I’d Rather Smell the Roses
By: Andrew Vailliencourt
Welcome week signals the start of many things: the school year, fall, football season and this column.
Since most of you don’t know me, I’ll start with a brief introduction. I am currently a sophomore here at IU, studying journalism. I cover men’s soccer for the IDS and will host a radio show this fall on WIUX. I am from a town near Ann Arbor in the great state of Michigan, and I am a firm believer that college football is superior to college basketball. I would rather have IU go to the Rose Bowl than the Final Four. Now you’re probably thinking, an IU student who likes football more than basketball? Wow! Well I am here to tell you there are a few of us, and maybe there should be more.
According to the NCAA, college football set a record for attendance last year at 50.2 million people. College basketball took a small dip in attendance with 32.5 million people attending games last year. Both figures include all NCAA divisions in each sport. Keep in mind there are 657 schools that play football and 1,108 that play basketball, and basketball teams each play far more games, yet attendance is far lower. So it looks as if the rest of the country agrees, football is the bigger and better sport.
With this being said, IU has clearly succeeded more with basketball than football— and that is why this year is so crucial for Coach Kevin Wilson and his IU Football team. With IU Basketball having a down year last season, the football team must take its chance to win over students and fans with a winning season. Wilson is at the point in his tenure that winning five games isn’t good enough anymore. The schedule sets up nicely for the team, now under the lead of junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld, and will have a clear shot at winning six or seven games and heading to a bowl game. The team’s poor play on defense and reputation has led students to continually leave games by halftime, which leaves the team with little fan support in the second half, when team needs it the most. With the hiring of Brian Knorr, who takes over as defensive coordinator with a new 3-4 defensive scheme, the Hoosiers simply need to be average defensively. They don’t need to be like Michigan State’s defense. With a high octane offense, simply being able to hold the opposition to less than 30 points will do wonders for the team.
The most important game of the season without a doubt is Sept. 27 at home against Maryland. A 7-6 team last year, the Terrapins will be a challenge, and will be coming off of a very tough three-game stretch against South Florida, West Virginia and Syracuse. A win here could not only be the difference between a bowl game and sitting at home in December, but could be the win that invigorates the fan base, gets people excited, and gives fans hope.
So I plead for students to stay for whole games and to bring the passion they show in Assembly Hall to Memorial stadium. Make inside Memorial Stadium the place to be on Saturdays— not outside. There is no reason we can’t be both a football and basketball school. IU has not been to a Rose Bowl since 1967, and has not been to a bowl game since the 2007 Insight Bowl. This year is the year. Season prediction: 6-6.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewVcourt