My Two Cents: Some National Media Still Not Believing in Indiana Football

Despite an impressive 6-1 regular season in 2020 and several weeks in the national top-10, several national college football writers still aren't buying how good Indiana can be in 2021.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Spring football is wrapped up just about everywhere across the college landscape, and Tom Allen's Indiana football program is still getting disrespected by some national pundits.

The latest is Stewart Mandel at The Athletic, who put together his post-spring top-25 on Tuesday, and you have to scroll down a long way to find the Hoosiers.  

Maybe it's a good thing, considering Indiana's brutal college football history through the years, that this is even an bone of contention for those of who call Bloomington home. But after an impressive 2020 season and a boatload of talent return, this is a team on the rise – and the national media should see that.

The problem is, they don't. It's one thing to be ranked behind Ohio State – Mandel has them at No. 4; Alabama is No. 1 – but you've got to scroll all the way down to No. 16 to find the Hoosiers. 

  • To read his complete story and his rankings, CLICK HERE

That's wrong in my book, but what's strange along the way is that you pass by No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 14 Iowa before you get there. You even pass by Cincinnati at No. 8.  The Bearcats' come to Bloomington on Sept. 18 in Week 3.

I know I might have geographic bias, but I still firmly believe that Indiana will be undefeated at 6-0 when Ohio State comes to town on Oct. 23, especially if quarterback Michael Penix Jr. stays healthy this year.

I know that's a big if, but the Hoosiers have weapons on offense, two standout tackles and a quarterback who's my early pick for Big Ten Player of the Year. And the defense, led by All-Americans Micah McFadden and Tiawan Mullen, isn't going to miss a beat. They are extremely talented at all three levels, and are as deep as any Indiana defense I've ever seen.

To me, they're a top-10 team at minimum. To me, they're definitely better than Wisconsin, whom they shut down – and nearly shut out – in a 14-6 win at Madison last December with quarterback Jack Tuttle making his first start. 

And they're better than Iowa, the opponent on Opening Day on Sept. 4 in Iowa City. I'm still not sold on quarterback Spencer Petras and the Hawkeyes need to completely rebuild their defensive line.

It's all just talk right now, and that's all we can do four months out from the opener. Opinion are like ... well, you know.

Some are smarter. ESPN Mark Schlabach, for instance, has Indiana ranked No. 11 in his post-spring rankings. He's got Iowa at No. 14 and Wisconsin at No. 18, which is more to my thinking. 

Related stories on Indiana football

  • HER BOYS ARE HOME: Darnell McCullough has all of her boys staying home at Indiana, with three of them committing to the Hoosiers in the past two weeks. "Who's got it better than me?'' she says. Here's the behind-the-scenes story on how it all came together. CLICK HERE
  • NORTHERN ILLINOIS TRANSFER: Former Northern Illinois defensive lineman Weston Kramer, who's started 30 games for the Huskies, is coming to Indiana as a grad transfer. CLICK HERE
  • BRONCOS PICK JOHNSON: Former Indiana safety Jamar Johnson was selected by the Denver Broncos in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday. Here's the story. CLICK HERE
  • 4 HOOSIERS SIGN WITH NFL TEAMS: Indiana had four undrafted free agents who signed with teams on Saturday, wide receiver Whop Philyor, running back Stevie Scott, center Harry Crider and defensive tackle Jerome Johnson. CLICK HERE