IU Insider Blog: Football Schedule Change

Fred Glass announced last week that Indiana will buy out of the South Florida contract and replace it with Florida International. In the ongoing quest to get the Hoosiers back to serious bowl contention year after year, I think moves like this one make a lot of sense. Read on to to understand why.

There are some out there who seem to have a hard time believing that Fred Glass would pay to get South Florida off of Indiana's football schedule for 2015 and 2016, while adding a Florida International team that the Hoosiers will have to play a large sum of money just to make that happen.

A criticism I heard was that in essence Indiana is trying buy its way into a bowl game.

My reaction? You do whatever it takes.

Let's don't forget that we're talking about Indiana football here.

That is Indiana football as in a program that has only made bowl appearance in the past 20 years. That was the 2007 ‘Play 13' season in honor Terry Hoeppner, the former IU coach who had died in June a few months prior to the start of the season.

But take away 2007 and you have 19 seasons where Indiana has not played in a bowl game. The last bowl appearance had been in 1993.

And so if IU's athletic director looks at the schedules moving forward (very likely with the assistance of football coach Kevin Wilson) and determines an opponent like Florida International makes more sense than a bigger, stronger football program such as South Florida, I really don't have a problem with it.

Indiana needs to play some postseason football. And it needs to get there any way it can. The next two seasons – 2014 and 2015 – are the last in the foreseeable future where the conference season will consist of eight games. Beginning in 2016, the Big Ten moves to a nine-game conference season. That will mean one less non-conference game. I would think beginning in 2016, the Hoosiers will be particularly careful about the teams they schedule in non-conference play. You have to find a way to schedule three non-conference opponents you can beat to have a chance to win three Big Ten games and get bowl eligible.

I've also heard the criticism that this is the same road that Indiana basketball has chosen to go down in terms of scheduling and that it will ultimately hurt Indiana football in the end.

Myself, I don't buy that argument because I think the competition that IU faces year in and year out in the Big Ten in football would more than be enough to prepare the Hoosiers for a postseason football game.

And it's not like IU is not playing any competitive non-conference foes. Last year IU faced SEC champion Missouri at home and this season the Hoosiers will travel for that game in September. IU will also go on the road to Bowling Green this season, another team has been really good the last couple of years.

It's different with IU basketball and an NCAA Tournament selection process that takes into account the caliber of opponents you play and where you play them. That's why I think you'll see Tom Crean and the Hoosiers beefing up the non-conference schedule a little bit over the next few years.

So if Glass wants to go down this road and play two games against Florida International rather than playing two against South Florida I really don't think it's a big deal.

And remember with IU football, it isn't a given that playing lesser foes will lead to a victory. I still remember IU losing to Division I-AA Southern Illinois 35-28 in 2006. The Salukis got a huge pay day for playing IU and a victory on top of it.

Indiana needs to play in bowl games and it needs to use whatever formula necessary to get there. I think Glass's recent move simply makes good business sense in the long run.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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