiting classes over this period they are clearly recruiting at an elite level. If I used Texas as my example you'd see something fairly similar. This isn't a tail wagging the dog situation, it's not because "They're Notre Dame". They're "Notre Dame" because they have a large and influential national fan base who have achieved wealth and power, resulting in ND being one of the highest endowment receivers in the country. Hmm... maybe education does play a role in all this after all. Hint: if the AAU sticking point seems like a dumb rule, consider that research and education endowments absolutely dwarf athletic revenue streams. The leaders of Big Ten institutes aren't being nerdy, they're actually being just as greedy as the SEC, just along a different pathway to a much bigger pie. That's why Stanford and Cal Berkeley are particularly appealing... and why Oklahoma State's excellent Wraslin' program, 187th ranked academic profile, and lack of AAU affiliation is not. OK, so prestige and national exposure drive recruiting, and schools gain prestige and exposure largely as a result of their affiliation with a conference that's secured a national TV footprint (this is a large reason the PAC 12 led by USC is quite open to Big 10 proposals - they're current appeal is viewed as only regional). Yes, winning matters too but it devolves into a chicken and egg circular argument in a hurry. So if the Notre Dame example is true for most schools, then there must be a high correlation between annual athletic department revenue, recruiting success, and the level of a school's attractiveness to conferences in this realignment age. Key to all of this is a large fan base with disposable income, and that trumps even the relative success on the field. Advertiser dollars reach their target whether your team wins or loses... as long as you keep watching your lovable loser's games. So, about that correlation. Don't let your eyes trick you into seeing a bunch of miss-matched colors resulting from the thinly sliced tiers. Keep in mind the full population of this report is over 230 schools with close to 200 of them falling into the white shaded "Outside 45". With that in mind, simply have both a revenue and recruiting rank shaded inside the Top 45 indicates correlation, and the closer the shades the higher correlation. There are only two schools outside the Top 45 2022 recruiting classes with revenue inside the the Top 45, and vice-versa. Given how much I've written, and the fact that the conclusion from all this should be pretty apparent, I don't think anyone wants/needs me to tie a bow around a summary highlighting the implications for realignment. If you need me to, let me know and I will.
  22. Part III - What might the next 10 years look like - the reveal and a few final comments. The mystery team is Baylor. I see you... stop coiling back in horror. If it makes you feel better, replace their name with a team you admire. It's not the name of the program that matters, it's their accomplishments and the time frame it took them to accomplish them. If it was difficult to clearly see the parallels in Part II, hopefully it's crystal clear now that I've aligned the years in the way that first caught my attention. This realignment is what I alluded to in "What might the next 10 years look like". 2009 Baylor / 2018 IU - both teams mired in a 10 season or longer stretch of futility. There are inklings of potential improvement but expectations remain low per usual. 2010 Baylor / 2019 IU - both teams get over the hump with a winning record and bowl appearance. 2011 Baylor / 2020 IU - both take a big step forward, rewarded with quality bowl games, and finish their seasons ranked #13 and #12 respectively. 2012 Baylor / 2021 IU - this is a perfect "watch out". Baylor still had a more than respectable season but it was a step back from prior year. When I look at IU's Top 10 most difficult schedule, a never before seen target on their back, and the possibility that they might have overachieved last season, a slight step back from 2020 would not be a surprise. I don't think it's something that on its' own is a reason for concern regarding IU's positive momentum. It's also not a given that they will step back. IU ends the season with a quality bowl win and a #23 ranking. 2013 Baylor / 2022 IU - Just like that Baylor rebounds to 2011 form and even reaches #3 in the polls during the season. More importantly they win the Big 12. IU has a few high level upperclassmen in 2020 and projects to have a decent number of players drafted, but on paper the majority of the talent is in the youth of the program. With a 4* mix getting closer to 50% in the starting lineup, IU will have personnel matching the upper tier coaching and culture of the program. Sure looks like a team capable of being 1 of the 13 best in the nation. IU's 2023 recruiting class matches the Top 20 profile of the 2022 class. IU loses their bowl game by double digits against Texas A&M and ends the season ranked #16. 2014 Baylor / 2023 IU - Baylor is officially out of the woods for being labeled a flash in the pan. They demolish Oklahoma and Texas on their way to winning their second consecutive Big 12 Championship. Baylor spends the final 10 weeks of the season ranked inside the Top 10. They lose a 1 point thriller in the Cotton Bowl and have to settle for 7th in the final poll. Their momentum is clear to high end recruits and they land 5 4* kids, but that's become normal. In 2023 the core of IU's talented youth are now emerging as confident and experienced Power 5 players. As a result of the uncertainty and turmoil plaguing schools outside of the SEC, IU is able to secure a half dozen elite transfers. They finish 2nd in the B10 East and earn a bowl bid against heavily favored Notre Dame. In the 3rd quarter, IU is hit with the dreaded new 25 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct by the fans. The hatred of all schools for all schools as a result of realignment bitterness is palpable. Indiana wins anyway as IU picks off 3 passes and returns a stripped ball for a touchdown. Final season ranking #9. 2015 Baylor / 2024 IU - Baylor has earned enough respect to begin the season ranked #4. The Big 12 was expected to be tough but not nearly as tough as it ultimately would become. Eight weeks into the season Baylor is 8-0 and ranked #2 for the 3rd week in a row, a 3 game stretch against ranked opponents (2 on the road) awaits them. *** Let's pause for a second and take stock. A team that just 6 seasons earlier was the doormat of the Big 12, transformed into an upper tier program with sustained success, and was now 8-0, ranked #2 in the nation, and a front runner for the National Championship. *** It would not turn out that way. Baylor lost a close one to #12 Oklahoma but rebounded with an extremely impressive road win over #4 Oklahoma State. They received the dagger the next with a double OT loss on the road to #15 TCU. Baylor would go on to redeem themselves with a Citrus Bowl victory over #10 North Carolina and finish the season ranked 13th. IU begins the season ranked #10. A heartbreaking home loss to Penn State drops IU to 5-1 and a trip to face undefeated Ohio State awaits them. In what has become the trademark of IU football, they parlay 3 OSU turnovers into 24-10 lead mid way through the 3rd quarter. Ohio State tightens the contest but never really threatens IU for the win. The 9418 IU traveling fans tear down OSU's goal posts... in both end zones and begin looking for other trophies. Indiana is one game away from a one loss regular season and a potential shot at a National Championship. An over confident IU squad uncharacteristically loses focus and falls to Purdue 29-22 in the season finale. Nevertheless they have reached the heights of double digit wins and are once again headed to a major bowl. 2016 Baylor / 2025 IU - Embroiled in a major sexual assault scandal involving Baylor players, the University dismissed multiple key players and terminated Art Briles just 3 months before the start of the season. The now depleted Baylor squad led by an interim coach manages to win their first 6 games and is ranked 8th entering a road match-up against Texas. A capacity crowd of 98,000 T-sippers revel in a one point win by Texas, and the wheels come off for Baylor. They proceed to lose their next five games before ending the season on a positive note with a bowl win over Boise State. A new normal for IU Football is now firmly established. I'm not going to speculate on where we go following our profile rising to a Top 4 Big 10 program, 8-10 wins per year, a perennial Top 20 ranking, the potential to crack the Top 10 and compete in the BCS, and upper echelon recruiting classes year-in-year-out. It may not be Alabama, Clemson, and Florida every year, but there will be an "Alabama, Clemson, and Florida" every year awaiting IU if we are fortunate enough to be an occasional national title contender. I don't know if IU will ever be able to climb the pile to the very top. But I'm confident as long as we retain our "team first" winning culture and have Coach Allen beginning each season with a game film review of the soul crushing 2024 loss to Purdue and a message on retaining focus, then I don't think anyone is out of our league. 2017 Baylor / 2026 IU - Following a max exodus of transfers Baylor barely resembles a Div I football program heading into 2017. They can't overcome their lack of talent or the dark cloud hanging over their program and finish the season 1-11, their worst mark in 19 years. IU continues translating it's winning culture into winning football, business as usual. 2018 - 2019 Baylor - A remarkable thing can happen when you establish a consistent culture of winning and achieve sustained success on the field. It's actually possible to overcome even the most gloomy of situations. Baylor responded from their 1-11 complete meltdown in 2017 to finish 2018 with a winning record and a bowl victory. They took that moment into the 2019 season and rattled off an 11-1 regular season record, a #7 ranking, and a date with #6 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game. Oklahoma proved to be too much as did their Sugar Bowl opponent #5 Georgia. Still, after the dismissal of their coach and a very large chunk of the players just two years earlier, an 11-3 record and #13 final ranking demonstrates their resiliency. I believe IU is on the cusp right now of firmly establishing that same level of resiliency and culture. If we can achieve a reasonable level of success in 2021 I believe it will be here to stay. Well, I didn't plan to make this a 4-Part post but I also underestimated the depth of the parallel I would end up writing. Part IV will be the conclusion and include a look at important variables emerging in the 2021 college football landscape.
  23. The topic of conference realignment is really prone to getting sidetracked with aspects that seem like they should matter, but in reality are insignificant. I'm not speaking in absolutes, but things that by-and-large don't matter: 1) Any sport other than football (not even basketball) 2) Football - historical rivalries 3) Football - Past glory (other than revenue over the past 5-10 years) 4) Market size of the region where a school is located (regionally based TV scheduling is obsolete) 5) Conference charters and contractual obligations to a conference (good lawyers and deep pockets trump contracts) 6) Geographic location relative to regional location of the conference Things that do matter: 1) Level of national TV draw 2) The size of the school's national fan base and annual football revenue 2) The side of the academics/sports coin wielding the power within the conference (athletic department or president/chancellor) 4) Expected future performance on the field (think of "future" in terms of TV Contracts - 10 years) Digging into conference and specific athletic program financials is extremely eye-opening and brings a lot of clarity to which schools are even in consideration for the SEC, Big 10, and ACC conferences. Others have mentioned this in the thread already so I'm not going to rehash it. I will include a few links though. Since COVID severely impacted the financials last season, I prefer to look at 2018-2019 as a baseline. Keep in mind private schools aren't included but it's relatively easy to find their revenue totals (P/L is a bit more tricky). I've also included an interesting article on Alabama's athletic budget and a report on Notre Dame athletic department financials. NCAA Athletic Department Revenue The things you learn reading Alabama’s $164 million athletics budget closely University of Notre Dame Sports Information
  24. Part II - What might the next 10 years look like? The table below breaks out the seasonal results for another school that seemed to come out of nowhere and establish a sustained presence on the national scene. In the 14 seasons prior to the breakout of School X, their record was 43-117 and they managed to win more than 1 conference game just 3 times. In the 14 seasons prior to the breakout of School X, IU's record was 52-109 and they failed to win more than 1 conference game 8 times. No point in splitting hairs between IU and School X, prior to 2010 they're both the very definition of bottom of the barrel programs, seemingly headed nowhere. Both schools would love to be Iowa or even Michigan State. The idea of competing with programs like Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Clemson, or Ohio State isn't a thought even in the most distant recesses of their minds. I'm not going to mention what changed for School X until Part III, as that's not the point of this section. So what is the point then? There's a perception that the gap between the elite programs and the average-to-good programs is massive, some might think nearly insurmountable. Programs like Iowa and Michigan State are historically "good" but they're not going to challenge Ohio State or Michigan for conference supremacy as anything more than a single season anomaly. They're often bowl worthy but not legitimately in the national hunt for a Top 5 finish. Never mind what this implies for programs like IU or School X. Yet, School X shattered that perception. Over the next 10 seasons they accomplished the following: 5 double digit win seasons 2 conference championships 6 major bowl game appearances (9 overall) 5 times with a final ranking inside the Top 13 3 consecutive seasons floating inside the Top 4 (i.e. actually competing at the same level as Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Clemson, or Ohio State) Enough national recognition to begin one season with a #4 Pre-Season ranking I don't know about you, but I consider this list of accomplishments as borderline elite and certainly the level I hope IU is able to reach. Consider where School X came from (the previous 14 seasons) and the added fact School X did not profile as a strong football program in their distant past either. I'll also add in that School X did not have as much going for it as IU does 2022 either. I think this is evidence that it's actually possible for a program like IU to rise to heights that only a short while ago would have seemed preposterous. In Part III I'll reveal who School X is (if you haven't already guessed) and mention a few aspects of their rise to prominence. I'll also offer opinions on the landscape in 2022 as compared to 2010 and how that impacts IU's chances of a similar meteoric rise.
  25. This is a 3-Part post intended to identify concrete reasons for sustainable optimism in IU Football. Part I will focus on three components I think are key reasons for the rise of the program. Part II will offer a comparative scenario of another program (name withheld) that made a sudden significant jump in national relevance. Part III will be the reveal of the school profiled in Part II and briefly touch on potential implications of conference realignment for the current momentum of IU football. I welcome both additional insights and alternate view points, along with corrections if I stated anything incorrectly. Part 1 - Three components that give me optimism for the future of IU Football For so long the future of IU Football has appeared a rather bleak landscape, and I'll be honest, I became indifferent years ago. Don't write me off as a fair-weather fan though. You see, I had rather modest expectations as I was fortunate enough to attend IU the last time they were even remotely relevant (87-92). I expected the team to hover slightly above .500, make a decent bowl game every other year, and crack the Top 25 for a few weeks every now and again. I expected more than the 73-159 record and just 1 minor bowl appearance IU generated over the 20 seasons from 1995-2014. When the results the next four seasons were 6-7, 6-6, 5-7, and 5-7 I viewed it as a temporary shift from terrible to mediocre. If you became an IU Football fan sometime after the early 90s it's completely understandable for you to have zero expectations. I didn't move on to another team, IU was still "my team" but I just stopped caring. What Coach Allen is building is pretty remarkable, for a vast number of reasons (which I'm not going to rehash). There are three components that have caught my attention over the last several seasons. 1) Recruiting: IU was landing a few high level recruits at the offensive skill positions, a couple of difference makers for the LB and DB defensive units (along with a few "Oladipo's" and "Anunoby's"), but securing comparable talent on the OL and DL remained elusive. Depth remained a major concern as well. Prior to the 2022 class I thought it was enough to make things interesting but not enough to breakthrough and become a legitimate threat to the traditional powers. Along with being the highest rated, the 2022 recruiting class has to be the most balanced in IU history and includes legitimate line talent. As long as we remain competitive on the field and generate a reasonable amount of national exposure, I see no reason why this paradigm shift won't be the new normal. 2) Style of Play: Nothing caught my attention more than the ball hawking nature of our secondary. IU's 2.5 Takeaways per/Game in 2020 was good for 4th in the nation. IU's nation leading 2.1 Interceptions per/Game left the rest of country in the dust (2nd best was 1.7 Int/Game). The net Takeaway Margin of 1.0 was 8th in the nation. It made me wonder if the ball was just bouncing our way a bit more than normal or if there was more to it. There's a fascinating video from 2017 (shortly before Allen's 1st season as HC) that cleared this question up for me in a hurry (link below). I'm focusing on just one aspect of coaching but I see parallels in other areas of his game planning and emphasis on specific facets of technique. I think Allen is a master at negating the size/strength advantages of our competition and the style of play is very NFL friendly (attractive for recruits). Jon Gruden & Tom Allen - Defensive Film Room 3) Culture: I imagine I'm not the only one who felt a little "cringy" the first time I heard about LEO. I no longer feel this way. There are countless examples of LEO in action that indicate the players are 100% bought in. LEO is the focal point of IU's team cohesion and it translates to great on-the-field communication and trust. Another pair of highly admirable traits of this team are their calm collective nature and consistent level of effort. They don't panic or make mistakes trying to win the game on one play. There is absolutely no quit in our team and an obvious example is their response to a 35-7 deficit on the road against the 2nd best team in the nation. I have to believe the concept of LEO plays a significant role in what we are seeing on the field. Can't wait to see where CHASE leads us. We are all in a euphoric period of genuine excitement as a result of IU's recent momentum. We are in uncharted water... or are we? Part II will focus on a scenario profiling a potential trajectory for IU football, which I'll try to post in the next few hours (I have the program identified for the scenario but it requires a bit more research and detail to put together). Not all elements will be perfectly correlated but the results are intended to demonstrate it can be done.
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