Kevin Wilson says Indiana must play at least 7 home games every season.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson loves his offensive line. He told reporters at Big Ten football media day in Chicago that he believes it is one of the best lines in the league.
He also loves halfback Tevin Coleman. Who wouldn't love a guy who averaged 7.3 yards per carry in 2013?
Other items on the list of things Wilson likes about the 2014 Hoosiers: quarterback Nate Sudfeld, receiver Shane Wynn, new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr and the 15 guys his staff recruited to play defense.
Anything Wilson doesn't like as the season approaches?
You bet – his schedule.
Only six home games.
Ohio State has seven home games. Ditto for Michigan State, Michigan State and eight other Big Ten schools.
"Wish we had a few more of those at home," Wilson said.
It gets worse. Two of the road games that Indiana plays are non-league games at Bowling Green and Missouri. Bowling Green finished 10-4 last season, nearly beating Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Bowl. The Falcons are picked to win East Division of the Mid-American Conference.
Not many Big Ten teams are eager to play MAC teams on the road. Meager reward, king-sized risk.
You know the kind of season Missouri celebrated in 2013 – won the SEC East, lost to Auburn in the SEC title game and beat Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. Beat Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss and IU (by 17 points) on the road to a dozen victories.
Those are not two road games that you want to play when your program has only visited one bowl since 1993.
Wilson wants what those 11 other Big Ten coaches have this season – seven home games (minimum). He also wants non-conference teams on the Hoosiers' schedule that match up with Indiana's modest pedigree.
Wake Forest moves onto IU's schedule for two games starting next year. IU just announced a home-and-home with Cincinnati 2021 and 2022. As much as the geography makes season, I don't expect to see Louisville on the Indiana schedule.
Wilson understands that the Big Ten is moving to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016. Consider that another reason to schedule three non-league victories.
"This will be my fourth year at Indiana and the third time we've had six home games," Wilson said. "I think if you go back through the last decade, count the number of Big Ten teams that have been 6-6.
"It's called home-field advantage. It's your locker room, it's their travel. You want to play at home.
"When you're a Big Ten player and you're branded a power five BCS school, you need to target a 7-5 schedule … to me having seven home games was critical to having a winning program at IU. And I don't think any coach would say different – seven or eight, what every Big Ten team is looking for."