Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy knows he has experience on his side in tomorrow night's Insight Bowl…and that's a concern in his mind.
While the Cowboys have earned bowl bids in four of the past five seasons, Indiana is making its first bowl trip since 1993. Experience might generally be a good thing, but Gundy wants to make sure there isn't a "been there, done that" approach from his team when the game kicks off at 6 p.m. Monday night.
"I had a concern about how excited Indiana was because I know as a coach, I went for a long time early in my career not being in a bowl and how excited I was to be in a bowl," Gundy said. "They have been 13, 14 years without being in a bowl. So there's that excitement just for postseason play – not only for the players, but the fans and everybody in that environment in the area."
The excitement around the IU program is obvious. Indiana had the second-lowest average home attendance during the regular season, averaging just 37,004 fans in its seven home games. Despite those numbers, Indiana still managed to sell nearly 10,000 tickets to the Insight Bowl – nearly twice as many as Oklahoma State.
Indiana's trip to Tempe also represents the culmination of the team's pledge to "Play 13" in memory of former Coach Terry Hoeppner, who passed away from a brain tumor over the summer.
But Gundy said his team won't go through the motions Monday night.
"That's always a question when you are playing a bowl game - who's going to be the team that's more excited to be here," Gundy said. "Our team is thrilled to be here. It is not a situation where we feel like we should have been somewhere else because you should be somewhere else, you should have won more games and come back here and played in the Fiesta Bowl. So our team understands that."
Gundy does hope that his team does derive some benefit from the fact most of its players have been through the bowl preparation in years past, while it's something new to the Hoosiers as well as many members of the coaching staff.
"These guys have been here, so we would hope that would help with our preparation and the way we handle the atmosphere and being in a place like Tempe where there is a lot to do and everybody is having a lot of fun," Gundy said. "We hope that part helps us."
Bowl Inexperience Could Pay Off for IU
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