In a typical IU football season, the optimism of July gives way to the reality of October and November. Still, writing from the happy perspective of day, what do I expect?
I expect to score a lot of points. IU returns lots of talent at the skill positions (Ben Chappell, Tandon Doss, Damarlo Belcher, Darius Willis) and much of the offensive line. Turning yards into red zone points was a weakness of last year's team, and must improve if IU has any hope of improving on its 1-7 Big Ten record.
I expect a 4-0 non-conference record. IU plays Towson (FCS); Western Kentucky (Sun Belt); Akron (MAC); and Arkansas State (Sun Belt). A 4-0 record in this games guarantees nothing. Anything worse than 4-0 is a bad, bad, sign.
I expect to struggle on defense. Well, first, that's what IU always does. Last year's veteran defense wasn't great, and it's hard to generate much optimism about this year's less-experienced unit.
I expect to hold leads. This is less an expectation than a hope. Last year, IU led or was tied in the second half of five Big Ten games, yet won only one. If IU ends up in that situation next year, hopefully they will win half or more.
Well, that's it. What are your expectations for 2010?