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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Indiana fans make non-league picks

By Brian Bennett

Recently, we asked you to pick the nonconference opponent you'd most like to see your favorite team play in the near future. You could pick a team already on the upcoming schedule or one that inexplicably hasn't been added.

This has been a fun exercise so far, and we've heard from a lot of you. (Northwestern and Purdue fans, you're still on the clock; send us your picks here and here). Today, Indiana fans get to have their say:

Xavier Harkness from Paoli, Ind.: I am an Indiana fan and I would like to see UK put back on the schedule because it is one of few teams we have a winning record against. Also a team like Notre Dame could be added. IU and ND have played 28 times but haven't since 1991. Indiana has only won four of those but it would add a great team to the schedule. I would love to see IU play ND in Indy.

Stephen from Chicago: Indiana fan for out of conference scheduling.The far and away winner is Kentucky. The basketball rivalry was great (thanks for stopping it, Calipari) and football could build off it. We had them a few times in the early '00s but this should be a yearly game. They share a border and are historically bottom feeders of power conferences. The other team I wish we would play would be Louisville. Louisville is actually closer than Purdue to Bloomington which would make travel relatively easy. Louisville has been much better than Indiana as of late, but that hasn't scared the Hoosiers from scheduling teams similar to them.

Dawisema from Marietta, Ga.: As an alum of Indiana University, I would like to see IU play other AAU teams that are on the rise or have a good history/tradition in college football. Naturally these teams should also be close to the BIG footprint and aid IU in recruiting. Here are my picks: Georgia Tech, keep Virginia in the rotation, with the basketball angle Syracuse, Vandy, and North Carolina as another basketball tie in rivalry.

Pete from Des Moines, Iowa: Kentucky is probably the best choice. Basketball schools, neighbouring states. They played almost every year from 1979-2005. When I was an IU student, I enjoyed watching Tim Couch's Kentucky team play against IU. Even the coaches have ties (to Bob Stoops). Indiana might even win. Notre Dame would be nice too. Indiana has only played Notre Dame once since 1958. Why? It seems strange when ND has played MI, PU and MSU so often. Other match ups I like are Louisville (only played twice), UNC, Cal and Kansas. The way both offenses and defenses play, Baylor would be an entertaining game.

Matt from Los Angeles: I took a look at those non-conference teams IU has played in the past but no longer plays. The most frequent opponents (excluding MAC teams) were: Kentucky (36 games), Notre Dame (29 games, but only once after 1958), Nebraska (19 games), Cincinnati (14), Missouri (10) and Pitt (9).The team I think most IU fans would like to see back on the schedule is Kentucky. It was lopsided toward the end of the series in Kentucky's favor during the dismal late 90s and early 2000s, but it's a border rivalry, and there was even the (discontinued) Bourbon Barrel trophy. Kentucky decided to drop the football series (and later, also the basketball series, but that's another story). Besides, it would probably be fun for Brian to cover. I heard in the mid-2000s that Notre Dame was willing to play IU in SB, but not make a return trip to Bloomington, so forget that. Besides, too many people in Indiana grow up rooting for ND football in the fall and IU basketball in the winter (IU football fans derisively refer to them as reversible jacket fans) and it would irk me to give those types an opportunity to embarrass the rest of us. I think it would be interesting to get Nebraska back on the schedule, but... oh wait, we heard a rumor that they joined the conference, but no one in Bloomington has seen proof of that yet.

Chad from Chicago: Big IU football fan here, yes as strange as it sounds, I'm dead serious. I would love to see the Hoosiers queue up a rivalry with a close southern foe, the Louisville Cardinals. With Indiana currently making strides with its football program and Louisville heading to the ACC, this could mean even more exposure for the Big Ten in the east coast. A farfetched dream of course, but I could see College Gameday at one of these games one day and it would put Lee Corso in quite the predicament, as he coached at both schools in the past.

T Potter from Miami:  I'd like to see: Indiana vs Cincinnati. Last Played in 2000. Indiana vs Louisville. Played 1985, 1986. But Indiana also played Louisville Athletic Club three times. Indiana won in 1891 and 1895. Louisville AC won in 1896. Could be a guarantied win for Indiana. Indiana also lost to the Indianapolis Light Artillery and Camp Zachary Taylor. Time for a rematch.

Brennan from Columbus, Ohio: Indiana fan here, would love to see the series with Kentucky renewed again. I also would be in favor of a series with Louisville, regardless of how good Louisville has been in recent years. The two schools are close together, and compete for the southern Indiana market. It would be a great series with both schools traveling well to the other when playing on the road.

My two cents: A lot of responses here for Kentucky, and understandably so. That was once an annual rivalry that made total sense for both schools. Growing up and as a student at UK in the 1990s, I went to a lot of those games, and while it was rarely very pretty football, it was definitely a game both sides cared about. Once Kentucky started playing Louisville on an annual basis, however, it had little interest in also facing Indiana along with its SEC schedule. That's probably why it won't happen again, but it's a shame, especially as both programs appear to have a little bit of momentum right now.

Louisville also makes a ton of sense, as the two campuses are only about two hours apart and the Cardinals are on the rise. I can tell you that Louisville has wanted to get a series going with Indiana in football and basketball for some time, but the Hoosiers have been resistant. Now that Big Ten teams are beefing up their schedules, perhaps it's time for IU to revisit that.

Notre Dame is another natural, but the Irish already have their series with Purdue, plus Michigan State, and don't seem to be too interested in playing a whole lot more in the Midwest with their move to the ACC. I'd love to see a neutral site game between the two in Indy, even in a one-off situation.

I also like the suggestions of North Carolina and Syracuse. Though there's no geographic rivalry, those are like-minded, basketball-first schools whom IU fans can readily identify with. And if Kevin Wilson can somehow convince Fred Glass to put Camp Zachary Taylor on the slate, I'm sure he'd be happy. That was where Jay Gatsby was stationed, after all.

More fan nonconference picks

Nebraska 
Michigan
Penn State
Michigan State
Ohio State
Wisconsin
Iowa
Minnesota
Illinois