2008 did not go according to plan for Bill Lynch. The Indiana head coach was riding the momentum of the Hoosier's long awaited return to a bowl game heading into 2008 and the schedule was set up for return trip.
The team never really got off the ground though and after losses to Ball State and Central Michigan early in the season that dream seemed all but lost.
Coming into 2009, the Hoosiers schedule does them no favors. It will be important for Lynch and the Hoosiers to get off to a fast start. It all begins on...
Sept. 5 Eastern Kentucky
The Hoosiers open with a solid FCS program, but an FCS program none the less. If there is any hope for a bowl trip this season this is a must win game.
Sept. 12 Western Michigan
The Broncos will offer a stiffer test for the Hoosiers, but this is another must win for Bill Lynch. The schedule after this point becomes decidedly more difficult.
Sept. 19 at Akron
The Zips probably wouldn't put much of a scare into most BCS conference schools, but Akron could hang around. The first road test for Bill Lynch isn't going to be a cakewalk, but a win here would be a huge momentum builder heading into conference play.
Indiana is going to need all the momentum they can muster. There are no breaks in this schedule and the stretch of games that make up the remainder of the schedule are all going to battles and the Hoosiers will likely be large underdogs in most of them.
Sept. 26 at Michigan
Getting Michigan early in the season could be helpful for the Hoosiers, but Michigan did something this off-season that Indiana did not...recruit.
Michigan will be a much improved team this season on both sides of the ball. Whether the slew of new and young starters that will likely see the field for Rich Rodriguez will have had to gel is a question mark, but the talent is there.
Again momentum is the name of the game and if the Hoosiers can steal one in the Big House or even keep it respectable that will serve them well, because look who's next.
Oct. 3 Ohio State
The Buckeyes have been road warriors over the last few seasons winning 15 straight on the road in Big Ten play. Bill Lynch has never faced the Buckeyes and his first meeting with Jim Tressel will likely be the biggest home game for Indiana in quite some time.
Oct. 10 at Virginia
Originally this was supposed a home date with South Florida, but the Bulls pulled out to take on Florida State leaving the Hoosiers with an empty date until a few days ago.
I congratulate the Hoosiers for not taking the easy road on this scheduling decision. It would have been very easy and maybe somewhat tempting to schedule a middling FCS school.
Taking on the Cavaliers on the road will be no easy test, but taking the challenge could be beneficial in the future.
Oct. 17 Illinois
The Hoosiers head back home to take on the Illini who will offer a huge challenge to the Hoosier defense. Followed by...
Oct. 24 at Northwestern
The Wildcats could be one of the Big Ten's toughest defenses this season and moving the ball in Evanston could become a problem for Kellen Lewis (or Ben Chappell) and the offense.
Oct. 31 at Iowa
A second straight road game, this time the Hoosiers travel to Kinnick Stadium to take on a rising Iowa team. The rowdy Hawkeye faithful are always out in force and Iowa always plays tougher at home... ask Penn State.
Nov. 7 Wisconsin
It could be bad news that the Hoosiers get this Badger team so late in the season. The Badgers have added some playmakers on offense and by this late date they should have had time to work the kinks out.
Nov. 14 at Penn State
For the second straight year the Hoosiers will travel to Happy Valley. How is this possible you may ask? The Big Ten plays a rotating schedule and every few years that schedule resets. Un-lucky for Indiana that 2009 is a reset year.
Nov. 21 Purdue
The Big Ten schedule has been brutal. Purdue, at least right now, doesn't seem to be that far away from Indiana talent-wise and this could very well be Indiana's easiest conference game.
New Purdue head coach Danny Hope expects great things from the Boilermakers this year, but the truth of the matter is that the season closer for both schools could be about not finishing last.