Despite a 6-1 record and a No. 11 ranking in the College Football Playoff poll, Indiana will not play in one of the prestigious New Year's Six bowl games this season.
The Hoosiers, who are ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll, are likely headed for the Outback Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 1, although no matchup has been finalized yet. Northwestern will play in the Citrus Bowl against Auburn in the Big Ten's other tied-in bowl game.
Indiana was left out of the New Year's Six – which includes the College Football Playoff semifinals and the sport's other major bowls, the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange and Peach – in favor of several teams with multiple losses, including Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida and Iowa State.
The Cyclones, who finished 8-3 and lost the Big 12 Championship Game to Oklahoma on Saturday, were the team that ultimately bumped the Hoosiers from the bigger bowl games, as the committee ranked coach Matt Campbell's group No. 10, one spot ahead of Indiana. Iowa State will face No. 25 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks made the New Year's Six by virtue of their Pac-12 Championship Game victory over USC, despite finishing the season 4-2.
According to CFP Committee chairman Gary Barta, the athletic director at Iowa, Iowa State's earlier victory over Oklahoma, plus a win over Texas, were the deciding factors in choosing the Cyclones over the Hoosiers.
"We had a long discussion about who earned their way into that top 10," Barta said on ESPN in explaining the decision. "(Indiana) didn't have the quality of wins Iowa State had."
The Cyclones have lost games this season to the Sooners, No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Louisiana.
Indiana players were upset with the decision to be left out of one of the larger bowls.
"This is comical... I love the lack of respect," defensive lineman Jovan Swann tweeted. "Regardless, we will stay in our lane and on our grind."
"Something in the CFP system has to change because you really can’t justify us not being in the NY6 over most of these teams," offensive lineman Dylan Powell added. "Multiple 3 loss teams and some with terrible losses in front of us? Makes a ton of sense"
Cornerback Tiawan Mullen was more succinct than some of his teammates.
"Are they serious right now?" Mullen tweeted.
Coach Tom Allen repeated the phrase that he has used all season to keep his team focused on the next game, even as the Hoosiers climbed higher in the rankings than they have in 50 years.
"EARMUFFS AND BLINDERS!!!!!" Allen wrote. "I Love this TEAM....you have no idea!!!!"
Indiana will likely learn its bowl fate later this afternoon or early tomorrow.