This weekend when Indiana takes the field, the Hoosiers will be honoring former head coach Terry Hoeppner. To do that on the 10th anniversary of the former coach’s passing, Indiana’s uniforms will have a slight modification to the numbering. Rather than a traditional white block numbering on the front and back, Indiana’s uniform numbers will feature a pattern mimicking Hep’s Rock, which was introduced to the program by the former head coach and remains a fixture within the program.
Hoeppner passed away at the age of 59 in the summer of June 2007. Hoeppner had planned to step away from coaching to focus on a battle with brain cancer that summer, but he fell victim to the disease on June 19, 2007. Though he may have only coached for Indiana for two seasons, his impact on the program was noticeable in helping the program build a foundation. The Hoosiers won four and five games in the two seasons coached by Hoeppner, but the 2007 team carried on his mission to “Play 13” by advancing to the Insight Bowl (now known as the Cactus Bowl). Members of the 2007 bowl team (Indiana lost to Oklahoma State in that bowl game) will be in Bloomington to celebrate the life of Hoeppner, who remains an inspiration for the program to this day.
The AAC wasn’t the only entity getting busy (twice) Thursday rescheduling in the aftermath of the chaos caused by Hurricane Irma.
As part of the AAC’s revamping of its schedule, UMass lost its Oct. 14 game against South Florida. Florida International, meanwhile, saw its game this weekend against Indiana canceled because of the logistical difficulties traveling to Bloomington amidst the storm damage in the state of Florida.
Given both teams’ need for a 12th game, the programs announced Thursday that UMass and FIU have reached agreement on a contract to play Dec. 2 this year. That contest will be played in Miami.
Should FIU qualify for the Conference USA championship game — the Panthers were predicted to finish sixth in the East, and lost to UCF by 44 points in the opener — the game this year would not be played. The previously scheduled game in 2020 would be unaffected by any result, while UMass would travel to FIU at some undetermined date beyond 2020 if this year’s game is not played for whatever reason.
The tweaked schedule gives the Minutemen an almost unheard of bye date on back-to-back weekends (Oct. 7 & 14) in the middle of their season.
It had previously been announced that FIU’s opponent in Week 3, Indiana, had replaced that game with an Oct. 7 game against Charleston Southern.
Camion Patrick and Isaiah Wright are back in the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.
In July, Patrick, then an Indiana running back/wide receiver, was granted a medical hardship, which meant he was no longer a Hoosier football player but remained in school and on scholarship. Two months later, Patrick (pictured) and Wright, his brother, were two of four individuals who have been charged in connection with the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Caleb Radford in Louisville, Tenn. The siblings, natives of the state of Tennessee, are facing one count each of criminal homicide, the Knoxville News Sentinel has reported.
Radford was stabbed multiple times on July 25, one day after IU announced the medical hardship for Patrick.
According to ESPN.com‘s Adam Rittenberg, Patrick was arrested by IU police Wednesday in Bloomington, while Wright was arrested in Harriman, Tenn., the same day. Two other suspects had previously been arrested in early August and remain jailed in lieu of $1 million bonds.
Patrick and Wright both played at East Mississippi Community College, the JUCO featured in the wildly-popular Netflix series “Last Chance U.” Patrick played at EMCC before the series aired, while his brother was heavily featured in the first two seasons.
With the homicide charge, Patrick has been indefinitely suspended by the university.
The middle of September isn’t typically the time that bowl arrangements are tweaked but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen.
Conference USA confirmed details of a bowl tie-in “swap” with the Big Ten on Wednesday, causing a bit of a Texas two-step in the postseason picture for both leagues in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The move on the Big Ten’s end was originally announced back in May but it appears the CUSA end is just now being confirmed officially.
As a result:
- A Conference USA team will now play in the Armed Forces Bowl. They’ll play against Army if the Black Knights are eligible,
- The Big Ten will place a team in Heart of Dallas Bowl against vs. a Big 12 opponent
While the exact reason for the swap is unclear, it certainly makes a little more sense for a Big Ten team to be in Dallas against a fellow Power Five conference like the Big 12. In addition, the Big Ten has not had a team filled a slot in the Heart of Dallas Bowl since 2014 and have actually never scored a victory in the game either.
There was supposed to be a B1G squad in the bowl last season but, because of shortages elsewhere in terms of eligible teams, the game wound up being an Army win over an eventual 5-8 North Texas squad. Conference USA apparently remains contractually tied to the Heart of Dallas Bowl until 2019, just not this year.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 23 in Fort Worth while the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is slated to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 26.
We don’t even know yet how the 2017 season will shake out, but we can already pencil in how we think the 2020-21 Big Ten seasons will play out.
The conference released its league schedule for both seasons, which can be found here and here. And while it’s useless to break down the relative strengths and weaknesses of a season three and four years in the future, these schedules are notable in one way:
The Big Ten is going all-in on the opening weekend.
Following the success of this year’s Ohio State at Indiana opener, the Big Ten has stacked more games to be played on Labor Day weekend. The 2020 season will feature Northwestern at Michigan State, Purdue at Nebraska and Indiana at Wisconsin on Sept. 5.
The 2021 season will open with Michigan State at Northwestern, Ohio State at Minnesota, Indiana at Iowa and Penn State at Wisconsin on Sept. 4.
All games are scheduled for Saturday for now; TV will make its Thursday and Friday designations (of which there will be a few) as the games actually approach. Three and four years from now.