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BTB Roundtable, week 5.

1. Michigan turned to Russell Crowe (successfully). ND went with Regis (unsuccessfully). Imagine your team is in desperate need of a pregame pep talk (no imagination needed at NU). You can bring in anyone in the world. Who do you turn to and why?

Too easy.

Nobody talks 'em up like Norm Dale. Unfortunately, success for IU in football sometimes seems as improbable as Hickory beating South Bend Central (or Milan beating Muncie Central, if you prefer the real world), although, as I discuss below, I don't really think it's that improbable.

2. What perception about your program is perpetuated to the point where it is your pet peeve? Why does it bother you so much (no, the answer does not have to be an alliteration)?

The perception that it's impossible to win at IU. I freely acknowledge that IU is a really tough job. I acknowledge that and accept that, and certainly the last 13 years have enhanced IU's reputation as a bad career move. But what really bothers me is that IU's loser reputation re-emerged almost immediately after IU's 9-year run of respectability ended. For instance, many of Cam Cameron's apologists now insist that he never should have taken the job back in 1996, that it was a no-win situation. Four Big Ten coaches were fired at the end of the 1996 season: Bill Mallory at IU, Lou Tepper at Illinois, Jim Wacker at Minnesota, and Jim Colletto at Purdue. While Illinois had some solid seasons in the early and mid 1990s, Purdue and Minnesota had both been uniformly horrible since the mid 1980s. Unlike Mason and Tiller, Cameron had players on his first team who had been to a bowl game. It seemed strange to me at the time that IU was considered the most daunting rebuilding job, although I suppose, to some extent, history has vindicated that perception. As tough as the IU job is, Bill Mallory's run of respectability wasn't that long ago, and it was recent history in 1997. Again, I don't deny that IU is a tough job, perhaps the toughest in the conference. But I refuse to believe, in the era of 85 scholarships and universal TV coverage, that any program cannot be occasionally successful.

3. It is only week 5 of the season, but you've been asked to create your team's highlight reel for the season. You get to choose one song. What is it and why?

I'll go with the ultra-cheesy "Danger Zone," by Kenny Loggins for the Top Gun soundtrack. That's where IU's season is heading right now. If we go 2-0 against Iowa and Minnesota in the next two weeks, we're in great shape. If we go 1-1, we're OK. If we go 0-2, we're screwed.