This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
As I mentioned, my time as an IU fan has been a less than stellar era for the program, even compared to most of their history. Rather than focus on a single moment, I'll provide a rundown of my favorite moment of each of the past 18 seasons:
1992: The 1992 Hoosiers finished 5-6 for IU's second losing season in a 7-year span. Barry Alvarez's Wisconsin Badgers were still a year away from emerging as a conference power, but IU needed a great goal line stand to hold them off on Homecoming.
1993: The 1993 Hoosiers were IU's last truly above average team, but unfortunately, I remember the what-ifs better than the positive accomplishments. I can still see Thomas Lewis behind the Ohio State defense and Chris Dittoe's pass drifting just beyond his fingertips. Had they connected, IU would have taken a late lead in a game they lost by 6. Still, nothing quite matches waking up on October 30, 1993 and seeing an unforecast snow storm that had dumped 6 inches on Bloomington. The Hoosiers shut out the #20 Spartans 10-0.
1994: The program's long slide began in the middle of the 1994 season with a homecoming loss to Northwestern, but this season had its moments: a 59-29 beatdown of Kentucky on the road, a road win against Iowa. Still, the highlight was a back-and-forth battle in the Bucket game in West Lafayette that IU won 33-29. The sheer , unrestrained rage that results from an IU win at Ross-Ade is something to see, and it's why I keep inflicting that place upon myself every two years.
1995: There wasn't one. Seriously. I can't even remember a good play from this 2-9 season, IU's last winless Big Ten season.
1996: This season was not quite as ugly as 1995. IU played over its head against both Michigan (7 point loss in Ann Arbor) and Ohio State (10 point loss at home). Still, IU was sporting a 15-game conference losing streak when IU went to West Lafayette and won 33-16 in the final game for both Bill Mallory and Purdue coach Jim Colletto.
1997: Cam Cameron's first IU team was horrible, but the Hoosiers beat Illinois 23-6 for their first home Big Ten win since 1994.
1998: This was another season of near-misses. IU was competitive against Tim couch-led Kentucky, against Michigan, and against Wisconsin. At the time, we all thought that this was a sign of great things to come for IU. That wasn't to be, but the sweetest moment of the 1998 season was a 14-7 win over Hayden Fry's last Iowa team on a beautiful day in Bloomington. In 1997, Iowa beat IU 62-0, and at the time the 69-point turnaround reportedly was the largest in the history of college football.
1999: Cam Cameron started to take some heat in 1999, largely because of the horrendous defense. IU allowed over 40 points in 5 of 11 games, and over 30 points in 9 games. Sadly, there was no more memorable moment in the 1999 season than Antwaan Randle El nearly connecting with Derin Graham for what would have been the game-winner against Michigan.
2000: Unquestionably, the highlight of the horrid 2000 season was a 51-53 shootout in a game against a ranked Minnesota team.
2001: Even the first Bucket win in 5 years could not overshadow IU's dominant 63-32 win over Wisconsin at Camp Randall. Levron Williams scored 6 touchdowns and IU led 32-0 in the first quarter.
2002: As tends to be the case in transitional years, Gerry Dinardo's first year was really ugly, but IU shocked the Badgers again with a big comeback in Bloomington.
2003: There really wasn't one. IU's wins came over I-AA Indiana State and an Illinois team that didn't defeat a I-A team.
2004: IU won only three games all season, but two of the opponents were ranked at the time. I must give the nod to the upset win over Oregon at Autzen Stadium, one of the toughest venues in the country. IU took advantage of lots of Duck turnovers and jumped out to a huge lead and barely held on to win.
2005: Terry Hoeppner's first season ended with a 4-7 record, and the sweetest win was the 38-14 win over Kentucky in the last (for now) edition of the old Bourbon Barrel rivalry.
2006: The Hoosiers fell one game short of bowl eligibility, but my favorite moment was the 46-21 win over Michigan State, a game that was 46-7 before MSU added a couple of garbage time touchdowns. It was as thorough a beatdown administered by IU to a Big Ten team in the last 20 years.
2007: This is a tough one. The Austin Starr kick to win the Purdue game was a great moment standing alone, but it still irks me to no end that IU let Purdue back into that game and nearly blew it. My vote for IU's only bowl season of this century goes to the improbable 38-20 win at Iowa.
2008: As I have documented elsewhere, the 2008 team was one of the worst in school history, but IU finally won a close one against Northwestern, and a really good Northwestern team that won 9 games that season.
2009: The 2009 season, as I have said before, reminds me of the 1998 season. It seemed promising, but only the future will say so. I hate to pick a moment from a loss, but as a single moment, Darius Willis's 85 yard touchdown run to give IU a fourth quarter lead in the Big House was one of the most thrilling "moments" of the century for IU fans. Unfortunately, it is tainted by the ultimate loss.
Well, there we are. Any thoughts? Any pre-1992 moments to discuss?