Wednesday, May 15, 2013
B1G still supports seven-win bowl minimum
By Adam Rittenberg
CHICAGO -- Indiana athletic director Fred Glass oversees a football program that has made one bowl appearance in the past 19 seasons.
The Hoosiers soon will take up residence in the Big Ten's East Division, which includes traditional powers Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, as well as Michigan State. Like every other Big Ten team, Indiana also will begin playing nine conference games instead of eight beginning in 2016.
Although Indiana took a step last fall in Year 2 under coach Kevin Wilson, it has won six or more games just 11 times since 1967, when it shared the Big Ten championship and went to the Rose Bowl.
If given the choice between keeping the minimum wins requirement for bowls at six versus increasing it to seven, Glass seemingly has an easy decision.
"Perhaps the surprising answer is I'd probably favor going to seven [wins]," Glass told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "We're a program that's trying to build, and you might say it's in our best interest to stay at six, but there's something about enthusing your fan base with a winning season, being 7-5. Maybe that might help limit the number of bowls out there, too, so it's a real positive experience."
"For us, it means redefining a successful year at 7-5 from the standpoint of a bowl season," Delany said last May. "We argued for 6-6. We've experienced 6-6. Now we're suggesting that it's in our best interest, the bowls' best interest as well as the other conferences that might benefit by these open slots to look at a 7-5 standard."
Ultimately, other major conferences weren't on board with the push to increase the requirement. The Big Ten had three 6-6 teams -- Michigan State, Purdue and Minnesota -- make bowl games in 2012 and four 6-6 teams (Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue and Northwestern) go in 2011.
"We think the bowl system would be better off with a 7-5 situation," Delany said Wednesday. "We thought for a while we were heading in that direction, but it's obvious that we're not."
The Big Ten's move to nine league games means a team would have to win at least three conference contests to reach the six-win minimum, giving it a little more credibility. Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said many coaches, especially "those building programs," are in favor of keeping the requirement at six victories.
But ADs still hope that seven can be the magic number some day.
"Seven wins is what you should have; always felt that," Ohio State AD Gene Smith said. "I still think we have too many bowls. I just think 6-6 is not the level, but I know that's not something that appears to be reversing at this time. I just don't want to be there again."