Last summer I made the monetary investment to purchase the Big Ten Network and rejoiced in being to watch games and even sports that I'd never be able to see available on the ESPN's of the world.
As an IU sports fan I knew that I could pretty much count on being able to watch most of the basketball games during the season. However, sadly most times, I'm also an IU football fan and the network allowed me to watch pretty much all of last season's games.
Imagine my delight when my beloved Hoosiers made a run all the way to a bowl game for the first time in practically since I was watching from a high chair dribbling applesauce on my chin.
But last year was pretty special, I can still remember the ecstatic moment when Austin Starr kicked a game-winning field goal against Purdue last November.
Man was I glad that I spent money on the Big Ten channel.
Fast forward a year and one especially gruesome football season later and man did I ever waste my money.
One loss after another played out before my eyes. Each weekend I went in telling myself that it would be different, but it never was. Occasionally IU would stay close enough to keep it interesting before eventually committing enough penalties or turnovers to add another 'L.'
So there I was watching the game on Saturday, fearing the worst, hoping to at least put up a fight. Less than a quarter into the Bucket Game I could stand no more. I was stunned at the pathetic effort (or lack thereof) that IU showed in the final game of the year. They simply quit.
And now the fire has been stoked amongst those Hoosier fans who actually care about the football program, which apparently isn't many judging by the few fans actually in the stands at the games. Fire Bill Lynch signs dotted the stands, made all the more noticeable since there were plenty of empty seats around the perpetrator.
The back and forth on the message boards has gotten down right hostile and alas, its' hard to argue a lot with those disgruntled by Lynch and his inability to get much out of this year's team. After returning many of the key components from last year's bowl team, hopes were high with a favorable schedule that had no Michigan or Ohio State and was loaded with home games. Nine losses and a 52-point loss to a bad Purdue team is simply inexcusable.
The one thing that Lynch had doing for him is what had been called IU's best recruiting class in 15 years. But I'd be willing to wager my meager paycheck that the Hoosiers probably couldn't even pay most of those kids to stay committed to a sinking ship in Bloomington.
Word is that the top rated player, four-star linebacker Jeremy Gainer of Michigan, has already re-opened his recruiting. Imagine that, an 18-year old kid that likes winning enough that he wants to challenge for at least .500 records during his college career.
Heck, the Hoosiers even turned a former five-star recruit that started as a true freshman at Florida, yes that Florida, those from the Swamp that compete for national titles, into an afterthought.
Jerimy Finch, who got on the field immediately for a upper echelon Gators' team as a linebacker out of Warren Central before breaking his leg, returns home to play for IU and simply disappeared the second half of the year. So what makes anyone think that top talent is going to come here?
Sadly the school has made so many bad coaching hires the past several years that we can't even afford to fire Lynch. Heck, we're still paying Mike Davis to coach in Alabama and paying for Kelvin Sampson's cell phone bill.
So now we must keep Lynch, who has never won at the Division I level, because we can't afford to get rid of him. At what price? It's hard to say, but boy I'd love to hear what Lynch has to say to recruits making their official visits in December. It's a good thing that the staff is bringing them in after the football season instead of doing what most schools do and bring them to an actual game. Maybe he can sweet talk these kids into honoring their verbal commitment, but it still doesn't remedy the fact that he's responsible for 'coaching' them.
Good riddance football season, hopefully my short term memory will erase the bitter memories of 2008.
Bring on Tom Crean and the basketball team. At least we know that this is going to be a tough year. No delusions of grandeur here, but at least I know what to expect. Maybe I can finally get back to enjoying the $5.99 a month I spend on the Big Ten Network. I doubt Lynch will give me a refund.