College football: Everything points to a Ohio State win against Indiana


Jim Naveau

Indiana has won two Big Ten championships in football since it began playing in the conference in 1900.

It has played in one Rose Bowl, in the 1967 season. It has won twice against Ohio State since 1952.

The last football coach to leave Indiana with a winning record was Bo McMillin, whose final season in Bloomington was in 1947.

Good coaches have come to Bloomington and haven’t had the success they had elsewhere.

Bill Mallory won 76 percent of his games at Miami (Ohio), 62 percent of his games at Colorado and 57 percent of his games at Northern Illinois. But he came out on top in only 46 percent of his games at Indiana.

Gerry DiNardo won 57 percent of his games at LSU just before coming to Indiana, where his teams won 23 percent of their games. John Pont, who coached IU’s only Rose Bowl team, had two winning seasons in eight years as the Hoosiers coach.

Everybody knows Indiana is a basketball school. It has won five men’s national championships in that sport in four decades.

Maybe what everybody might not know is the Hoosiers have 19 national championships in other sports. IU has eight men’s soccer national championships, more than any other school. It has six national titles in men’s swimming and diving.

It has won three national championships in men’s cross country and one in men’s track and wrestling.

So why isn’t the football program more successful? Why can’t it come close to the level of success the basketball team and those other less-watched sports have had?

It probably starts with the fact that Indiana high schools do not produce elite football recruits in great numbers. And the ones who do come from Indiana have very successful Big Ten programs within easy driving distance offering them better opportunities than the Hoosiers can.

Indiana is out-spent, out-recruited and out-coached year after year. It has pumped more money into the football program for recruiting, coaches’ salaries and facilities and in other areas in recent years. But it still has a long way to go to become a consistent winner.

Indiana coach Tom Allen’s $4.3 million a year salary is less than half the $9.5 million Ohio State is paying Ryan Day this season.

IU defensive coordinator Chad Wilt’s salary is $650,000 a year, around one-third of OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ $1.9 million annual pay. The Hoosiers’ defensive line coach Paul Randolph will make $375,000 this season. OSU’s legendary defensive line coach Larry Johnson will make $1.1 million.

Those two wins Indiana has since 1952 over OSU came back-to-back in 1987 and 1988.

After a 31-10 loss to Indiana in 1987, the Buckeyes’ coach Earle Bruce said it was the darkest day in Ohio State football in the almost 40 years he’d been around it. Things got even darker in 1988 in John Cooper’s first season when OSU went to Indiana and was humiliated 41-7.

There will be no new darkest day Saturday. No. 2 Ohio State (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) has a huge talent advantage over Indiana (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten), it is playing at home and it is not going to lose focus in this game with the rematch with Michigan only two weeks away.

Indiana is on a six-game losing streak since beating Western Kentucky on Sept. 17, which made the Hoosiers 3-0, including a win over Big Ten West Division leader Illinois in their season opener. The losing streak includes a 31-point loss against Penn State, 21-point losses against Michigan and Cincinnati and a 14-point loss to Nebraska.

The Hoosiers have the worst running game in the Big Ten at 78 yards a game. Quarterback Conner Bazelak has passed for 2,099 yards but he has completed only 54 percent of his passes, his leading receiver is out for the season with a torn ACL and IU’s offensive line has allowed a Big Ten-worst 28 sacks.

It should be a short trip over to Columbus from Bloomington for the Hoosiers and a long day on the field for them.

The prediction: Ohio State 49, Indiana 7.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.


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