True Life: I’m An IU Football Fan
It was a sight I had seen many times before. A belligerent 20 year old jumping up and down screaming about my team’s defeat. Their team beat a Big Ten school. In Virginia they jumped up and down while wearing bow ties and salmon pants. In Southern Illinois they jumped up and down because they actually won a game. Last Saturday, for the 3rd consecutive time, Ball State faithful greeted us with a “chirp, chirp” chant led by the previously mentioned 20 year old. Was he wearing Indiana University Kilroy’s paraphernalia? Of course he was. Was this a Ball State student in disguise or was it an IU student that finally gave up? These are questions I pondered as I strolled in the darkness across the tailgate fields that 5 hours ago hosted IU’s 2nd Spring Break of the season.
My group of college friends has lived in a different world than 90% of those who attended IU. Naturally, we enjoyed the tailgate festivities. When it was game time however, the troops were rallied and we marched in to watch the Indiana Hoosiers take the field. The seasons we attended (2004-2008) probably stand to be the height of IU Football over the past 20 years. Did you know IU made a bowl in 2007? That’s right they actually won 6 games in a season.
Since 2004 the following has occurred for IU Program:
- 4 Different Head Coaches
-The tragic loss of Coach Terry Hoeppner
-The best recruit in 30 years Gunner Kiel, likely the four year starter at IU now sits and waits at Notre Dame
-A one win season in 2011
-The cruel joke this year, IU’s promising QB, Tre Roberson, breaking his leg while on his way to a career day
Yeah, this is IU Football. Sadly there are no record books to look back on and remember the good days. The losing culture of this football program is undeniable and seemingly contagious. What makes it even worse is that IU plays in the Big Ten. A conference known for storied, powerhouse programs such as Ohio State and Michigan. Anyone that has followed the Big Ten could remember a string of success for their team. Not this team I’m afraid. Not in my life time.
Is IU Football cursed? Did Branch McCracken sell the soul of the Football Team for glory in Basketball? Ask Kevin Wilson what it’s like. He has the pedigree to do great things, yet here we are on the cusp of another season dedicated to merely serve as closing time for the Tailgate. What’s to blame? One can try and blame the Athletic Department but IU has renovated their stadium and added facilities to try and put themselves as a respectable team. This team just can’t get the recruits and can’t get any momentum.
This isn’t meant to rip IU Football. I truly believe the university wants their biggest money maker to make even more money. For now it seems the only hope for the future might lie in recruiting the youth that play in the Kids Zone during the game. Some of us are still holding on for better days. We can’t last forever though, so let’s hope Branch’s deal expires soon.