Next up in our preseason Q&A is Indiana. Adam Johnson of Crimson Quarry was kind enough to answer some questions about the Hoosiers.
1. How do you look back on the 2012 season? It was a three-game improvement from the year before, but with Tre Roberson knocked out early in the season, plus four losses in a five-game stretch being by four points or less, it seems like the Hoosiers could have done even better.
2012 is very much a season that a lot of IU fans want back. There are so many what-ifs and positives sitting in last season that never had the chance to show themselves. Indiana was better than a 4-win team, but with Tre Roberson breaking and the replacements taking some time to get up to speed the losses to Ball State and Navy would most assuredly been Ws. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. I think because of what we saw last year you'll find many more IU fans more optimistic about this year than many outside of the program. Due to all the almosts last year, many are expecting bowl eligibility this season.
2. Looking ahead to 2013, most of the teams comes back, but the schedule's pretty tough. What's the outlook and what are the expectations?
Expectations are to go bowling. Indiana has the benefit of 8 home games this year and a non-conference schedule that is pretty soft. The one hesitation in predicting a W in the non-con is when Missouri comes to town, but even for an SEC team they're aren't terribly frightening. Grab 3 wins against Navy, Bowling Green and Indiana State and then 3 of Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue and @Penn State doesn't sound out of the question. I would set the over/under this year at 5.5 and expectations say take the over. History of course says take the under and that is always in the back of our minds.
3. Two years in, what are the thoughts on Kevin Wilson? He seems to be going the "score a bunch, hope the defense doesn't blow it" route. It has worked in the past in the Big Ten, and it certainly provides exciting football.
Kevin Wilson despite results TBD has brought some excitement back to the football team. Indiana fans have a special place in their hearts for the guy that can recruit but plays a hard ass to the media. Many are hoping that Wilson can be our football version of Bob Knight. Not so much in the results, that would be ridiculous to ask, but in the sense of program identity. Wilson appears to be well on his way. He's recruiting better than IU has ever recruited and all the players work hard and keep their nose out of trouble. We're at least fielding a team that we can be proud of in their effort. I think the results will come with time.
4. Thoughts on the new helmets? I've seen mixed reviews, but, personally, I really like them all, especially the chrome one that has received most of the attention.
The helmets are gimmicky. I'm a sucker for gimmicks. I REALLY want to buy that crimson one with the state flag on the side. The crimson and chrome striped ones also work for me but a little less so. The real problem with them more than anything is that they're a gamble. If you do win like Oregon does and their crazy uniforms then they're pretty sweet. If you lose, then people just laugh at you. However, the recruits seem to like them from what I've seen so who am I to complain?
5. MSU and Indiana play each other every year and have a trophy. How do you look at the rivalry?
5. There's a trophy? Yeah, it's not really looked at as a rivalry to us. I don't know if that is due to our focus on basketball or the fact that we've never really been good. Outside of the Old Oaken Bucket with Purdue we don't really pay much attention to any other football rivalries. Even that one gets the most minor of attention since it is so one sided as well. This really highlights one of Wilson's biggest challenges coming into the program. The fan apathy for the football team works against him more than Mark Dantonio ever has. But the fans are coming around.
6. Lastly, going to the new divisions, things don't look particularly good for the Hoosiers. Do you think Indiana can get to the point of at least reaching a bowl game most seasons?
Can I see it? Yes. Is it plausible? Certainly. Am I willing to say one way or the other? No. Indiana is still in such no man's land with our program that I'm not comfortable really stating anything concrete about long term viability. Kevin Wilson has shown signs of life and the program is moving forward, but it isn't at the point where I can say one way or the other with any confidence. Ask me again in January and I'll have more certainty.
Thanks again to Adam for answering some questions. Check out Crimson Quarry for all things Indiana.