A lot of Indiana University football fans feel that their team should have played in the Big Ten championship game. Regardless of what anyone feels about the chain of events that put the Hoosiers in the Outback Bowl, the odds for the team’s bowl appearance are favorable.
With over a week to go before the game against Mississippi, Indiana sportsbooks have the Hoosiers as a near-touchdown favorite.
Placing some winning bets might quell the angst IU fans are feeling right now.
What could have been for the Indiana bowl game
There are two indisputable facts fueling Indiana supporters’ fire. First, according to the Big Ten’s rules set at the beginning of the 2020 season, the Ohio State Buckeyes didn’t play enough games to qualify for the Big Ten title contest.
The other fact is that 11th-ranked IU did play enough games to qualify and was a touchdown away from going undefeated. That one seven-point loss, however, was at the hands of Ohio State.
The Buckeyes won all five of their regular-season games. After the regular season, Big Ten athletic directors voted to change the conference championship game eligibility rules. That put Ohio State in the title tilt instead of Indiana.
The Buckeyes dispatched the Northwestern Wildcats in that game. Then, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee put them in the Sugar Bowl. That’s one of two national semifinals set for New Year’s Day.
While many IU fans have beef about the Big Ten changing the rules, had IU beat Ohio State head-to-head, the story would be completely different.
Additionally, there’s no guarantee that the Hoosiers would have beat Northwestern in the championship game.
Whether the athletic directors’ decision was ultimately right or wrong, the reality for Indiana bettors is now the Outback Bowl.
Betting the Outback Bowl? Here’s what you need to know
Indiana faces Ole Miss on Saturday, Jan. 2. The game is set for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m. ET and ABC will broadcast the game.
Mississippi went 4-5 during its season, including two losses to teams that finished in the top 25 of the final CFP rankings. This is the first time that the Hoosiers have had Ole Miss on their schedule.
Indiana’s status as a considerable favorite in this game is borne out in the statistics. Ole Miss gave up more points per game on average than all but five other D1 FBS teams, for example.
By contrast, the Hoosiers’ 19.7 points allowed per game ranked 18th in the same grouping. IU forced 18 turnovers in its seven games, while Mississippi collected 11 in its nine contests.
Currently, Indiana is a near-touchdown favorite against Mississippi.
When looking at all 16 games that these two teams played this season, the over hit in 10 of those contests. With a consensus total of 66.5 points, the over looks good for this contest as well.
While the OutBack Bowl may not be the game that Hoosier fans feel they deserve, it’s the game they have. Moreover, it could be the Hoosiers’ chance to prove that they should have made the Big Ten title game and a New Year’s Six Bowl with a strong performance.