Dolson, Allen discuss B1G title game, no Bucket Game, and CFP rankings

It’s been quite a week for Indiana football.

The Hoosiers’ game with rival Purdue was canceled. The College Football Playoff selection committee wouldn’t move the Hoosiers up from No. 12 in the rankings, even after a win at then-No. 16 Wisconsin. Then, the Big Ten reneged on a rule that would have put IU in the conference title game.

IU coach Tom Allen acknowledged disappointments and frustrations Thursday on his weekly radio show, adding caveats for what was subjective, when necessary. But he eventually landed on an undeniable fact. This is a mix of events that only adds fuel to the fire.

“When we play again, our guys are going to be so stinkin’ ready to play,” Allen said.

It’s been a rough couple of days for IU football, and Allen and IU athletic director Scott Dolson spent an hour with radio voice Don Fischer to rehash it for a frustrated fan base. For the first time since 1919, IU and Purdue will not face off in football. While it is uncertain when the Hoosiers will play next because of a COVID-related pause, it’s certain they will not be in the conference title game, because the Big Ten’s ADs and presidents voted Wednesday to shelve a six-game minimum that would have left 5-0 Ohio State a contest short of being eligible.

Dolson confirmed Thursday he voted against the rule change, though he understood why his Big Ten counterparts wished to send the Buckeyes to Indianapolis over the 6-1 Hoosiers.

“One of the things that helped me, I really believe … if the situation were different, if we were in Ohio State’s position — and we hope we are at some point — I’d argue like crazy we deserved to be in that game,” Dolson said.

Dolson repeated the Big Ten’s rationale that the Buckeyes would have been the East Division champions as long as Michigan was available to play, win or lose, this weekend. Along those lines, OSU had a tiebreaker over IU, beating the Hoosiers by a touchdown in November.

While Dolson voted against eliminating the six-game minimum instituted at the beginning of the season, saying he wanted that championship opportunity for his team, the first-year AD wasn’t going to complain overly much.

“I’m not trying to wear a Big Ten hat over an IU hat,” Dolson said, “but I understood it and we had to move on.”

The more immediate concern now is when the No. 8 Hoosiers may be able to play football again. Dolson was asked by Fischer if the past week’s increase in positive COVID-19 tests could hold IU out of next week’s to-be-determined crossover matchup, and he said it was a “day-by-day” situation.

“It could,” Dolson said. “We are hopeful to get it contained quickly.”

Dolson said concerns about a COVID-19 spike originated from daily antigen testing the Saturday of the Wisconsin game. Those worries only worsened as more tests were administered Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, Dolson was concerned enough to call Purdue AD Mike Bobinski.

“You won’t believe this,” Bobinski told Dolson, “but we were going to call you in the next 30 minutes. We have the same situation.”

Bobinski and Dolson issued a joint statement Wednesday about the game’s cancelation.

“Just felt like a joint statement was really important because we wanted our fans to know that we know what that game means to all of us, the tradition and the rivalry,” Dolson said. “But health and safety is No. 1, and that’s not going to change.”

Allen said it was a “sick” feeling to lose the Bucket Game. Coming into the final week of the season, only IU, Penn State, Rutgers, and Iowa had played all seven of its scheduled Big Ten games.

“You’re just one bad day away from this infecting your whole locker room and your staff. It’s just been a constant struggle,” Allen said. “Been very fortunate to get to this point of the season.”

Unfortunately, events from the last week have left the Hoosiers feeling like they have more to prove.

It started Tuesday when the CFP revealed that IU was still No. 12 in its rankings. Two loss teams such as Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Georgia remained ahead of the Hoosiers.

“I was shocked by it, to be honest with you. Very disappointed,” Allen said. “They’ve got a tough, tough job, I get it. It’s very subjective … but at the same time, I just focus on the facts of what we’ve done this season.”

Allen spent ample time Thursday reviewing IU’s resume, including three wins over top-25 teams. Alabama is the only other school to accomplish that in 2020.

All three of those teams — then-No. 8 Penn State, then-No. 23 Michigan, and then-No. 18 Wisconsin — are no longer ranked in the polls. But what really confused Allen is how Ohio State was getting credit for a top-10 win over IU, but IU itself wasn’t reaping any of the benefits of coming within a touchdown of a top-4 squad.

“We can’t be a part of their strength of schedule and it negates our strength of schedule,” Allen said. “You can’t be inconsistent.”

Allen then reiterated his “earmuffs and blinders” approach. IU can only control what it can control, he said. But then Allen added the caveat that he isn’t “deaf and blind.”

Facts are facts, Allen said. He was going to defend his program, and IU just went on the road and beat a top-25 Wisconsin team, led by a new starting quarterback, Jack Tuttle.

“We’re not the same team of 20 years ago, we’re not the same team of 10 years ago, and we are not the team of three years ago,” Allen said. “That’s the part that’s frustrating, because we’re not that team, and we showed it on the field. I felt like we earned the right to be a top-10 team. The AP thought we were. The coaches thought we were, and I was surprised. I thought the playoff committee would put us there on Tuesday.

“But you know what, I can’t control that. We just continue to put those logs on the fire, just keep that thing stoked up, just keep on burning on the inside, and we’re just going to keep getting better.”

Allen then harkened back to a lesson his father taught him when he was a football player.

“You shut your mouth and you let your play do the talking,” Allen said. “We have to let our play do the talking.”

67 comments

  1. These events should add fuel to IUFB’s fire and help refocus the team once again. The B1G decision was understandable as long as you don’t care about your schools following the rules. The B1G people just opened up a can of worms with this decision. IU had their best shot to win the B1G when we played OSU but came up short.

    The football play-off committee shows they don’t really value the team but more about the program’s past success. Otherwise how can you put ISU with two losses ahead of IU or even Georgia with two bad losses. Cincinnati doesn’t have the quality wins IU has had because their schedule isn’t very tough but they have been good for several years.

    Now IU just needs to keep the virus under control and not spread too much and heal up during this off week. If they can’t play in the crossover game then I hope they get into a New Year bowl game and show they have been too low rated by the committee.

    1. Why are you criticizing the BiG decision? If OSU played one more game and lost it, they would’ve qualified under the original rule and still been champs of the East.

  2. Because they changed the rule midstream to get OSU to the championship game. 5-0; 4-0; 3-0; 2-0; 1-0 and they could have used the same rationale. The B1G set the rules and couldn’t live by them. Shades of 1973 Michigan/Ohio State both 10-0-1 tying each other with OSU having gone to the Rose Bowl the year before and OSU gets the nod over Michigan.

    1. But the result was actually the same, which is why the rule change is a non issue. Even if OSU played 6 games and lost 1, they’d still be champs of the East because they won the head to head. The rule didn’t get changed to give it to OSU. OSU’s “unplayed” game, even if it was a loss, wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

      1. Then why change the rule? Don’t change the rule and IU plays in the championship game. Change the rule and OSU plays in the championship game. Ridiculous to say the rule change had no impact. If it didn’t then why change it????

          1. This isn’t a case of excluding a superior IU team over a less deserving OSU one. In actuality, it’s just the opposite. Does the BiG look foolish for boxing themselves in here? Without doubt, and that’s not the only thing. But the outcome here puts the most deserving team in the championship game, which seems like the right call.

        1. Because the only issue was OSU not being able to play a game they were ready to play. They could’ve showed up in shorts and loafers, gotten beat 100-0, and they would’ve still been the East champs. What would the point be of excluding them at that point, especially since they beat us?

        2. You are right and BD is ignoring the real issue. Yes OSU would have been in the championship with one more game but the rule wasn’t followed. I am not too upset by OSU in the Championship but am upset by the B1G just changing the rule instead of doing earlier in the season so teams would know but no, the rule bit them in the ass and they changed the rule. It just shows the B1G not living up to their rules which is the big problem. OSU playing Iowa wouldn’t have hurt OSU if they played a great game and romped over Iowa.

          1. Again, changing the rule only prevented a less deserving team from making it to the finals. Why do you think a less deserving team would be entitled to that? If you were a coach and you had a firm rule that any player out after curfew was benched for the next game, would you follow through with that rule if you discovered that a player who had been punished turned out to not be violating curfew (he was actually in and was mistakenly identified by someone else)? I agree that the rule was dumb and should’ve been more forward thinking. But the BiG’s effort here is about putting the most deserving team in the final game. I get the disappointment we all feel as IU fans. What I don’t understand is the “A rule is a rule” mentality.

  3. I may be wrong, but you don’t have to win a conference championship to qualify for the BCS. The committee picks the four “best” teams. There was never a need to change the rules. They just need to play games. OSU could play Iowa in a crossover game. A win over Iowa would proabably be a “better” win than Northwestern.

  4. If championship game is played yes, it looks like OSU should have a 2 or 3 td win. However, I wouldn’t count out P.R., Fitz, and the Wildcats…just sayin. Sometimes it happens as in upsets and I have seen them over the years. OSU is a methodical team and if NW can maintain big play from OSU and which team will be most focused amongst all the distractions.

    1. Beardown, then why did they even have a rule to begin with? Why not have a rule that said if any team is in the top four then they automatically qualify for the conference championship game? The B1G should hire smarter people to be forward thinking to come up with possible scenarios and provide the plan to the public ahead of time. At the end of the day the CFB committee could have included OSU in the final four weather they have played 5 or 6 games and completely disregard the championship issue. I would have no issue if we went to the championship game, won it, and then OSU picked as a top 4. That would have been a win win for everyone. If Barta can justify what he did in his conference he could certainly justify OSU as a final four on the same basis.

      1. As I said, they look dumb and have opened themselves up to criticism by boxing themselves in with that “rule”, among other things, and they’ve been behind the curve throughout this thing.

        But this isn’t about the haves and have nots or some perceived bias against IU. OSU, as much as I wish otherwise, is the best team in the East. It was settled on the field. And while the conference leaders have been stepping in manure throughout this abbreviated Covid season, they actually got this one right in that the best of the East is playing the best of the West.

        1. In such a shortened and altered season, it should NOT be ‘The best in the East’ vs. ‘The Best in the West’…..It should have been about sample size, record and COMPETITION. The pandemic changed everything. Divisional status meant crap because of so many cancellations.

          There is no way in hell Northwestern plays within a touchdown of OSU. Anyone care to make a wager?
          The second best team in the conference deserved a divisional alignment “rule” to be scrapped because nobody played all their divisional games. The two best teams are Indiana and OSU. That should be your title game. Sorry, Northwestern…Sh___ happens. This year the BigTen had to modify the divisional designation and do what’s right. We are temporarily calling Indiana a ‘West’ team and they will play in the title….LOL.

        2. Here’s a final idea…Since a weekend opened up anyway, why didn’t the BigTen brass think outside the box and have a ‘Final Four’ teams to battle for the BigTen Title?
          Take the top 2 teams of each division. Play two semifinal games this weekend and the championship next weekend. Isn’t that the most fair proposal considering all of the altered schedules and cancellations? Probably would have been a ratings bonanza as well. It would have produced more dollars in viewership and been far more just.
          Semi One: OSU vs. Iowa
          Semi Two: Northwestern vs. Indiana

        3. BD, a rule is something that should be followed , your example [about curfew] is about something that the rule wasn’t broken. This B1G rule was broken by the B1G and as I said I don’t have an issue with OSU being the better team to be in the championship game.

          1. Maybe this is all karma for allowing Hendershot some rule bending…? Should he really have been allowed back on the team? It’s not really a “feel good” story picked up by the national media when they were covering the Allen love fest in Bloomington. Shouldn’t there be more balance and honesty? We sort of bend rules/player disciplinary actions and do things to help our chances that may be of questionable ethics. ….

          2. But you’re suggesting that a bad rule should be followed because, well, it’s a rule. That really doesn’t make any sense at all. You’re mad because enforcing a poorly conceived rule keeps IU out of the championship game. That really makes no sense, either.

  5. They should have broken the ‘divisional alignment rule’ so the two best teams in all of the BigTen in this modified season could play for the title. Why abide by divisional alignments when you scrapped everything else? IU and OSU are arguably the two best teams in the conference. We should be playing each other for the title.

    Bottom Line: We’re nothing other than a “feel good” story. We’re cute little snippet of warmth to the heart. We are Sunday School and not Saturday Afternoon. We have a goofy coach who nobody outside his love circle of Hoosier devotees takes seriously. He’s a sideshow to real football with his silly love doctrines. We aren’t a football team…We’re an afternoon round table talk show like ‘The View’ where we chat about our feelings and how to give quality hugs.
    OSU is a football team. We are an anomaly because of a pandemic. Don’t kid yourself. Nobody who makes or changes rules in the hallowed halls of the BigTen considers anything but what I just described.
    I’m sorry, but it’s a total joke that Northwestern gets the stage of a championship game and the second best team in the conference (a team that made a Heisman candidate shake his head at the end of the game because he had been stymied) , Indiana University, is on the outside looking in.

    Yes, change the rule. Scrap the dumb-ass divisional alignment and allow the two best teams to play for the title, After all, isn’t that are main goal during this completely altered and rearranged season. Mustn’t we just assess the two best teams? IU defeated PSU, Michigan and Wisconsin ….We took the Buckeyes to the point of a scare. The second best team in the league is not Northwestern. A divisional designation should have also been a “rule” worth changing in a season where evidence and “eye tests” should be most paramount. END OF STORY.
    We were effed over.

    1. Hey Cow! I agree with Harvard on a thing. If you are going to change one arbitrary rule to make sure the best team is in the championship, why not change the other arbitrary rule so the second best team is in the game?

      1. Glad you noticed. Keep in mind, only liars change rules. We are under the thumb of a bunch of liars. Six games? We were just kidding. Hell, if it’s an “eye test,” then why do we even have a season? My eyes tell me OSU is always going to be better. Let’s just save everybody the time and effort. Put OSU in the East by themself. All 4 to (pick a number) of their games will be cross-divisional.
        Put the rest of us in the West to battle it out for a chance to play in a championship. Or, let’s go back to something like “Legends” and “Leaders”….This time we’ll call the two divisions “Buckeyes” and “Pretenders.” When they play the championship game, all offensive possessions by OSU comes with the use of square shaped football that doesn’t spiral through the air too hot. This will sort of even things up. The loser, by virtue of losing to the prima donna OSU (even when OSU was forced to use a square football), will not get a bowl game. They will, instead, get another invite to an optometrist due to a failed “eye test” against the every year Buckeye champ.

      2. No, I have a better idea for new divisional names…Better than East and West. Better than Legends and Leaders. ..Better than Buckeyes and Pretenders….I think we should go with Day and Night. The eye test will always say the difference between a Buckeye and everyone else in the BigTen is like a difference between DAY and night. Also, did you ever notice naming this entire charades the BigTen is a lie? We should have known they would lie to us again when they couldn’t even count the actual number of teams in the conference. It’s FOURTEEN you bunch of stupid liars! The DAY Division of one…and the Night division of 13 sloppy misfits always in the dark.

        Maybe go with Winners and Wieners. OSU always the winner. Rest are wieners made from the scrap of the pigskin.

  6. I apologize if this has already been commented. IU played 3 more games than OSU, and won all 3. There is no guarantee that OSU would have won 2 out of those 3 games. Does the rule make sense from that perspective? I don’t think one should say they are the best team in the East when they haven’t played the same number of games.

    1. IU played two more games than OSU and beat them head to head. No one is arguing that they aren’t the best team.

        1. That game came down to a couple of mistakes and a lot of uncalled holds. It very much could have gone either way. And it was AT OSU. A neutral court game would be a fair outcome.

  7. Those who make big salaries should have more competence than those who make minimum wage….but so often they don’t.

  8. BD, it is clear you don’t read post accurately and don’t make sense yourself. I even stated OSU on the field proved they were the best team but that the B1G didn’t want to follow the rules they established and every team was following. It is nothing to do with being hurt because IU isn’t in the championship game but about the B1G presidents and leaders established the rule and didn’t follow it.

    1. V, if OSU played one more game and lost, they’d still be in the championship game. Not sure how you don’t see that. Why would you continue to impose a rule, even an ill conceived one, that’s no longer applicable? It makes no sense.

      1. BD following the rule can be seen as not fair under the circumstances but by overriding their own rule B1G opens themselves up to consequences they can’t anticipate. I think the B1G blew it by not imposing restrictions on MSU and PSU for their sexual scandals letting the NCAA choose the restriction instead.

        In the rush to expand, membership in the B1G really doesn’t mean much any more except the prestige of national sports programs.

        1. What negative consequences to you think will occur due to this? And what punishment would the BiG have given PSU or MSU that wasn’t given in both criminal and civil court? The perpetrators are in prison for life. Administrators who had any tie to those people were fired from their long held jobs, and their careers were ruined, often when there wasn’t any evidence they did anything wrong. Both schools paid enormous fines, loss of revenues, incurred massive expense and suffered huge hits to their reputations. What would the BiG do that wasn’t done. As for expansion, had the BiG not done it, every other conference would’ve anyway, and the revenues that came from the BTN would’ve been a fraction of what it is now. So, no North End Zone project, No South End Zone Project, no massive expansion of other IU sports facilities. And we wouldn’t be arguing about whether IU should be in a football championship game.

          1. This is simply a pile of BS. There are a number of people who were involved in Nassar’s scandal that still work at MSU and there are way more at PSU that got no sanction. I knew Larry back in the day and he was a charming guy – in fact, when this all came out I spent days freaking out about something a kid told me 25 years ago that I definitely didn’t follow up on how I should have. Ohio State still hasn’t punished the people involved in their wrestling scandal from back when I was in high school (heck, one of the most notorious people involved according to the guys on the team is a US Congressman). You are far too kind to the BIG and they have been screwing IU in a number of ways for decades.

          2. Hell yes, Buckeyes pass an eye test. Damn “eye” is in their name. Of course, the nut off the tree can’t see a damn thing but it still passes the test of looking sort of like an eye.

          3. A buckeye is more nut-like…Technically, it’s a seed. No lie! …It’s a higher seed…up in a tree. Looks like a chestnut..Sort of a reddish brown like the color of a football. They are poisonous.

  9. In order to determine who the best Big Ten team is, they should have to play the same number of games, or at the very least, the minimum number of games. What if OSU’s great QB gets hurt in the first minute of game six and they lose that game. Then they lose the next game too. At 5-2, is OSU still the best team in the conference because they beat IU head-to-head? Of course not! The games aren’t played on paper, they’re played on the field, where they have real consequences, like injuries to key players. OSU had lots of time to rest between games this season and a reduced risk of injury to key players because they played two fewer games. IU played seven games in a row without a break. If IU would have had a week off before playing OSU in Columbus, would the outcome have been different? Perhaps! OSU didn’t have to overcome the same challenges this season and yet they’re being ushering into the Conference Championship. And as everyone knows, it’s simply because of money. They won’t be legitimate 2020 Big Ten Champions no matter what anybody tells me.

    1. Yet no one would’ve considered IU as legitimate champions had they played in and won the championship game. And I could easily argue that OSU’s chopped up season, with fewer games and far fewer practices, was far more a hinderance than IUs schedule of playing 7 games on a row.

  10. One of the Ohio State sites (I believe before the OS championship decision) was making noise they should join Notre Dame going independent next year. I would think too much $$ involved for that move? But could that topic just being voiced be enough to encourage B1G to drop the number of games rule?

  11. I knew a guy who liked to say that IU would never have a great football team for three reasons: Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.

    I replied that it is those three reasons that are the road to a national championship if IU ever gets a decent team.

    That this is not the year was determined when IU lost to Ohio State. Given that lost, the present situation was predictable (I’m pretty sure several people here did predict it.)

    IU kind of kicked the door in this year, but that is insufficient. They need to kick it in and off its hinges trampling over it as they take the Big Ten crown.

    This has been a great year, but they need to win whatever games they have left to make this year really special. If they lose in the crossover and then in a bowl, suddenly this year is quite a disappointment.

    Either way, I have no doubt that Allen will not let up and I look forward to watching IU football trample over that door.

  12. The biggest issue I see is because we didn’t move up in the CFP rankings it opens the door to being left out of the New Years 6 games. Just another slap in the face of a “Non-Blue Blood” program. But I agree with those that said it will rankle this team all the more.

  13. I know how we can settle this…Let’s just beat the living sh__ out of OSU in hoops this season. The pressure shifts to you, Archie. We’ve been labeled a pandemic pushover in football…Can you legitimize us in a bubbled up game of basketball? Please do because if there is anyone I can’t stand more than that shifty-eyed Ryan Day, it’s Chris Holtmann.

  14. Warren messed this up from the get go. However, the problem isn’t that IU isn’t playing for the conference title,..it’s the unbelievably low #12 CFP placement. There is absolutely no justification for this. Iowa’s Gary Barta is covering for Iowa State with 2 losses, one by 17 points by a Sun Belt team. If you want to potentially influence that situation, contact his office like I did. gary-barta@uiowa.edu

      1. All I know is that if Iowa State’s resume
        puts them where they are, then IU needs to be in the top 4. ESPN panel (no thanks to Herbstreit) has ABSOLUTELY, PURPOSEFULLY and TOTALLY ignored IU. He’s excited over Coastal Carolina and bemoaning the PAC 12 being overlooked.

      2. Why did Michigan vote for Pittsburgh entering the B1G and against Michigan State? All we know is this,..he is the committee chairman and IU’s placement is 4 spots where the AP has them.

        1. Michigan voted against MSU entering the Big Ten in 1949? If you say so. But that’s the one and only membership vote taken in history concerning MSU’s membership in the conference. As for Pittsburgh, they would’ve immediately been interested in joining the conference had there ever been interest expressed by the conference in them. No invitation was ever extended.

          IU not being higher in the rankings stink, but there’s zero proof they’re being intentionally snubbed. Have heard some people say that, but it’s nuts.

  15. A Wisconsin win at Iowa will move the Badgers back into the CFP top 25 which in turn should bump IU up a couple of spots. We’ll see.

  16. Well boys,..ESPN just posted on their pre game show all 6 BCS bowls. Guess who’s missing? I suggest you do whatever. This is absurd.

  17. That’s been going on for a few days. Great opportunity for him. Good luck to KW. May take a coach or two with him.

  18. Yeah, get with it, Clarion. Old news. News travels to you like mail traveled Pony Express. I know you still like horses and buggies, but look at something other than the LaPorte Cornfield Times once in a while. Even those not “in the know” knew this was going on for a few days now. One up…One up…One up. Talk down…talk down…talk down. Me…me…me. Nobody knows more than me.

    1. I think we can all agree that everyone knows more than you. That’s why you’re known as a pragmatic prevaricator.

  19. BD, how can you say there is “no proof” that IU is being snubbed? There are two teams in the FBS that have defeated three ranked teams this season, one is Alabama and the other is IU. That alone, and the fact that IU lost to the third ranked OSU in Columbus by only 7 points, is all the proof you need. What kind of proof would you expect to get, transcripts from FBI wire taps? The snub is self evident!

    1. None of those teams are ranked currently. You and I may think they should be ranked higher, but there’s zero proof that there’s any purposeful effort to under rank them. It’s crazy talk.

  20. MORE BAD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Top 10 Miami is down 31-3 to unranked UNC half way through the 2nd quarter. Looks like we will drop at least two more spots in the CFP rankings.

  21. IU not playing this weekend. Another reason for dropping in the rankings. We may not be in the top 20 after the weekend.

  22. We should opt out of any bowl consideration before they snub us.
    I believe there’s much speculation that many teams will opt out of bowl invites. Do we really want to be coming off the bench to fill in for a team that opted out of a bowl? We’re already chopped liver…Why make it more so?

  23. Iowa leading unranked Wisconsin. Iowa to top 10 Wisconsin is now good so up to 25 in losing. IU has all wins taken away from them.

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