Indiana’s upset is meaningless if it falls flat against Maryland

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There’s an old Seinfeld that goes in reverse order. It’s where Elaine and the gang go over to India to a friend (Sue Ellen Mischke) of Elaine’s wedding. Mischke appears in earlier episodes wearing no bra and causing a catastrophe to George’s car while he’s out dodging work but doesn’t want the Yankees to know it.

The first scene of The Betrayal is the group in Monk’s Cafe, where the group is worn out and has returned from the trip. Elaine has a bandage on her nose; George is demanding that she sleep with him (shudder) and is being his general annoying self; Jerry is Jerry.

The remainder of the show goes through the odd amalgam of episodes that happen to cause the end scene, in reverse chronological order, when you come to find out that George can only wear Timberlands around a woman he’s dating that Jerry used to date so she’ll mistakenly think he’s tall. Elaine slept with Mischke’s groom back in the day. And Jerry with George’s current girlfriend.


In a roundabout way, this weekend is The Betrayal for Indiana football.

If all goes well, five years from now we will look at where Indiana football is … a fixture in bowl games, occasionally contending for the Big Ten title, not a place the Michigans, States (Penn or Michigan), or Ohio States want to go because it’s going to be a dogfight and you might lose. Think Joe Tiller-era Purdue (dodges brick thrown at face for comparing the two).

The “beginning” credits will probably roll with the win last weekend against Missouri, but maybe the meat and potatoes of how everything happened will be centered on this Saturday against Maryland.

The Hoosiers haven’t won a lot of big games recently, and certainly haven’t in the Kevin Wilson era, but when they have, there’s been some sort of setback like subseqent losses, bad effort after a near upset, and mostly back to the same story from there on out.

Wilson half-affectionately, and probably all-honestly, called his guys “a group of bums” that lost last week and need to play well this week. The message was pretty clear: we’ve done nothing yet, and to expect that we have is to fall into the same trap IU football has been in since it contended for the Rose Bowl in the late 1960s, which is a long damned time ago when you stop to think about it.

To lose to Maryland this weekend … a team similar in super athleticism and a dynamic offense but probably lacking on the defensive side of the ball compared to Mizzou … would effectively render last weekend’s upset not quite meaningless, but certainly not a palm reading of anything to come.

Maryland’s front seven is banged up pretty well, and against a “similar” style team in West Virginia in terms of the spread offensive ideals, Indiana should be able to score on the Terrapins almost at will.

As per usual, it’ll come down to that Maryland offense and the Indiana defense, which held up just well enough against Missouri but faces another legitimately stiff test with the Terps.

Both teams are in the top 10 in the nation in total offense (Maryland 5, Indiana 6), and both teams are at the very bottom of the B1G in defense, both having given up a staggering 2,300-plus yards combined in their last two weeks of action.

There are stars too. C.J. Brown of Maryland is the club’s leading passer and rusher, and Tevin Coleman is looking like a potential Big Ten player of the year candidate.

It’s a big game for both … Maryland in its first Big Ten game, trying to not fall into the blues of what normally happens to teams that switch conferences … and Indiana to maintain an ascension that crashes with a thud if it doesn’t use it as a springboard this weekend.

The Terps are looking at this like a chance to do the same as Indiana: following up a brutal loss two weeks ago with a win over a Power 5 conference team at its own place (Syracuse). Both will feel the sting of “back to Earth I guess” if they lose this one.

Maryland though, is already fairly established. After all, the Terps have a BCS bowl appearance to their credit over the past 15 years, which is to say “much more recent success than IU.”

The loser can “stuff his sorry’s in a sack.” For Indiana fans, the sack is full. It’s time to start emptying them out, not putting more in.