As Indiana readies for tonight's season opener against Towson, IU Coach Bill Lynch isn't short on praise for the All-Colonial Athletic Association, where the Tigers play their conference football.
"Know this - they play in a very, very good league," Lynch said in his weekly press conference. "I think out of that league last year, in the opening weekend, William and Mary beat Virginia, Villanova beat Temple - and Temple was a very good team out of the MAC - and then Richmond beat Duke. That league has competed against BCS teams and done very well."
The Hoosier head coach also has plenty of kind words for the head coach of the Towson program, who was an assistant at UConn before taking over the program before the '09 season.
"They've got a very, very good football coach - Coach (Rob) Ambrose is very good," Lynch said. "The reason I say that is I've competed against him without knowing him well. When he was at UConn I was the head coach at Ball State. When he first joined Coach (Randy) Edsall's staff, we were playing them. He was on the staff when they came in here in 2006 and beat us when Donald Brown was playing. The UConn program, what they did building a program from Div. 1AA to what is now what people are saying is going to win the BIG EAST. They did it the right way. I don't think you could get a better guy than Rob to go to Towson and do the same thing."
Lynch also acknowledges that there is plenty of experience that returns for the Hoosiers' season-opening opponent.
"They have a lot of returning football players," Lynch said. "Defensively, they have probably eight guys that are returning starters. They've got corners that are seniors who've played for four years. They've got some very athletic linebackers…Offensively, they have their best running back back, their best wide receiver."
All of those things are true, but another fact about Towson that is neglected is that they aren't very good. Unlike some of the past FCS (formerly I-AA) teams that have been on Indiana's schedule, Towson is anything but an elite program at that level. The Tigers are coming off a 2-9 season that saw them throw an astronomical 27 interceptions on the season while losing eight games by at least 20 points and four by at least 30.
If Indiana is going to make a serious run at bowl eligibility it not only must win this game, but it must do so in dominating fashion. While the Hoosiers' slate of non-conference games won't necessarily prepare them for the speed and size they'll go up against when conference play opens, it has to at least produce some confidence with some lopsided victories.
Towson fell behind Northwestern 30-0 in the first half in the 2009 season opener and eventually lost to the Wildcats 47-14. Anything less than that sort of effort from Indiana would be a disappointment and cause for concern if you're an Indiana fan.
Hoosier Nation's Prediction: Indiana 41, Towson 13.
On Sunday – Five Numbers to Note
On Monday – Four Names to Know
On Tuesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Wednesday – Two Big Concerns
On Thursday – One Bold Prediction
TOWSON PREVIEW: One Day and Counting
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