Indiana was picked sixth in the East Division of the Big Ten heading into the 2014 football season in a vote that came out this weekend prior to the start of Big Ten Football Media Day which begins today in Chicago.
The only team IU was picked ahead of in its division was Purdue.
Surprised? Frustrated? Feel like Indiana can’t get any respect in football?
I understand how you can feel that way.
Here’s my take: Sixth feels about right considering where Indiana football has been to this point.
Do I think Indiana will be better? Absolutely. Significantly better? A strong possibility.
But for preseason polls, most of the 29 voters that did this particular poll probably based the future on past results. Is that fair? Hard to say but that’s what most people do. That’s what I have always done for the most part when making these kinds of prognostications.
And based on past results, sixth feels about right based on how good the Big Ten is year in and year out in terms of quality programs.
Maryland, one of the Big Ten’s newcomers was picked in fifth just ahead of IU. Again, that probably makes the most sense at this point.
The point is it’s not even August yet and it’s impossible to really know how good this Indiana football could be. I like some of IU’s offensive weapons like Nate Sudfeld, Shane Wynn and Tevin Coleman to name a few. I like the fact that IU shook things up and has a new defensive coordinator in Brian Knorr and a new 3-4 defensive system.
If IU is going to improve off of last year’s 5-7 record it needs to make the most improvement on the defensive side of the ball. No question about it.
So if what we hear today from IU players at Big Ten Media Day is that the teams is being disrespected or taken for granted or whatever way they opt to explain that ranking, that would be predictable. If the IU coach staff doesn’t use this as motivation I’d be surprised.
But from the prognostication point of view, sixth is probably about right in July.
The reality is that when you really look at what IU has done in football in recent years, getting ranking sixth just ahead of Rutgers is probably about where you would think the Hoosiers would be selected.
Respect is earned on the field. And IU will have 12 games to prove it is better and can make it to a bowl game.
If that happens, maybe next year when the polls come out IU will be ranked higher.
Maybe something like fifth.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch