Note – This is the 2012 information. Please check the 2013 Indiana page for a look at this new season.
The Real Question in Bloomington: When Does Basketball Season Start?
The 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers will enter the season as the one of the favorites to win the National Title. They return all 5 starters from an NCAA Tournament team and bring in a highly ranked recruiting class. Coach Tom Crean has finally brought the Hoosiers back to the level of play Hoosier fans expect. Oh, wait…this isn’t a College Basketball preview, is it? All kidding aside, Hoosier football in 2012 will merely be an activity for Hoosier fans to attend while passing time by until hoops season starts. There’s very little buzz in Bloomington about the football team. Of course, there never really is.
Indiana fans care about Hoosier football about as much as Penn State fans care about Sandusky’s victims. But then again, why should they care about a program that isn’t committed to winning? The Hoosier athletic department focuses on basketball, basketball, and…basketball. That’s been their Bell Cow for many years. The football program is rarely competitive, and 2012 will be no different. Alas, we must analyze the Hoosiers 2012 football team just in case there are 1 or 2 Hoosier fans out there that actually care!
Kevin Wilson’s first year as a College head coach went about as bad as he could have imagined. The Hoosiers didn’t beat an FBS team all year. Their only win was against FCS foe South Carolina State. It wasn’t only the losses that frustrated Wilson. It was the manner in which they lost. Indiana wasn’t even competitive in most games. In their 6 Big-10 conference games, they kept the score within 2 touchdowns only twice (Penn State and Purdue). The other 6 games were over by the end of the 3rd quarter, if not halftime.
Most honest observers will say that Wilson didn’t have a fair chance to win games in his first year, given the talent at his disposal. But the truth is his staff really failed their players. Indiana wasn’t going to win many games last year regardless of who was the coach. But Wilson appeared to have lost his team early on. The Hoosiers weren’t even competitive. Better coaching wouldn’t have helped Indiana win more than another game or 2, but they wouldn’t have been run of the field week in and week out.
We’re going to be fair to Kevin Wilson. 2011 was his first ever as a head coach. There is a learning curve. We’ll know more about him as a head coach this year. The Hoosiers have a little bit more talent and experience. His job in 2012 shouldn’t be to win games. Indiana isn’t going to do much winning. But if he can keep the team together, get them to at least be competitive, and possibly pull off an upset or two, it will be a job well done for Kevin Wilson.
There just isn’t much talent on this team…
There’s nothing we hate doing more than criticizing College athletes. They are young and aren’t professionals. But there’s really no way around it – Indiana doesn’t have much legitimate Big-10 caliber talent on either side of the ball. The recruiting class they have coming in appears to be similar to the recruiting classes Indiana traditionally gets. A bunch of 2 and 3-stars with offers mostly from mid-major programs and FCS schools. It’s nearly impossible to win without stealing a few big recruits every now and again.
The good news for the Hoosiers is also their bad news. They return 16 starters. Unfortunately, those 16 starters were the key performers on the Hoosiers 1-11 squad last season. One thing is certain – Indiana won’t be any worse this year. Their players will either perform at the same level or improve. Don’t expect major improvement out of these players because the majority of them have limited upside. Coach Wilson can only hope they each improve slightly, which leads to a significant collective improvement.
Tre Roberson will lead this offense. He’s a dual-threat quarterback that – at times – made big plays last year. He’s athletic and has a decent arm, but is very inconsistent. Part of that inconsistency was due to starting as a freshman in the Big-10. Part was due to lacking great accuracy. Roberson ran for 426 yards and threw for 937 yards in 9 games as a freshman last year. If Indiana is going to put up any kind of numbers offensively, they’re going to need Roberson to consistently make big plays.
It won’t be easy for Roberson to make big plays. There’s no secret around the Big-10 anymore about him. Every defense knows he’s a big threat to run the football. The focus each team has when playing Indiana will be on Roberson. But even more difficult for him will be having to run/pass behind a mediocre offensive line. There are only 2 legitimate Big-10 starters on this line (Center Will Matte and Left Guard Bernard Taylor). Even though the Hoosiers do return 4 starters on the offensive line, expect them to get pushed around by any decent defensive line.
As bad as the offense will be, the Hoosier defense is in even worse shape. Indiana ranked 114th nationally in scoring defense and 109th in total defense in a year where they didn’t face many high-powered offenses. There are 8 defensive starters back. But, again, that might not be a good thing. They couldn’t stop the run or the pass last year. That won’t change in 2012.
On the defensive line, the Hoosiers are led by 4-year starting defensive tackle Adam Replogle. He has decent size, not great athleticism, and gets by on effort. He’s a hard worker with a lot of heart. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much talent around him on the line. He will draw many double teams this year. Replogle managed 7 tackles for loss last year, which isn’t great, but good enough for second best on the team.
The rest of the defense is counting on immediate impacts from the newcomers. The Hoosiers brought in a pair of JUCO transfers to anchor their linebacking corps. Jacarri Alexander and David Cooper enrolled in classes last winter and were both impressive in Spring ball. They certainly can’t be any worse than the players they are replacing.
2012 Indiana Football Predictions and Picks
You can already tell we aren’t predicting a banner year for Indiana. They play a relatively weak schedule, but still won’t win many games. They won’t even be favored in more than 2 or 3 games. The non-conference slate sets up nicely for them to win a few games. But they’ll have a hard time getting their first conference win in the Kevin Wilson era. In fact, the Hoosiers could start out the season 3-0 and not win another game all year.
Sept 1 vs Indiana State – WIN
Sept 8 vs UMASS (Boston) – WIN
Sept 15 vs Ball State – WIN
Sept 29 at Northwestern – LOSS
Oct 6 vs Michigan State – LOSS
Oct 13 vs Ohio State – LOSS
Oct 20 at Navy – LOSS
Oct 27 at Illinois – LOSS
Nov 3 vs Iowa – LOSS
Nov 10 vs Wisconsin – LOSS
Nov 17 at Penn State – LOSS
Nov 24 at Purdue – LOSS
Overall Record: (3-9)
Conference Record: (0-8)
Games Favored: 3
Games Underdog: 9
Indiana Hoosiers: Final Analysis
Tre Roberson can make some plays. So can running back Stephen Houston. Wide receiver Kofi Hughes would make more plays with a better passing quarterback. Other than that, the Hoosiers really don’t have any playmakers on either side of the ball. We aren’t anti-Indiana. We have nothing against them even though it may seem like it from reading this preview. But we have to be honest in our assessments of each team.
Indiana is a basketball school. Their football program is merely there to collect Big-10 Network revenue. Only a small portion of Hoosier fans actually care much about the football team. Heck, even the administration doesn’t seem to care. Kevin Wilson is fighting an uphill battle coaching at Indiana. The facilities and commitment from the administration are not there for him. If Wilson ever gets Indiana to a bowl game, we’ll be surprised.