It seems like every year Hoosier fans are constantly ridiculed by rival schools for their mediocre football team. It seems like every year we mutter "they'll be better next year," and cross our fingers. Well guess what, Hoosier Nation. 2013 is that year.In the past decade, Indiana football has only a single season (2007) in which they had a record of over .500 (7-6). As I'm sure you're aware, it is a rare occasion to witness a winning IUFB squad. However, I believe this 2013 season has a winning record in store. Here are my Top 5 reasons why I believe this year will be one for the books:
#1- A Great Recruiting Class
If you haven't heard already, this year's recruiting class alone is wonderful. Highlighted by 4-star recruits like Darius Latham, David Kenney, Antonio Allen, Taj Williams, and Rashard Fant; the 2013 recruiting class was ranked 38th in the country by Yahoo, as well as 44th by ESPN. A top-50 recruiting class brought in by a team that has gone a combined 17-43 in the past five years is a very respectable feat in itself.
#2- A Large Amount of Returning Starters
Heading into the 2013 season, IU football will be returning a Big-Ten best of 19 starters. And not just any starters, either- three talented quarterbacks (all of which experienced playing time last year), a very talented group of explosive running backs, and what could possibly be one of the best receiving corps in the Big Ten. In addition to a solid returning group of defensive players, the Hoosiers also return what may be one of the best kickers in the nation in Mitch Ewald. Such a great group of returning starters combined with the skilled youth of this year's incoming class makes for a bright future, folks.
#3- Home, Sweet Home
By taking a quick glance at this year's football schedule, it would look like any old Big Ten agenda. However, upon closer examination, you may notice something different. This year's IUFB schedule contains 12 games, in which 8 are at home. EIGHT home games, including the first five of the season, all right here in Bloomington. That's a lot of tailgating. As most of you know, a team must have six wins to be eligible for a bowl game. Having eight of the twelve being in your own backyard, in front of tens of thousands of cheering fans, suddenly makes that goal seem much more achievable.
#4- Coach Wilson, 'nuff Said
You may be reading reason number four and thinking, "what's so good about a coach whose team went a total of 5-19 in his first two years?" Here's why: when Coach Kevin Wilson first arrived as head coach of the Hoosiers, he realized something needed to be done. Coming from a very, very successful job as offensive coordinator of the Oklahoma Sooners, Wilson knew how to win. In order to win, he realized that he needed to clean house and bring in a whole new group of talented players, just as Tom Crean had previously done with IUBB. And he did just that. It may have taken a couple years of tough losses, but Coach Wilson has successfully put together a team filled with both young talent and experience. And it's about time that hard work pays off.
#5- A New Era
It is quite obvious that Coach Wilson and AD Fred Glass are trying to usher in a new era for Indiana football. Some sleek new helmets, new pre-game traditions, and even a new flag pole that's (almost) bigger than a Purdue fan's ego. The recently added collection of spiffy new helmets feature designs like chrome and crimson stripes and the Indiana state flag design (to be worn in the season opener vs. Indiana State). New traditions, such as the players walking to the stadium with the students, were planned in order to persuade as many Hoosiers as possible to help pack Memorial Stadium. The new 154-foot flag pole that now towers over Memorial Stadium is billed as the largest in all of college football, and will fly the official "victory flag" after every Hoosier win. Also, Bryce Fox and Daniel Weber (the masterminds behind "This Is Indiana") are producing a new song and video over IU football. As I said before, there is no doubt that Wilson and Glass are doing everything possible to make IUFB the next big thing in B-town.
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