Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)
Sixteen point underdogs on the road against a top ten ranked team. Expectations from Vegas, nil. Expectations from a scorned fan base, possibly even less.
Today, the Hoosiers step out onto the field against a playoff contender, a Spartans team that has everything riding on this one game. I said before the season started that this had the potential to be Indiana’s toughest match up all season. Not only because it is on the road at a place where IU has not smelled victory since Antwaan Randle El’s senior season in 2001, but because I felt that there was a pretty good chance that Michigan State would still be undefeated, with their eyes still on the ultimate prize.
The Hoosiers on the other hand, are coming off of a devastating gut shot against Rutgers. I’m not a big fan of ‘woulda, coulda, and shoulda.’ The fact of the matter is, Indiana let a golden opportunity slip through their hands last week. But is the season over? From my count there are still five games left on the schedule, starting today at 3:30 in East Lansing.
So what should be your expectations heading into this game if you’re an Indiana fan? I wish I had something to tell you, but this team is much like a box of chocolates. Because honestly, even from quarter-to-quarter, you have no idea what you are going to get.
There’s no denying the talent of this team, they’re only a couple of plays away from being 6 and 1. I know the reverse can also be said, that the team could just as easily be sitting at 1 and 6 or potentially worse.
Look, I’m not saying Indiana knocks off of the Spartans this afternoon. The Hoosiers have been all but counted out today, that they have nearly zero chance to pull out a victory. And, honestly, I think that’s exactly what they needed to hear. David meet Goliath.
This team can play loose, they can play with a chip on their shoulder, and they can play for each other and their coaches. It’s the Hoosiers verses the world, their small travel team against a crowd of 75,000 Spartan fans.
I know last week hurt Indiana fans, it burns all the way to the core of your very being. You said to yourself, ‘this is why I don’t care, why I don’t invest emotionally in this team.’
I can understand your frustration, your disdain, disillusionment with the program. It’s not easy, I have been following the team for 20-plus seasons, and have left the stadium hanging my head in remorse far more than with a gleeful smile on my face.
But as an alumnus, as a fan of the school, I do care about this program, and it is okay to care. Shoot, even Cubs fans got a taste of success. Indiana Football fans, your day is coming too. Remain hopeful, optimistic, because without it, what do we have left?