COACH TOM ALLEN AND INDIANA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL
The Indiana University football team beat Penn State a week or so ago.
Then they beat Rutgers.
On October 24, Indiana nipped Penn State 36–35.
Yesterday on October 31, they kept their masks on and throttled Rutgers, 37–21.
Welcome back Greg Schiano, who elevated the Rutgers football program years ago, and now has returned to try and do it again.
I know his old man btw — a wonderful guy — but as might be asked, “So what? Who cares?”
And that would be correct.
Because this is not about him or them.
Hoosier Football is what it’s about…
Right, not Hoosier Basketball…
Indiana football is on the rise.
So pay attention!!!
INDIANA FOOTBALL IS RANKED # 13 IN THE COUNTRY, BY BOTH THE AP & THE AMWAY COACHES POLLS.
Next Saturday November 7, at noontime, the #23 Michigan Wolverines — who lost to arch-rival Michigan State yesterday in Ann Arbor by a score of 27–24 — will visit Bloomington.
The Wolverines have won 27 straight games against the Hoosiers, dating back to 1987; they are 59–9 all-time on the gridiron versus Indiana.
Jim Harbaugh versus Tom Allen.
Who is Tom Allen?
Were I a betting man, my money would be on Allen.
Harbaugh has been stellar as a player, a head coach in both the NCAA and the NFL, and with respect to managing his bank book.
He signed a seven-year contract when he returned to his alma mater, Michigan, in late 2014.
The contract called for $500,000 in base salary per year ($3.5 million) along with $4.5 million/yr. in additional compensation ($31.5 million). He also received a $2 million signing bonus due within fourteen days of signing on the dotted line.
$37 million over 7 years.
That was in 2014.
This is 2020.
On the USA TODAY “2020 NCAAF COACHES SALARIES” ledger sheet, Harbaugh’s compensation is firmly ensconced in position #4, behind Nick Saban, Ed Orgeron and Dabo Swinney.
As a college head coach, Nick Saban’s career record is 254–65–1. (.795).
His teams have won six national championships.
His LSU team was 15–0 in 2019 and won the national championship.
Swinney has an .815 winning percentage and has won two national championships.
Harbaugh’s record as Michigan’s head coach is 48–19. (.716).
His Wolverine teams are 0–5 against Ohio State.
He is now 3–3 against Michigan State.
At home, against the fellow Big 10 titans?
Michigan’s return on investment seems a mite shaky to me.
To begin, his record at Indiana is 20–20; 11–18 in Big Ten Conference play.
His annual salary is $3.9 million USD.
His Bowl record is 0–2.
“Nuf Ced,” McGreevy?
On January 15, 2016 Allen was hired as the defensive coordinator on head coach Kevin Wilson’s staff at Indiana.
He inherited a defense that ranked #120 in the FBS in total defense and #106 in opposition points allowed.
After just one season, Allen engineered one of the more remarkable defensive turnarounds in the country.
The team improved in every major defensive statistical category, playing a schedule which included four top-10 opponents, a program first.
The Hoosiers were the most improved team nationally in total defense (-169.4 ypg) and passing defense (-134.1 ypg); the sixth-most improved in third down defense (-12.2%); and the ninth-most improved in points per game allowed (-12.3 ppg).
On December 1, 2016 in the wake of Wilson’s sudden resignation amidst reports alleging that he mistreated players, including pressuring one to play despite a back injury, AD Fred Glass named Allen head coach.
Allen was thrust into the position of making his coaching debut in the team’s final game of the season, the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl against Utah.
The 8–4 Utes — #23 in the Coaches’ Poll and #19 in the CFP — were favored by eight points and won a squeaker, 26–24.
Allen and his 6–6 Hoosiers had acquitted themselves admirably.
Allen’s contract guaranteed him $1.795 million annually — $500,000 per year in base pay and $1.295 million per year in outside marketing and promotional income. Although various bonus incentives could push the total compensation to more than $3 million/yr., he was the lowest paid head coach in the Big Ten.
And that was just fine.
He had his work cut out for him and he embraced the challenge.
Almost immediately he elevated Indiana’s recruiting posture, a must.
During his first two seasons as head coach, school-record numbers of Indiana players achieved All-Big Ten honors and more were drafted or invited to NFL camps than ever before.
The two highest-rated recruiting classes in Hoosier history came in 2018 and 2019; these two classes combined, comprise 80 of the team’s 115-man roster.
In 2019, Allen’s third full season on the job, Indiana jumped to a 7–2 start, its first since 1993, the last time they notched eight wins in a season.
The 2019 club finished the campaign with a regular-season record of 8–4–5–4 in Big Ten Conference play, its first winning conference mark since 1993 — and lost to Tennessee 23–22 in the Gator Bowl.
(Allen’s Indiana teams then — with an 0–2 Bowl record in the books — have lost two Bowl games by a total of 3 points).
At the close of the 2019 season, Indiana earned a #24 ranking in the Associated Press and was selected as #25 in the Coaches’ Poll, the school’s first top-25 ranking in football since 1994.
Allen’s 17 wins over his first three seasons were not only the most for an Indiana coach in the post-war era, but guaranteed him a raise; following the 2019 season, he and the school agreed to a new seven-year contract with an average annual compensation of $3.9 million.
The math says the deal is worth $27.3 million (plus incentives) closing in on Harbaugh territory.
Harbaugh’s messages may be getting stale, his voice becoming tiresome to hear.
But Tom Allen, the new kid on the block who preaches to his team daily the mandate, LEO, an acronym for Love Each Other, is on a mission.
He fully understands the importance of focus, the mantra, “a day at a time, a game at a time.”
Saturday at noon, be there or be square, #13 Indiana and #23 Michigan in Bloomington.
Tom Allen’s program — clearly heading in the right direction — may send Jim Harbaugh’s program tumbling further in the wrong one.
[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in late-October early-November 2020.]