BLOOMINGTON -- So where does Indiana go from here?
More importantly, where does it want to go from here.
The Hoosiers are 2-2 and that is bad when 3-1 was the minimum to stay within winning realistic season/bowl game range. They got roughed up 45-28 Saturday night by Missouri, a good, but not great SEC team.
Yes, the non-conference schedule was tough, especially when you compare it to the patsy-filled mess that powerhouse Ohio State faced.
Are you serious?
Still, these were all winnable games, and IU could only manage a split.
Against Navy, the defense broke down, which wasn't surprising given recent history.
Against Missouri, the offense buckled with the defense, which was not expected.
The Hoosiers have two weeks to think about it, and then fix it, before they begin Big Ten play -- and end their five-game home stand -- against Penn State (3-1).
“We have to look at ourselves in the mirror,” safety Tim Bennett said. “We have to evaluate ourselves, and try to get better.”
“We're 2-2 and it is disappointing,” Bennett said. “But we are 2-2. We have to learn from it. We can't not be 2-2. We have to move on.”
The previous week's Bowling Green victory was fool's gold. It did not indicate what IU could do against a formidable opponent.
Now we know. The Hoosiers aren't ready.
They're not even close.
You get hammered at home, it's bad. A banged-up offensive line has to get healthy. It has to. IU's only chance comes from the offense, and that starts with big guys capable of pass protection and run blocking.
That didn't happen in front of a large Memorial Stadium crowd. What does that mean when you finally go on the road, even in a conference as shaky as the Big Ten?
If you've followed the Hoosiers, you know. This is the story that never ends. The faces change, the results stay the same.
Except, maybe, it doesn't. Maybe this team, with these players and these coaches, do what a generation of players and coaches before them have not.
“We're 2-2,” coach Kevin Wilson said. “We keep talking about bowls and bowls. We're talking about putting good weeks together. Our practices were good, but we didn't back it up with a game performance against a good team.
"We need to put a good week together, get a W, back it up the next week, get some momentum, and we'll stack up those Ws at the end of the season.
“We're young. For what we're wanting to do, we're talking about constant, consistent improvement. I don't like it that in game performance we're up and down, up and down.
"We need to climb. We'll have a good week. We need to back it up. Not just with coach speak that we'll practice good. We've got to back it up with performance.
“The hardest tight rope to walk, the hardest 2-by-4 to walk, is the one on game day. Taking your practice to the game.
"It's confidence. The more you win, the more confidence you have, but you've got to win to get confidence. We have to keep pushing in a positive way. We'll come back with a great opportunity and challenge against Penn State.”
Having an opportunity is one thing. Making the most of it is something else.
Can the Hoosiers do that?