It's worse than that. There are 70 spots for 120 teams, and of the 67 AQ teams, 16-19 teams will be home (depending on the Big East games and Pac-12 championship), and that counts USC being on probation. You really have to try to miss a bowl these days. That kind of puts Wilson's rebuilding job in Bloomington in perspective. The last AQ team to finish with 1 win was Washington State in 2009; the last Big Ten team to do it was Minnesota in 2007. Both teams were miserable, and neither has really recovered. (Minnesota poked its head above water in 2008-09 and promptly got dunked again.)It also means that for the next couple of years, the Bucket game should be similar to this: we'll see an IU team playing in what amounts to a bowl game for them. Hope will need to get a better performance out of the Boilers in the future ... this was yet another lucky escape against an opponent that should have been blown away.
We're in opposition from you on this one... we think that Wilson will have this team improving pretty quickly. Take a look at how many young guys played a lot this season -- he clearly decided, screw it, we're not going anywhere this year so let's take our lumps and get guys valuable playing time. Not only that, but despite being bludgeoned over and over, this team looked hyped and ready to play Purdue -- AND hung with OSU just two weeks earlier. Sure, OSU and Purdue weren't powerhouses, but the point is IU hadn't quit even when they were 1-10 and looking hopeless. That bodes well, we think....My random guess is IU moves to the 3-5 win plateau next year and then is a bowl team in 2013.
I definitely agree that playing the younger guys was the right thing to do ... and like Hoke at Michigan, Wilson didn't seem to have any problems putting the proper focus on the big rivalry game. The problem is that to improve within the conference, someone else has to weaken. It doesn't take much to move up to bowl status, as we know, but I'm just not sure that IU can do it. There are definitely schools that could drop toward the bottom for a year or so, but with exceptions like Minnesota, they have more resources to put toward football. Look, this is a school that hasn't won more than 8 games in a season since 1967 (and has never won more than 9). They've been to one bowl in 18 seasons. In that time, seven different Big Ten teams have been to the Rose Bowl. It's not like their athletic program never turns out winners; it just doesn't turn them out in football. Maybe Wilson can squeeze a good year or two out of them, but I don't know if he can even match Mallory-level success. IU's last decent stretch came right before Penn State joined the conference, and with Nebraska here as well, there is just too much competition for the worst teams.I wouldn't be surprised if IU turned out kind of like Vanderbilt has: an occasional winning season, but mostly losing seasons, some of them bad. (DiNardo can talk about that on BTN, since he coached at both schools.) You could be right, though. Wilson might be the guy to do for Indiana what Pat Fitzgerald is doing for Northwestern.
I think Wilson is right where he needs to be. He blew up the season to start rebuilding.The Bucket Game trouble me because we saw IU at their worst against the best Hope's best. What I mean is IU was starting mostly Frehsmen with less than a season under Wilson against a Purdue team that has been "developed" for three years by Hope - and they could easily have won. Give Wilson a full offseason with these experienced underclassmen and watch out. Meanwhile, we'll continue to collect promising HS players and do nothing with them.
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