Take Two: Future for Boilers, Hoosiers

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
1:00
PM ET
Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett will occasionally give their takes on a burning question facing the league. We'll both have strong opinions, but not necessarily the same view. We'll let you decide which blogger is right.

In-state rivals Purdue and Indiana both are searching for their first Big Ten victory. Both teams have issues on defense and are using quarterback rotations. Today's Take Two topic is: Which program in the Hoosier State is best positioned going forward?

Take 1: Adam Rittenberg

Like the T-shirts say, it's Indiana. Sure, Purdue has more talent, but if this is Danny Hope's best team, it should be able to compete a heck of a lot better than what we saw the past two weeks in West Lafayette. A defense with several pro prospects shouldn't surrender 771 rushing yards in two weeks. A program headed in the right direction should rise to the occasion, rather than fall flat on its face. Hope seems to have recruited well, but I don't see the results showing up in Year 4. Sure, Indiana remains the butt of jokes in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers have just three Big Ten victories in the past four-plus seasons. But I see a brighter future in Bloomington. I see an offense that will put up huge points and yards totals under coach Kevin Wilson and coordinator Seth Littrell. I see a team with multiple quarterback options, as both Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld have held their own in Big Ten games, despite being being Tre Roberson on the depth chart entering the season. I see a ton of talent at the receiver position and a solid running back in Stephen Houston. I'm not blind. I see a terrible defense, too, a unit that hasn't been respectable for a long time. And I see Indiana's history as an all-offense, no-defense, never-get-over-the-hump program. But I think Wilson gets it done in the near future. The athleticism is slowly getting better on defense. It might take another recruiting class -- and possibly some coaching changes -- to get things right, but it'll happen. And Indiana just needs its defense to be decent. The offense will be a juggernaut for years to come.

Take 2: Brian Bennett

I really like the fight that Indiana has shown this season and think brighter things are ahead for the Hoosiers. But let's also not overreact to what were two admittedly terrible back-to-back performances by Purdue. IU may have more grit than in the past, but it still only owns two wins this year, over an FCS club (Indiana State) and a glorified FCS team (UMass). The Hoosiers haven't won a Big Ten game since 2010. Purdue is still the better program in the state and one that is better set up for success. The Boilermakers have been able to recruit and develop top-notch defensive players like Ryan Kerrigan, Kawann Short and Ricardo Allen, something that defenseless Indiana can't say. You have to play defense to win in this league, and while Purdue hasn't done that the past few weeks, it has a better chance of figuring that side of the ball out. I don't know if Danny Hope is the guy to lead the Boilermakers back to being a legitimate and relevant Big Ten team; fans have started to cast their no votes on that topic by staying away from Ross-Ade Stadium, which is the biggest reason for Hope to worry. The hiring of Tim Tibesar from the Canadian Football League to be defensive coordinator this offseason is starting to look more and more like a questionable move. But whether it's Hope or the next coach who comes along, Purdue will be fine. The school has traditionally made a bigger commitment to football than its neighbors in Bloomington, and that will continue. Maybe Drew Brees isn't walking through that door anytime soon, but the Boilers will remain a step ahead of the Hoosiers.

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