Was 2019 Fool's Gold?

daddyhoosier

Freshman
Aug 31, 2019
447
1,298
93
Indiana football won eight games in 2019 and made an appearance in the Gator Bowl – a game which is closer to the top of the Bowl food chain than it is to the bottom. But sports fans can be fickle. They can be insatiable and even unreasonable.

There is a contingent of IU fans on the message boards and social media claiming that this is the same old Indiana. The Hoosiers, they assert, haven’t really improved much, if at all.

But is this the case? Were the 2019 Hoosiers fool's gold? A mirage? An aberration? An anomaly?

After all, the haters will say, IU won eight games against teams with a combined record of 25-71 and a combined winning percentage of .260. Not one team, they say, had a winning record.

Indiana’s best win, the pessimists will point out, was at Nebraska who finished 5-7 and rated 52nd according to Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. The average SP+ ranking of the opponents IU beat was 90.1.

The Hoosiers had Michigan State (7-6) and Tennessee (8-5) both on the ropes but were unable to close out. Good teams, they say, find a way to win and Indiana was unable to do so.

Indiana started out 7-2 but finished by losing three of its last four, keyboard warriors will note.

Under Tom Allen IU has had two of its best recruiting classes ever. But, some will say, class rankings are going up overall across the board. Relative to the rest of the Big Ten Indiana still finds itself in the bottom half to the bottom third of the league in terms of its class rank.

How seriously should Hoosier fans take such negative arguments? Are these the same old Hoosiers?

To quote the great Mark Twain, there are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics. Or as a teacher I once had liked to say, if you torture the data long enough it will confess to anything.

In today’s college football teams don’t win eight games by being pushovers. Mediocre teams may beat teams that are better than them but often they will turn around and lose to a bad team they should probably beat.

Indiana beat every single team it was supposed to beat in 2019 – a feat that is hard to pull off in any sport.

The Hoosiers finished the regular season ranked 24th in the SP+ ratings. SP+ is not an evaluation of resume but a measure of statistics, outcomes and efficiencies that correlate most with winning. In other words if we go by measures most associated with winning Indiana was a Top 25 team in 2019.

For example, the Hoosiers finished the year highly ranked in the following categories:

  • Time of Possession – 7th
  • 3rd down conversion percentage – 15th
  • Passing offense – 15th
  • Team Passing Efficiency – 23rd
The full impact of Indiana’s improved recruiting classes hasn’t been felt yet. IU was one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten in 2019 so they should only get better next season.

One of the big improvements from say 2016 to 2019 is depth. Even in 2018 there were a couple games where Indiana was competitive for three quarters but then ran out of gas in the fourth due to a lack of depth, especially on defense.

In 2019 Indiana definitely had an upgrade in depth and they should be even better in 2020 as Tom Allen and company continue to develop recruits.

Don’t forget that against Tennessee Coy Cronk, Simon Stepaniak, Stevie Scott and Donavan Hale were all out. That’s four starters and Indiana was not only competitive, the Hoosiers should have won the Gator Bowl against a solid SEC opponent. This is not an excuse but a testament to the depth that is being developed in Bloomington.

Recruiting class rankings and player ratings are a good tool to utilize and evaluate but they are still subjective and not entirely reliable. It’s nice to be loaded with 4 and 5 star recruits obviously but programs like Wisconsin and Iowa have shown that developing 3 star players into very good Big Ten football players over the course of four years is another way to have success in terms of building a program.

The Hoosiers won three league games on the road this season, something that would have been unthinkable in say 2014. Those three road victories came against Maryland, Nebraska and Purdue. All three of those games were hard fought Big Ten brawls that required grit and fortitude to pull out the win – traits not necessarily associated with past IU teams.

Indiana was in five very close games and they were 3-2 in those games (3-3 if you include Penn State, a legit Top 15 team). That’s not the end of the world.

Sure Indiana has room to improve. Defensively they need to create more turnovers in 2020 and the secondary has to play better. There are some game management issues that need to be addressed by the coaching staff. And at some point in order to take the next step IU is going to need to beat Wisconsin or Michigan State or Michigan or Penn State.

But overall this Indiana program has clearly improved and has taken several steps forward in the last few years. To argue that they haven’t is either ignorant or willfully defeatist and cynical.

It’s happening slowly and incrementally and to those not paying close attention the baby steps can be missed. But that’s just an indication that it’s being done the right way.

There are no shortcuts.

So trust the process Hoosier fans! 2020 can’t get here soon enough.

Originally Published Here
 
Last edited:

red hornet

Sophomore
Gold Member
Dec 17, 2019
816
2,296
93
Indiana football won eight games in 2019 and made an appearance in the Gator Bowl – a game which is closer to the top of the Bowl food chain than it is to the bottom. But sports fans can be fickle. They can be insatiable and even unreasonable.

There is a contingent of IU fans on the message boards and social media claiming that this is the same old Indiana. The Hoosiers, they assert, haven’t really improved much, if at all.

But is this the case? Were the 2019 Hoosiers fool's gold? A mirage? An aberration? An anomaly?

After all, the haters will say, IU won eight games but of the seven FBS opponents they beat none of them had a winning record. In fact, they say, those seven schools had a combined record of 24-60 and a combined winning percentage of .286. Eastern Illinois finished 6-5 but they are an FCS school.

Indiana’s best win, the pessimists will point out, was at Nebraska who finished 5-7 and rated 52nd according to Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. The average SP+ ranking of the opponents IU beat was 90.1.

The Hoosiers had Michigan State (7-6) and Tennessee (8-5) both on the ropes but were unable to close out. Good teams, they say, find a way to win and Indiana was unable to do so.

Indiana started out 7-2 but finished by losing three of its last four, keyboard warriors will point out.

Under Tom Allen IU has had two of its best recruiting classes ever. But, some will say, class rankings are going up overall across the board. Relative to the rest of the Big Ten Indiana still finds itself in the bottom half to the bottom third of the league in terms of its class rank.

How seriously should Hoosier fans take such negative arguments? Are these the same old Hoosiers?

To quote the great Mark Twain, there are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics. Or as a teacher I once had liked to say, if you torture the data long enough it will confess to anything.

In today’s college football teams don’t win eight games by being pushovers. Mediocre teams may beat teams that are better than them but often they will turn around and lose to a bad team they should probably beat.

Indiana beat every single team it was supposed to beat in 2019 – a feat that is hard to pull off in any sport.

The Hoosiers finished the regular season ranked 24th in the SP+ ratings. SP+ is not an evaluation of resume but a measure of statistics, outcomes and efficiencies that correlate most with winning. In other words if we go by measures most associated with winning Indiana was a Top 25 team in 2019.

For example, the Hoosiers finished the year highly ranked in the following categories:

  • Time of Possession – 7th
  • 3rd down conversion percentage – 15th
  • Passing offense – 15th
  • Team Passing Efficiency – 23rd
The full impact of Indiana’s improved recruiting classes hasn’t been felt yet. IU was one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten in 2019 so they should only get better next season.

One of the big improvements from say 2016 to 2019 is depth. Even in 2018 there were a couple games where Indiana was competitive for three quarters but then ran out of gas in the fourth due to a lack of depth, especially on defense.

In 2019 Indiana definitely had an upgrade in depth and they should be even better in 2020 as Tom Allen and company continue to develop recruits.

Don’t forget that against Tennessee Coy Cronk, Simon Stepaniak, Stevie Scott and Donavan Hale were all out. That’s four starters and Indiana was not only competitive, the Hoosiers should have won the Gator Bowl against a solid SEC opponent. This is not an excuse but a testament to the depth that is being developed in Bloomington.

Recruiting class rankings and player ratings are a good tool to utilize and evaluate but they are still subjective and not entirely reliable. It’s nice to be loaded with 4 and 5 star recruits obviously but programs like Wisconsin and Iowa have shown that developing 3 star players into very good Big Ten football players over the course of four years is another way to have success in terms of building a program.

The Hoosiers won three league games on the road this season, something that would have been unthinkable in say 2014. Those three road victories came against Maryland, Nebraska and Purdue. All three of those games were hard fought Big Ten brawls that required grit and fortitude to pull out the win – traits not necessarily associated with past IU teams.

Indiana was in five very close games and they were 3-2 in those games (3-3 if you include Penn State, a legit Top 15 team). That’s not the end of the world.

Sure Indiana has room to improve. Defensively they need to create more turnovers in 2020 and the secondary has to play better. There are some game management issues that need to be addressed by the coaching staff. And at some point in order to take the next step IU is going to need to beat Wisconsin or Michigan State or Michigan or Penn State.

But overall this Indiana program has clearly improved and has taken several steps forward in the last few years. To argue that they haven’t is either ignorant or willfully defeatist and cynical.

It’s happening slowly and incrementally and to those not paying close attention the baby steps can be missed. But that’s just an indication that it’s being done the right way.

There are no shortcuts.

So trust the process Hoosier fans! 2020 can’t get here soon enough.

Originally Published Here
Excellent synopsis of Indiana's Football program.
 

iu2win

Freshman
Mar 7, 2005
667
806
93
"But overall this Indiana program has clearly improved and has taken several steps forward in the last few years. To argue that they haven’t is either ignorant or willfully defeatist and cynical."

Well said, not the same ole IU football program. Sure, there were some games that ended badly for IU in the closing minutes. However, other than OSU and Michigan this IU team either won the game or was in it with a fighting chance until the end. How many times in the past can IU football fans look at the overall schedule at the end of a season and say that about only two, yes TWO games?

Now, step it up another notch. I would love to attend another Florida bowl to see IU compete on the national level again next year! Go Hoosiers !!!
 

abraxis

All-American
Gold Member
Sep 3, 2001
9,818
4,866
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70
Stone Head, IN
There’s such a fine line between the “have/have nots”, what with injuries, questionable calls, quirks of recruiting, etc. Really good teams need the really good talent in the really important positions, injury free throughout, given the really right calls. It’s all really quite simple. ;)

That said, I do like your post. It gives me hope for 2020 as the long road to recovery progresses.
 

staxawax

Redshirt
Aug 12, 2005
105
68
28
It definitely was a step in the right direction. The argument that they only won games against teams with losing records is valid but in the past they found ways to lose many of those games. I think the defense improved so much over the course of the season that if they had played MSU later in the schedule they would have won. The Gator Bowl loss I put on the staff for the special teams failure.
Next year the schedule is tougher so 6-7 wins is fair.
 

iueyedoc99

Junior
Gold Member
Jul 30, 2012
1,863
1,736
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If Neb, PU, MA, and NW had had normal years for them this team probably splits those 4 games and goes 6-6, then wins the Quicklane Bowl or whatnot, so not a breakthrough but progress for sure.

If all our weapons were healthy, we could still have won 7 or 8 but that literally never happens at IU.

I bet its been at least 30 years since all four of those teams were sub .500 in the same season.

edit: bored with this bball game so looked it up...’19 was the first year since 1960 and I didnt even need to look at MA.
 
Last edited:

welshman#

All-Big Ten
Gold Member
Dec 10, 2001
4,480
1,911
113
Indiana football won eight games in 2019 and made an appearance in the Gator Bowl – a game which is closer to the top of the Bowl food chain than it is to the bottom. But sports fans can be fickle. They can be insatiable and even unreasonable.

There is a contingent of IU fans on the message boards and social media claiming that this is the same old Indiana. The Hoosiers, they assert, haven’t really improved much, if at all.

But is this the case? Were the 2019 Hoosiers fool's gold? A mirage? An aberration? An anomaly?

After all, the haters will say, IU won eight games against teams with a combined record of 25-71 and a combined winning percentage of .260. Not one team, they say, had a winning record.

Indiana’s best win, the pessimists will point out, was at Nebraska who finished 5-7 and rated 52nd according to Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. The average SP+ ranking of the opponents IU beat was 90.1.

The Hoosiers had Michigan State (7-6) and Tennessee (8-5) both on the ropes but were unable to close out. Good teams, they say, find a way to win and Indiana was unable to do so.

Indiana started out 7-2 but finished by losing three of its last four, keyboard warriors will note.

Under Tom Allen IU has had two of its best recruiting classes ever. But, some will say, class rankings are going up overall across the board. Relative to the rest of the Big Ten Indiana still finds itself in the bottom half to the bottom third of the league in terms of its class rank.

How seriously should Hoosier fans take such negative arguments? Are these the same old Hoosiers?

To quote the great Mark Twain, there are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics. Or as a teacher I once had liked to say, if you torture the data long enough it will confess to anything.

In today’s college football teams don’t win eight games by being pushovers. Mediocre teams may beat teams that are better than them but often they will turn around and lose to a bad team they should probably beat.

Indiana beat every single team it was supposed to beat in 2019 – a feat that is hard to pull off in any sport.

The Hoosiers finished the regular season ranked 24th in the SP+ ratings. SP+ is not an evaluation of resume but a measure of statistics, outcomes and efficiencies that correlate most with winning. In other words if we go by measures most associated with winning Indiana was a Top 25 team in 2019.

For example, the Hoosiers finished the year highly ranked in the following categories:

  • Time of Possession – 7th
  • 3rd down conversion percentage – 15th
  • Passing offense – 15th
  • Team Passing Efficiency – 23rd
The full impact of Indiana’s improved recruiting classes hasn’t been felt yet. IU was one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten in 2019 so they should only get better next season.

One of the big improvements from say 2016 to 2019 is depth. Even in 2018 there were a couple games where Indiana was competitive for three quarters but then ran out of gas in the fourth due to a lack of depth, especially on defense.

In 2019 Indiana definitely had an upgrade in depth and they should be even better in 2020 as Tom Allen and company continue to develop recruits.

Don’t forget that against Tennessee Coy Cronk, Simon Stepaniak, Stevie Scott and Donavan Hale were all out. That’s four starters and Indiana was not only competitive, the Hoosiers should have won the Gator Bowl against a solid SEC opponent. This is not an excuse but a testament to the depth that is being developed in Bloomington.

Recruiting class rankings and player ratings are a good tool to utilize and evaluate but they are still subjective and not entirely reliable. It’s nice to be loaded with 4 and 5 star recruits obviously but programs like Wisconsin and Iowa have shown that developing 3 star players into very good Big Ten football players over the course of four years is another way to have success in terms of building a program.

The Hoosiers won three league games on the road this season, something that would have been unthinkable in say 2014. Those three road victories came against Maryland, Nebraska and Purdue. All three of those games were hard fought Big Ten brawls that required grit and fortitude to pull out the win – traits not necessarily associated with past IU teams.

Indiana was in five very close games and they were 3-2 in those games (3-3 if you include Penn State, a legit Top 15 team). That’s not the end of the world.

Sure Indiana has room to improve. Defensively they need to create more turnovers in 2020 and the secondary has to play better. There are some game management issues that need to be addressed by the coaching staff. And at some point in order to take the next step IU is going to need to beat Wisconsin or Michigan State or Michigan or Penn State.

But overall this Indiana program has clearly improved and has taken several steps forward in the last few years. To argue that they haven’t is either ignorant or willfully defeatist and cynical.

It’s happening slowly and incrementally and to those not paying close attention the baby steps can be missed. But that’s just an indication that it’s being done the right way.

There are no shortcuts.

So trust the process Hoosier fans! 2020 can’t get here soon enough.

Originally Published Here
IMO the question isn't whether IU "made progress" in 2019 but whether it can sustain, and perhaps even build on, that progress, or if that progress turns out (as it has numerous times before w/ IU football) to be ephemeral.

Posing the question that way is especially important for "haters" like me who believe that what was, far and away, the single biggest factor in IU's progress in 2019 has already left the program for another one.

So I'm waiting to see what the coaching staff turns out to be for 2020 before I even start to think about the 2020 season itself and how that plays out.
 

vesuvius13

All-American
Gold Member
May 11, 2017
6,712
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The changes in IU's coaching staff will have a lot to say about the success of the 2020 team however with all but four starters coming back suggestion 2020 can be a very good year. Another year of maturing and practice along with film study should make the team even stronger next year.
 
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Big Red Crimson Buffalo

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Aug 28, 2001
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When IU threw the ball down to Fryfogel to the 36 yard line in the last couple of minutes, I thought that the play-calling that followed that catch was abysmal. It certainly cost us a shot at a much shorter field goal.
 

ce36ei

Freshman
Sep 14, 2019
652
862
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We should be 7-5 or 8-4 next year so we’ll find out soon enough. Anything lower is a disappointment.