IU quaterback Ben Chappell
The Big Ten introduced its new divisions to the world Tuesday evening, and if you are someone who counts on statistics to predict outcomes, then the Hoosiers' new division looks to be challenging.
Indiana was placed in the same division with football powerhouses Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. Purdue and Illinois were also placed in the division to sustain the heated rivalry between the schools. Where the statistics reveal something, is that, since Bill Lynch took charge in 2007, the Hoosiers have just two wins and a staggering eleven losses against these five opponents in three years, and none of those wins have come against the Badgers, Buckeyes, or Nittany Lions.
There's little doubt that Indiana has been placed in the toughest division in the Big Ten. However, in looking over the realignment, the divisions themselves seem strictly regional, so it was inevitable that Indiana would end up in a division with Ohio State and Penn State. There is truly no reason to complain, and perhaps we should be excited that great teams such as Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin will be coming to play in Bloomington year in and year out.
However, the Hoosiers' football program is truly on the rise. With new facilities, a brand new scoreboard, an explosive offense, and new defensive schemes, this team has the chance to possibly make some noise this season in the Big Ten. If they are able to win some conference games. then there is no reason to be afraid of the difficult Big Ten schedule that will face the team for the next several years.
There are definitely some problems for IU football in this new format, though. The first problem is hard to get around --- Ohio State will always be national powerhouse Ohio State, and Indiana football has never fared well against the Buckeyes. The last Hoosier victory over Ohio State came in 1988, and it could be a long time coming before the IU fan sees a win against Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes aren't the only divisional opponent that Indiana has struggled against. The Hoosiers haven't beaten Wisconsin or Penn State in a decade.
Hoosier fans can count on competitive games with Purdue and Illinois, but how much will each season mean to a fan when it feels like there are an automatic three losses on the schedule?
The truth of the matter is that it probably didn't matter which division Indiana ended up in.
Even If the Big Ten would have realigned the conference differently, the Hoosiers still would have no guaranteed wins.
We all need to face the facts, and realize that Indiana is not the cream of the crop as far as Big Ten football goes. In reality, Indiana does not pull five-star recruits and have a 100,000 seat stadium like their opponents in the division. Indiana was placed in a division with schools that have all made at least one Rose Bowl appearance since 2000. Indiana, on the other hand, has not reached the Rose Bowl since 1968.
These statistics are truly frightening, so until Indiana does become a football school, prepare for some rough seasons in a difficult division.