So, you just watched your school’s football team get blown out by Rutgers. That’s rough. That’s really, really rough.
You’re probably experiencing a bizarre cocktail of sensations. Frustration. Disappointment. That feeling when you have to burp, but it simply won’t come out.
When faced with these types of negative emotions, it’s important that we take the time to fully process them. This is the only way to learn and grow.
That said, it’s kind of hard to move on when the people in your life keep asking you what on earth is wrong with the Hoosiers this year. With Thanksgiving a mere week away, it’s important you brace yourself for a well-meaning, yet nonetheless brutal interrogation from loved ones who simply want to know why Indiana football is so bad.
First, you’ll want to bring up the Hoosiers’ strength of schedule. Half of the teams Indiana has played ranked in the top 10 at some point this season, including the No. 3 University of Cincinnati, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 7 Michigan State and No. 8 Michigan.
Even Iowa and Penn State, who have fallen in the rankings, boast excellent defenses that would pose a great challenge to Indiana even if it had a remotely competent offense.
If a younger cousin who closely follows college football pipes up and asks, “What about Rugters and Maryland?” threaten to banish them to the kids’ table.
Next, mention the injuries that have plagued the Hoosiers on both sides of the ball.
At this point, your dear aunt might say something along the lines of, “Oh, yes, I saw your quarterback got injured.”
Oh, Aunt Susan, you sweet summer child.
Tell her junior Michael Penix Jr. injured his acromioclavicular joint week five at Penn State. Once you’ve explained to her what exactly an acromioclavicular joint is, tell her junior Jack Tuttle injured his foot week eight against Ohio State.
Then remind her that redshirt freshman Dexter Williams II, who was supposed to be third on the depth chart, tore his ACL in practice during the offseason. The result is a merry-go-round of passers including freshman Donaven McCulley, walk-on sophomore Grant Gremel and sometimes the obviously injured Jack Tuttle, seemingly just to render his body a little more broken.
When Aunt Susan asks who your actual starting quarterback is now, tell her that’s a great question.
“Wow,” says your uncle. “Sounds like a lot of stuff hasn’t gone your guys’ way this year. Does all that random misfortune soften the blow of a 2-8 season?”
He should be able to look in your empty, hopeless eyes and answer that question for himself, but you can lend him a hand.
Summon forth one of my favorite Indiana football stats from 2021 and inform him that not only are the Hoosiers 2-8, but they are 2-8 against the spread.
Give your uncle a crash course on sports betting and tell him the spread represents the number of points by which a team is expected to win or lose. When a team covers the spread, it outperforms expectations, either winning by more or losing closer than oddsmakers anticipated.
Finally, rest your case with an unfortunate truth that says more about Indiana’s season than the rest of this column ever could.
How bad are the Hoosiers? They’re so bad that if you bet considerable money on their ability to meet expectations throughout 2021, your faith would most likely be rewarded with a one-way ticket to financial ruin.