IU Insider Blog: Is No. 17 the charm?

Since 1993, when Indiana started playing Penn State, the Hoosiers are 76-83 against anyone not named Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State or Wisconsin. Care to guess what the Hoosiers are, in that span, against those five schools? It's a shocking number.

The number 16 may come up a few times this week for the Indiana football team.

That's how many times IU has played Penn State in football in history. All of the meetings have come since 1993, the year the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten.

It's also the number of times that Penn State has defeated Indiana in football.

Yes, IU's all-time record against Penn State is 0-16.

The Hoosiers will have a chance to snap that streak on Saturday when IU plays host to Penn State at Noon in the Big Ten opener at Memorial Stadium.

This would be a good year to snap the streak. Indiana will go into the conference season with a 2-2 record, needing to go 4-4 in Big Ten play in order to earn a postseason bowl berth. IU's other three home opponents at least appear to be games that Indiana should be very competitive in. Indiana also faces Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue at home in conference play.

But the road schedule includes the likes of Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin. In other words, Saturday's Penn State game could be really big moving forward for a program looking to turn the corner.

Now while the 0-16 mark against Penn State does sound like a major deal, let's try to keep it in perspective.

Consider this:

Since 1993, when IU first started playing Penn State, the Hoosiers have had troubles with a lot of the really good teams in the Big Ten.

Since '93, for example, Indiana is also 0-16 against Ohio State. The losing streak against the Buckeyes is actually 18 in a row. The last time Indiana beat Ohio State in football was 1988.

How about Michigan? Since 1993, Indiana is 0-12 against Michigan. And IU's losing streak to the Wolverines is actually 17 in a row. The last time IU beat Michigan in football was 1987.

Michigan State? Since '93, the Hoosiers are 3-13 against the Spartans. Wisconsin? About the same. Since 1993, IU is 2-14 against the Badgers.

So think about that? That's five Big Ten programs that we've highlighted there: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

And since 1993, IU is 5-71 against those five schools. Five wins in 76 games! That's almost hard to imagine.

Against everyone else the Hoosiers have played in since 1993, Indiana is 76-83. But when you add in those five schools, you come up with IU's record of 81-154 since '93.

So is this the season that Indiana finally gets past its all-time goose egg in victories against Penn State?

Or will that losing streak reach 17 games by the time Penn State leaves Bloomington on Saturday afternoon?

I know Indiana fans are eager to find out if that streak will indeed come to an end.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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