EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Indiana Hoosiers head coach Kevin Wilson looks on from the sidelines during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on November 19, 2011 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Hoosiers 55-3. (Photo by Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images)
One thing that we didn't necessarily learn from today but was reinforced by twitter and the media is that Indiana is the butt of a lot of jokes. In interest of transparency, I cracked a few myself. But with that being said, Indiana is indeed trying to build something for the future. Gone are the days where Mr. Nice Guy, Bill Lynch (who I was a big fan of as a person) where players being happy was the important thing. Enter in Kevin Wilson. Last year he was willing to blow the team up and send guys who didn't conform to the curb. Now with this year being new and Wilson getting a full year with his guys things need to change.
Nothing says that more than this morning's news with Penn State. Hoosiers fans and more specifically their players saw the world taking shots at Penn State at the expense of Indiana. Twitter blew up with people discussing how Penn State will now officially remove Indiana from the title of "Worst Team in the Big Ten". I don't know about you but if I played on Indiana football, I'd be pretty pissed about the pot shots. Hell one of your own bloggers (me) even tweeted out "People laugh at Indiana's football team's 1 win last year. Well the Hoosiers laugh last, we won TWO games last year."
IU players seem to have not taken too kindly to the jokes. Starting safety Mark Murphy put out this morning "Just letting the chip on the shoulder grow more and more everyday #IUFB". Hopefully he isn't, and it sounds like he's not, the only one that feels this way. There have been reports all summer that the atmosphere in Bloomington with regards to football has changed dramatically. There has been a focus this summer that Indiana hasn't seen in a long time.
Indiana players are mad at the disrespect they've been hearing this morning and for a year since the end of the season. Hopefully this can translate into on field success. Because in the end, that is the only place it matters. They can be upset all they want but results have to happen. Now do I think that there is going to be some magical turnabout into a bowl game because the players are pissed at the disrespect they're receiving? Hardly. But it sure as hell couldn't hurt. Indiana has to come into this year with a fury. They need that extra fuel.
The Hoosiers do have the potential to be a bit of a surprise team this year. Not a surprise in the area of being a .500 squad, but they most certainly can play bid killers. What is deceiving about the coming 2012 squad is their age. They were an incredibly young and inexperienced team last year. This year they're still youngish but the experience is there. A lot of the new guys are Junior College transfers and most of the young guys played a major part of last year's team.
Because of these factors, Indiana football must win at least three games if they're going to continue forward progress. Kevin Wilson appears to be a solid recruiter but he needs to show the state of Indiana (whose HS football talent is only improving) that Indiana University has a product to offer. It may be only year two of the Kevin Wilson era but with the Penn State scandal and some other extenuating circumstances the time to strike is now. Wilson and IU don't have the luxury that was afforded the Tom Crean era in basketball. There is little to no history or tradition to go on for a few years. Wilson and the team have to shown they've got something to offer. It's time for the Hoosiers to get mad.