Indiana football deserved better than this.
2020 was perhaps the greatest season in the history of the Indiana football program. Coach Tom Allen created a brotherhood amongst the players that was unmatched by any other team in the country. These bonds, combined with a sudden influx of talent (credit to Allen again) created a winning culture at a historically subpar football school.
Despite these facts, the College Football Playoff Committee has been neglecting the Hoosiers all season, culminating in a final Mike Tyson-sized sucker punch to the gut on Sunday night.
Indiana will be returning to the Outback Bowl to take on a 4-5 Ole Miss team.
What is there to even say? It was almost a lock that Indiana made a New Year’s Six bowl. Not only were they rejected from that opportunity (an opportunity which they rightfully deserved and earned), but they were given an opponent who lost more games than they won.
Sure, we can recognize that the SEC is the superior football conference, and all the Southerners (I am speaking as a lifetime resident of the South) will let everyone know that. There is no mistaking that Ole Miss’s losses were against good teams. That has been an argument from the non-Indiana crowd, and you can see where they are coming from.
But the matter of fact is, no matter who they played, Ole Miss didn’t win games and Indiana did. It has been made clear by the CFP Committee’s selections that the number of losses don’t matter and quality wins do.
That has been an argument against Indiana as well. Some say that their ranked wins ended up not looking very impressive by the end of the season.
This is just downright silly to me. Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin were all ranked in the top-25 at the time Indiana beat them. The people devaluing those wins are the same people that ranked those teams in the first place. Saying those weren’t quality wins is ridiculous because everyone recognized them as such at the time, even the committee.
You simply cannot use the argument that Indiana lacks quality wins and then put North Carolina, Cincinnati, or Oregon in their place. None of those teams have bigger wins than Indiana, and all of them have worse losses.
Thankfully, it seems as if almost everyone in the college football universe recognizes Indiana was mistreated by the committee. An optimist might say that this may propel Indiana to new heights. a 6-1 team will walk into next season with a Godzilla-sized chip on its shoulder.
One thing we can say with certainty is that the bowl game and playoff selection is broken. The Playoff was made to fix the mistakes of the BCS, but it has clearly not worked. In college basketball, if you are a bubble team and miss the tournament, it is hard to be mad for a long time. Bubble teams from power five conferences usually have around 12 losses, so there is plenty to pick apart.
For a one-loss team to be cheated like Indiana was this bowl season shows that major changes need to happen. All you ever hear about when teams receive bids to bowl games is how poorly the committee made their selections. How many years are we going to let this go on before a change is made?