IU Insider Blog: Is Navy a good fit?

Nothing against the Midshipmen, I just wonder if there are better opponents out there that could prepare Indiana for the rigors of playing in the Big Ten Conference.

First of all, this isn't personal.

I have nothing against the young men who play football at Navy. In fact, quite the opposite. I have nothing but admiration for young men who attend our service academies.

No, this opinion is strictly from a football standpoint. But my question is a simple one: Why is Indiana playing Navy in football?

It worked out well today as IU will dedicate the prow of the USS Indiana which is erected on the west side of Memorial Stadium. What could be a better day to do that than when Navy is in town?

And I've also heard the opinion this week that Navy is a good opponent for Indiana because it's an upgrade over the caliber of teams the Hoosiers have played in the non-conference portion of the schedule in recent seasons.

After all, Navy has been to nine bowl games in the last 10 years. This is a good football team with a good football tradition. Most people expect that the Midshipmen will make it 10 out of 11 years before this season is over.

I get all of that. I get wanting to bring in a quality opponent and I couldn't agree more that this is a positive step for Indiana football.

But why Navy?

Here's my beef with playing the Midshipmen. They play a style of football that completely alters your game preparation. That alone would be fine if there were other teams on your schedule that you would also have to prepare in a similar fashion.

With Navy though, and the triple-option attack, that just isn't the case. It's a one game only preparation. When today's game is over, Indiana will move on and begin working on improving its base schemes from the first game against Indiana State. Sure, there will be some basic assignment football things you can look at here as well as improving basic mistakes but for the most part this becomes an isolated film.

The one thing working in Indiana's favor this year is that IU plays Navy in Week 2 instead of week 7 as it did a year ago. Having that in the back of your mind for six or seven weeks plus camp was way too much. At least this season, IU can play this game and quickly move on.

As for non-conference opponents there are plenty of good options out there. Why not go back to the ACC like they did from 1997-2001 when they played North Carolina or North Carolina State? In 2003 and 2004, IU played Washington and Oregon in back-to-back years. A few years ago the Hoosiers played Utah and also Cincinnati.

Someone suggested a series with Louisville. Or why don't you resurrect the football series with Kentucky that came to a halt in 2005?

There are a lot of options. Options against teams that play conventional schemes that help you build upon from one game to another.

Moving forward, I'm guessing we'll see schedules where Kevin Wilson had some input and I think that will be a positive for the Hoosiers, too.

So it's nothing against Navy at all here. I just think Indiana should be playing a different style of opponent to prepare itself to play in the Big Ten.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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