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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Bowl game bid not out of question for Hoosiers

Football bowl

The IU football team needs two more wins to qualify for bowl eligibility.

Getting those two wins, however, will not be so simple.

With five games remaining, including three against teams in the top 25 BCS standings, IU is battling for one of eight potential bowl spots available to the Big Ten Conference.

On Saturday, the Hoosiers (4-3, 1-2) face Northwestern, a team with an identical overall and conference record. The teams are tied for eighth in the conference – a critical position because eight Big Ten teams are bowl possibilities at the end of the season.

After Northwestern, IU will face a three-game stretch against Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State – all teams ranked in the BCS’ top 25 – before finishing its season against Purdue.

With three games against top opponents, most analysts point to Northwestern and Purdue as very “winnable” games for the Hoosiers.

IU coach Bill Lynch said the coaching staff does not talk about the bowl implications of this week’s game, but the players understand the circumstances.

“There’s no question,” Lynch said. “We have smart guys on our football team, and they
have goals and aspirations. We don’t dwell on (a bowl game) because we talk all the time about controlling what we can control.”

What IU’s play will not affect, though, are the results of other Big Ten conference games that could leave IU outside of a bowl, even if it finishes the season 6-6.

For now, players said they are taking the season “one game at a time.”

“That’s always in the back of your mind – you always want to go to a bowl game,” senior linebacker Matt Mayberry said. “It starts today. We have to go out and have a great practice.”

3 possible bowl game scenarios

Scenario 1

IU wins six games, and two Big Ten teams qualify for a BCS bowl.

If IU finishes eighth in the conference standings with six wins, it will need some help from Big Ten opponents to qualify for a bowl.

Seven designated Big Ten bowl games are available to IU, including one spot in the Rose Bowl. If a second conference team qualifies for another BCS bowl, eight teams could play in Big Ten bowl games, which could include IU.

This scenario played out when Ohio State made it to the national championship in the 2003 and 2007 seasons, and this year Iowa and Penn State are in the top 15 of the BCS standings.

The Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl (formerly the Motor City Bowl) in Detroit will host the seventh or eighth team from the Big Ten against a Mid-American Conference opponent.

Scenario 2

IU wins six games and one Big Ten team qualifies for a BCS bowl.

This is the least likely scenario. The Hoosiers would need to win six games and pass a team currently above them in the Big Ten conference standings. The only way IU can win six games and finish in a bowl game is if another team loses most, if not all, of their remaining contests and finish outside bowl eligibility.

Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin are unranked teams that could still mathematically finish 5-7.

Scenario 3

IU wins plus-7 games.

If IU wins at least three of its final five games, the Hoosiers will have nothing to worry about. After finishing 7-5 with a win against Iowa, Penn State or Wisconsin, the biggest concern for the Hoosiers would be figuring out where they’ll play in December.

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