IU Hoping For a Rosy Future

The IU football team is two wins away from bowl eligibility, the IU basketball team is two weeks away from its exhibition opener, and the name on the tip of every IU fan's tongue is…Derrick Rose?

- the IU football team is two wins away from bowl eligibility, the IU basketball team is two weeks away from its exhibition opener, and the name on the tip of every IU fan's tongue is…Derrick Rose? The 6-2, 180-pound point guard from Chicago is a top-five player nationally who appears to be down to Indiana, Memphis, and possibly DePaul. Indications are the IU coaching staff fully intends to fill all five of its available scholarships this fall, which suggests they either a. feel very good about their standing with Rose, or b. have a player waiting in the wings who's set to commit if Rose opts to go elsewhere. Players can begin signing binding National Letters of Intent Nov. 8…

- IF Indiana does in fact get a commitment from Rose, expect to see the Hoosiers climb to No. 1 on Scout.com's team recruit rankings. Indiana is currently No. 7, and a commitment from Rose would give Coach Kelvin Sampson two of Scout.com's top six players, including the top-ranked shooting guard (Gordon) and the second-ranked point guard (Rose). Syracuse is currently No. 1 thanks to a five-player class that features four top-100 players, highlighted by the power forward Donte Greene (ranked No. 7 overall) and point guard Johnny Flynn (ranked No. 23 overall). When was the last time IU had the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the nation? That would be 1993, when the Hoosiers signed Andrae Patterson, Charlie Miller, Neil Reed and Rob Hodgson…

- Never say IU football coach Terry Hoeppner doesn't shoot for the moon in an effort to land amongst the stars. He's the man behind the push to get 50,000 in attendance to Saturday's Homecoming contest against Michigan State, a lofty goal considering IU is averaging just a shade over 30,000 for its first four home games. The IU Athletic Department will even have ticket office staffers on campus today from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. across from Ballantine Hall in an effort to get more students in attendance. Hoeppner's goal of 50,000 will likely prove to be out of reach, but even a turnout of 40,000-plus will give the IU team an emotional lift after playing most of its games in front of a half-empty stadium…

- another benefit from a bigger than usual turnout for Saturday's game is the implication it could have on recruiting. With some high school teams' seasons now wrapping up in the state playoffs, more preps will begin taking official visits, starting with this weekend's game against the Spartans. Big wins, bigger crowds and big plans for facility upgrades are tangible things the IU coaching staff can point to when trying to convince elite recruits that they should play their college football in Bloomington…

- A case can be made that Saturday's match-up with Michigan State is the biggest IU football game in the last decade. With a win, Indiana will move within one win of bowl eligibility with three games remaining. With the Big Ten contracted to send seven teams to bowl games - and with Illinois, Northwestern and Minnesota all but out of the postseason hunt – a win over the four-loss Spartans would pretty well guarantee Indiana a spot in a bowl if it gets to six wins. At worst, a win Saturday means Indiana will have its first three-win Big Ten campaign since 2001, and every game the rest of the way will have meaning thanks to bowl implications – something that hasn't happened since 1994…

- while a bowl invitation is far from a certainty this season, Indiana appears to be a great bet to make a bowl game in 2007. First of all, Indiana drops Ohio State and Michigan from its schedule for the next two years and picks up Northwestern and Penn State. Secondly, IU's non-conference schedule will include home contests against a pair of I-AA teams (Indiana State, Western Kentucky) as well as match-ups with a pair of MAC foes (at Akron, home vs. Central Michigan). Win those four and then home games against Illinois and Minnesota, and IU has its necessary six wins…

- the quarterback who will lead Indiana in its quest of a bowl game this year – and next year – will be Kellen Lewis, the redshirt freshman who supplanted Blake Powers as the starter earlier this season. Hoeppner, IU offensive coordinator Bill Lynch and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada deserve some credit for making a difficult decision to go with Lewis despite Powers' big numbers from a year ago. They remained committed to the move earlier this season despite Lewis' struggles against UConn and Wisconsin, and they've been rewarded with some big efforts – and some even bigger wins – in recent weeks against Illinois and Iowa

- A note to the Big Ten - just pick someone, would you? The Big Ten tabbed Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton and Ohio State signal caller as co-winners of the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award Monday, while Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny and Ohio State cornerback Antonio Smith shared the league's defensive player of the week honor. This marks the fifth time in eight weeks the conference hasn't been able to settle on just one player for one of its weekly awards, which kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Peegs.com Top Stories