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Indiana’s Wilson fires misguided shot at Big 12 and Notre Dame

Kevin Wilson

There was a time the Big Ten had what seemed to be a competitive advantage in the BCS bowl picture by not playing a conference championship game when the ACC, Big 12 and SEC were. Now the tables have been turned and folks around the Big Ten are starting to fire shots at the Big 12, a conference without a championship game.

One of the big questions yet to be answered entering the new era of college football is what the impact of playing a conference championship game or not playing one will hold on the College Football Playoff selection committee’s line of thinking when it comes to choosing the four best teams in the country. Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson may not be ready to have a program worthy of sniffing that conversation any time soon, but he certainly feels the Big 12 and Notre Dame are getting an easier path to the postseason mix.

Wilson, a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, suggested the Big 12 is avoiding a challenge that is embraced by the Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC with a conference championship game. Not playing the game gives the Big 12 a competitive advantage. To drive his point home, Wilson made a golf reference that suggests Big 12 schools and Notre Dame are playing the equivalent of 17 holes while the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are playing the entire back nine.

That is probably an unfair statement, of course, especially in the case of the Big 12. Unlike in the Big Ten, every Big 12 school plays the entire conference using a nine-game schedule for the 10-team conference. Wilson’s Hoosiers will not have to play Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern or Minnesota this season. A true champion can be crowned in the Big 12 by having every member play the entire conference. Wilson’s point, though, is the added challenge of playing a conference championship game has the advantage of padding a school’s strength of schedule, but also provides a giant risk by potentially missing out on a playoff spot or perhaps a spot in another lucrative bowl game with a loss. Of course, this argument is nothing new.

Notre Dame is a slightly different situation, as a football independent, but the Irish have established a track record of organizing competitive schedules. This season the Irish play Michigan, Stanford, North Carolina, Florida State, Arizona State and USC. All but Michigan appear in the preseason coaches poll. Indiana faces just two teams ranked in the same preseason poll this fall (Ohio State and Michigan State). Notre Dame has no started a new relationship with the ACC, guaranteeing multiple games each season against ACC competition, in addition to annual rivalry games against USC, Stanford an Navy. Notre Dame also takes their show on the road in the Shamrock Series against other power conference opponents on neutral sites.

Is Wilson out of line, or does he have a point worth discussing further? Feel free to share your opinions down in the comment section.

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22 Responses to “Indiana’s Wilson fires misguided shot at Big 12 and Notre Dame”
  1. 513guy says: Jul 31, 2014 10:12 PM

    I could almost buy this if it came out of the mouth of a coach who actually had a prayer of playing in his conference’s championship game. But the coach of the Indiana Freakin’ Hoosiers!?!? C’mon man!

  2. irishdodger says: Jul 31, 2014 10:42 PM

    I like what Wilson is building at IU but he’s barking up the wrong tree. Conference championship games are nothing more than a money grab. The only true way to determine a conference champion is to play every conference member during the regular season. The Pac-10 used to do this before adding Utah & Colorado. Now the Big 12 does it w/ the loss of TAMU & Colorado. I wish they’d all do it but the money is too big. Look no further than the SEC to see how relevant a conference championship game is. Alabama has only played in it once in the last four years.

    As far as ND, Wilson should compare yearly schedules. ND, USC & UCLA are the ONLY three schools who have NEVER played an FCS school. ND can be criticized for numerous things…their schedule isn’t one of them.

  3. laxer37 says: Jul 31, 2014 11:03 PM

    Indiana University has a football team?

  4. martyks55 says: Aug 1, 2014 12:26 AM

    I think, yes, they do have a football team, but it’s a club sport there. No scholarships. They take the boys to Dairy Queen if they lose by less than 50.

  5. manik56 says: Aug 1, 2014 12:42 AM

    Yes the Big XII has an advantage of not playing the extra game against what is usually a great team. And yes the do play everyone in their conference. It sort of balances out but not when the championship game could be a repeat opponent with one or no losses.

  6. brownsmakemecrazy says: Aug 1, 2014 4:20 AM

    No he definitely has a point. Notre Dame isn’t an elite program so they won’t make the playoffs anytime soon. They are a name program that’s tradition is kept alive from people still living in the 1950s and 60s.

    As far as the Little 12 is concerned, Jokelahoma will get boat raced like USC did in the 2005 Orange Bowl if they get there. No other team in that conference needs to worry about the playoffs.

    His message would be more impactful if it wasn’t coming from the sorry Little 10 now the Little 14. That conference deserves no chance at the playoffs since they are 10-22 in the last 4 years in bowl games. Same thing people think the conference is good. The Little 10 is flat out a joke of a Conference in football. They are 1 notch above the MAC. The Little 10 is better in hoops than it is football. Watching Little 14 football is like watching paint dry.

  7. morpheus7511 says: Aug 1, 2014 6:34 AM

    Hey Coach Wilson how about you worry about winning a Big 10 title first and making the playoff series before you start critizing ND!You stole a recruit from us so just be happy with that and shut up.ND plays a competive schedule every year and we dont schedule teams from the MAC like the Big Ten teams do.Nobody in the country schedules better teams than we do.ND will play anybody,anywhere at anytime even Indiana if you want some.And by the way we were the only team to beat last year’s Big 10 champ MSU!!!!

  8. theflyingtad says: Aug 1, 2014 8:05 AM

    Just curious, how many times has Indiana played “No. 18”? Oh yeah, zero times.

  9. thirty2ncountin says: Aug 1, 2014 8:35 AM

    The SEC and ACC play 8 conference games while the Big 12 plays 9. The conference championship is the equalizer. And really Indiana? You’re the school the SEC designates as their glorified bye week in November to pad their schedule.

  10. dbfan4ever says: Aug 1, 2014 9:02 AM

    Compared to Indiana every team has a competitive advantage because they are not Indiana! Indiana is worried that a Big 12 team wil take their spot in the final four playoff this has to be a joke, right cause that is the funniest thing I have heard all day!

  11. cadenbanks says: Aug 1, 2014 9:35 AM

    He’s an idiot. IU’s SOS was 38 last year (Massey) which would have been 9th in the Big 12. Also, IU played only four road games (0-4). Who and where you play makes a difference in my book. Their 2014 schedule is a bit better @ Missouri and a total of 6 roa games. Any wagers on their final road record? Maybe he should worry about beating North Texas first, or he maybe looking for a new job.

  12. angelojg21 says: Aug 1, 2014 10:33 AM

    Another advantage the Big 12 has is that it doesn’t play defense.

  13. palinurus10 says: Aug 1, 2014 11:29 AM

    I’ll pass on the easy shots, like observing that IU is hardly worth note as a football program, and that its coach is a nobody. I’ll pass on noting that IU wouldn’t win a single game if they played Notre Dame’s schedule. Suffice to say that ND plays a tougher schedule than ANY Big Ten team and that the Big Ten is a second rate conference now, really better than only the successor to the Big East.

    So the comment is foolish and foolish comments should be ignored by any serious media source. I only comment because to ignore it now would give the comment validity in the minds of Big Ten fans and other inveterate ND haters (who are blind with envy).

  14. palinurus10 says: Aug 1, 2014 11:32 AM

    No offense intended to sensible Big Ten fans who really are college football fans and are hoping for a return to relevance for a formerly great conference. Ohio State is pretty good, as is Michigan State, but after that, the conference is mediocre or worse. And worst of all is IU.

  15. spfldjimbo says: Aug 1, 2014 12:01 PM

    A couple of things

    1) I didn’t know Indiana still played football
    2) I have never heard of Ben Wilson. Is he one of the Beach Boys?

  16. rmf5630 says: Aug 1, 2014 12:32 PM

    Just because a coach is working for a school with little historical tradition means he is not allowed to voice and opinion on his profession? Using the logic of most posters on this site, there are only 10 or so coaches allowed to voice an opinion on how college football should operate. How nice and elitist for those ten.

    If college football doesn’t allow the other 110 or so schools have a voice, college football will die. Without the other schools college football is just NFL-lite, so why bother watching? You want college football to continue to get better, don’t silence or cut out the majority of fans in the country. I guarantee there are more alumni of the bad schools combined than the elite football schools.

  17. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 1, 2014 1:25 PM


    He’s allowed a voice…. and we’re allowed to criticize it when it says stupid things…

  18. irishdrg1 says: Aug 1, 2014 1:30 PM

    Really from IU? Well he got his name and school in the news. Irish schedule is, well enough said.

  19. mfoster1961 says: Aug 1, 2014 1:34 PM

    @ brownsmakemecrazy……………….it seems to me that you are from eSECpn country..the most overhyped bunch of girl scout teams ever to “grace” the world of college football. What was that? Ohio State embarrassed Arkansas? Oklahoma embarrassed Alabama? You are DEFINITELY a joke……

  20. oleolehey says: Aug 1, 2014 2:47 PM

    Using Wilson’s golf analogy….Indiana has not graduated from par 3s.

  21. 8to80texansblog says: Aug 1, 2014 4:53 PM

    mfoster1961 says:
    Aug 1, 2014 1:34 PM

    @ brownsmakemecrazy……………….it seems to me that you are from eSECpn country..the most overhyped bunch of girl scout teams ever to “grace” the world of college football. What was that? Ohio State embarrassed Arkansas? Oklahoma embarrassed Alabama? You are DEFINITELY a joke……

    Ohio St. is 1-11 vs the SEC in bowl games….
    Texas A&M embarrassed OU the year before….

  22. palinurus10 says: Aug 1, 2014 6:26 PM

    @rmf5630 — The IU is free to talk, but it doesn’t mean the media has to publish objectively stupid utterances as though they’re relevant or newsworthy. And, yes, the quality of the program matters. because it goes to whether the issue he’s all worked up about is ever going matter to him or his school. I might get really lathered up about the unfairness of taxation policy in Sweden but I don’t like there and since it doesn’t affect me, it would be really silly of me to call a press conference to condemn Swedish tax rate.

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