Preface: Here at The Hoosier Network, we are not meteorologists. Although, I grew up in Philadelphia, where we dealt with the likes of Hurricane Sandy, Irene, etc … so I’m decently qualified here.
It appears Indiana will battle Virginia and the weather on Saturday night. As Tropical Storm Gordon makes its way through the southern part of the country, the National Weather Service predicts heavy rainfall and cool temperatures for Indiana’s 7:30pm Saturday kickoff against Virginia. According to the NWS on Wednesday, there is a 90 percent chance for thunderstorms on Saturday, specifically 60 percent for the evening. The anticipated low for Saturday night is 61 degrees.
Saturday will be IU’s home opener, and the Hoosiers had been expecting a very strong crowd. It will be the debut of IU’s south endzone enclosure and the first home game for freshmen students — the largest class in school history. Plus, it’s a home opener between a pair of 1-0 power conference schools, and the first chance to tailgate along 17th and Dunn. What more could you ask for?
Well, it could get very wet. And windy. Winds are expected between 10 and 15 mph, with rainfall between two and four inches this weekend. Indiana is no stranger to adverse weather conditions, though. For starters, IU had a game canceled last season when Florida International was unable to travel amidst Hurricane Irma. Then, it absolutely poured during the makeup game with Charleston Southern. On senior day last year, there was a weather delay in the second half of a 41-0 IU rout of Rutgers.
Indiana and Virginia could be in the mix for a delay or even cancellation if the rainfall is coupled with thunder and lightning. Severe weather, mainly lightning in the area, canceled Nebraska’s opener with Akron last weekend. A cancellation would not be ideal, given logistical problems and a game that presents litmus tests for both programs. The series with Virginia is a logical series for an IU program looking for tests, but also wins amidst a daunting Big Ten east schedule. Six of Indiana’s nine conference opponents were either ranked or receiving votes in this week’s AP Poll.
It would take extreme weather for this game to be canceled. IU and Virginia will likely play a good, ol’ fashioned, sloppy game of football. Indiana would likely then need to rely upon its running game, spearheaded by 6-foot-2, 236 pound true freshman Stevie Scott. With adverse weather in 2017, IU ran for 268 yards against Rutgers, and 134 yards against Charleston Southern. But the Hoosiers have lost starter Morgan Ellison to indefinite suspension and Cole Gest to a torn ACL in the season opener.
Predicting electrical storms is rather challenging. For the sake of hypothetical, IU and Virginia have differing bye weeks and could not make-up this game. They would both have to find a new opponent — for Indiana, that would be November 3rd. Since the Hoosiers did not schedule an FCS team in 2018, that could be a logical option.
Hopefully, for us all, this is a casual rainfall. But prepare accordingly — while severe storms are not expected, Bloomington could play host to significant rainfall and possible lightning. Either way, it’s an unfortunate development that might spoil a home opener.