LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The Indiana University football team played seven games this season.
The Hoosiers won six. At the time the games were played, Indiana defeated three ranked teams -- No. 8 Penn State, No. 23 Michigan and No. 16 Wisconsin.
They lost one — by a touchdown to No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus.
Tom Allen’s team earned the No. 7 ranking in Sunday's Associated Press writers’ and USA Today coaches poll. They were the second-best team in the Big Ten.
Not good enough for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Not even good enough for the Citrus Bowl.
Not only will Indiana become the first team ranked No. 7 in the AP poll not to play in a New Year's Six game, the Hoosiers will play a team with a losing record.
The Hoosiers will play Lane Kiffin's 4-5 Ole Miss team, which allowed an SEC worst 40.3 points per game, in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2 in Tampa, Florida.
"There will be a time and a place to address that," Allen said. "And I don't think this is the time or the place."
I asked Allen if he was given a reasonable explanation for why Northwestern, and not Indiana, was slotted to play Auburn, a better opponent, in the Citrus Bowl. Northwestern lost to Michigan State, a team Indiana beat. Northwestern lost to Ohio State by a dozen. Indiana lost by seven.
"It was explained to me, but not to my satisfaction," Allen said.
Allen preferred to focus on the news that Indiana would play in January bowl games in Florida in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. He reminded everybody that a leader cannot preach not to blink at any adversity and then blink at a time like this. Allen once lived in Tampa, and IU has 22 former Florida high school players on its roster.
"This football team ... will be ready ... when we take the field ... on Jan. 2 at 12:30 ... in Tampa, Florida," Allen said. "Period."
In case anybody missed his message, Allen later said this: "I just feel with my whole heart this is the next opportunity for this program to prove who we are, to stare adversity in the face and just fight, fight, fight for each other, and that's what we're gonna do."
Few Power 5 schools have a tortured football history that can match Indiana's and this bowl snub will move near the top of the Hoosiers' list.
That was the decision by the College Football Playoff Committee, which ranked IU No. 11. They were not impressed by the teams Indiana beat. They didn't say that. They didn't have to. They showed it.
The Big Ten league office, which waffled on playing the season, did nothing to assist the Hoosiers. In fact, the league's decision to change its rules to enable Ohio State to play in the Big Ten title game without playing the required six-game schedule, contributed to the snub.
This is comical... I love the lack of respect. 🤧👎🏾 Regardless, we will stay in our lane and on our grind.— Jován L. Swann (@_jswann) December 20, 2020
"We had a long discussion about who earned their way into that top 10," committee chair Gary Barta said. "(Indiana) did not have the quality wins that Iowa State had."
The Hoosiers were snubbed for Iowa State, which lost three games to Louisiana, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. The Cyclones’ most impressive wins came against Texas and Oklahoma during regular season.
IU was likely penalized because the Hoosiers did not beat any teams that finished the season with a winning record and because the Big Ten started the season later than the Big 12 or Southeastern Conferences and played fewer games.
"They were considered a good mark on the Ohio State schedule but not quite good enough to get into the New Year’s Six,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Sunday afternoon.
"Is it because of (quarterback Michael) Penix being out? ... I'm surprised. Indiana, to me, had a historic year. To be left out?"
Here’s what I will get behind.... Hoosier soundly beat whoever they play in whatever game, and OSU puts a hurtin on both clemson and bama. I think it happens. B1G severely underrated due to poor leadership, SEC/ACC too overrated due to solid leadership.— Hunter Littlejohn (@lilbigjohn68) December 20, 2020
Great question, even though backup quarterback Jack Tuttle stepped in and delivered a solid performance when the Hoosiers won at Wisconsin in their only game without Penix.
Multiple IU players tweeted about the decision.
"Representatives in the Big 10 need to start taking care of their own!!" offensive lineman Britt Beery said. "It is evident that the other Power 5’s already do that!!!"
Representatives in the Big 10 need to start taking care of their own!! It is evident that the other Power 5’s already do that!!! #CFBPlayoff— Britt Beery (@BrittBeery78) December 20, 2020
Regardless of the snub, Indiana will still compete in the program’s most prestigious bowl game since the 1968 Rose Bowl. IU has not won a bowl game since defeating Baylor in the 1991 Copper Bowl.
IU and Ole Miss have never played. IU holds a 27-22-1 (.550) all-time record against SEC opponents.
"This is comical... I love the lack of respect," defensive lineman Jovan Swann said in a tweet. "Regardless, we will stay in our lane and on our grind."
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