The Hoosiers host Wisconsin in a game with improbably huge implications for IU's 2012 season.
2012 record: 6-3 (3-2)
2011 record: 11-3 (6-2), Big Ten Champions, lost to Oregon in Rose Bowl
2011 Sagarin: 8 (IU was 139)
2012 Sagarin: 32 (IU is 57)
Coach: Bret Bielema (7th season, 66-22)
Series: Wisconsin leads 38-18-2
Last UW win: 10/15/2011 (59-7 in Madison)
Last IU win: 10/12/2002 (32-29 in Bloomington)
Gametime: noon Saturday
Radio: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Buck Suhr, Joe Smith)
Line: Wisconsin by 7
Blog: Bucky's Fifth Quarter
Game notes: Indiana, Wisconsin
I've said it already and I'll say it many more times as the week transpires: this is the biggest game IU has played since at least 1993. Indiana hosts Wisconsin at noon on Saturday, and the winner will have the upper hand in the race to represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis. To be clear, representing the division is not the same thing as being the division champion. For reasons that elude me, the Big Ten decided early in the season that an ineligible team can win the division even if ineligible for the postseason. That means that IU has no chance of actually being the division champion. Wisconsin could officially win the division if the Badgers win out and Ohio State loses its two remaining games (Wisconsin and Michigan). While 1993 was IU's last truly above average football season, in the Big Ten at large it's best remembered for the sudden emergence of Wisconsin as a Big Ten power. The Badgers went to the Rose Bowl with a 6-1-1 record and have made another four trips to Pasadena since then. IU won five in a row against the Badgers from 1986 through 1992; from 1993 to present, IU is 2-13 against the Badgers. The Hoosiers' two wins came in back to back seasons, 2001 and 2002. In 2001, a winless IU team went to Madison and hung 32 points on Wisconsin in the first quarter and won 62-32. The next season, IU mounted a big comeback against the Badgers and won 32-29 in Bloomington. Since then, the Badgers have won nearly every game handily. It's easy to forget that IU made a nice comeback in 2009, the last time IU and UW played in Bloomington, losing 31-28. More difficult to forget are the 83-20 loss in 2010 and the 59-7 loss last season, both in Madison.
I'll have much more on this one as the week transpires. I said two years ago that it would be nice to get the Badgers back for 201o. Can it happen in 2012?