Purdue And Future Bowl Games: Where Six Wins Is Not Enough

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 12: Akeem Shavers #24 of the Purdue Boilermakers rushes for a 4-yard touchdown in the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ross-Ade Stadium on November 12, 2011 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue defeated Ohio State 26-23 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

In 2002 and 2011 Purdue got very lucky. A 6-6 season that included a blowout win over an overmatched 1-AA team led to the postseason. Well, that's not going to be enough if Jim Delaney has his way, especially after a record 10 teams (minus Minnesota and Indiana) reached a bowl game this past year, the Big Ten will soon require seven wins to reach a bowl game, and there will likely be fewer bowls as a result.

Personally, I like this rule a lot. There are already too many bowls and no rules preventing a team from scheduling four bad to mediocre non-conference games and praying for two conference wins. At least with Purdue, we won four conference games last year and played a real non-conference team in Notre Dame.

There is little question it would have had an effect on last season. In addition to Purdue, Ohio State, Illinois, and Northwestern would have been home for the winter. With Michigan taking a second BCS bid as well, three Big Ten bowls would have been left without a representative.

Under this new rule we would have been saved from the epic cripple fight of the Kraft Hunger Bowl, which should have been played on the deck of a submarine unlike the Michigan State-North Carolina game on an aircraft carrier.

Other teams nationally that went to a bowl last season at 6-6 (or worse, in UCLA's case) were Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Air Force, Arizona State, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Florida.

There is no definite date on when the new regulations would kick in, but given that the current bowl contracts expire of the 2013 season, my guess would be 2014. Let's take a look at what the Boilers would have to do given out future schedules:

2014

Aug. 30 - TBA
Sept. 6 - CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Sept. 13 - at Notre Dame
Sept. 20 - SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
Oct. 4- at Ohio State*
Oct. 11 - WISCONSIN*
Oct. 25 - at Iowa
Nov. 1 - PENN STATE*
Nov. 8 - MICHIGAN STATE
Nov. 15 - at Illinois*
Nov. 22 - at Nebraska
Nov. 29 - INDIANA*
* denotes Leaders Division Game

It is pretty safe to say that the open date here is going to be filled by a squishy soft team unless it is the home portion of a future home and home. I think that was the original plan with Oklahoma State before everything went haywire. This is a pretty brutal schedule too. Central Michigan and Southern Illinois should be wins, and if we feel like we can't beat Indiana every year we shouldn't bother fielding a football program. Where are the other four wins? Getting Nebraska and Michigan State from the Legends Division does not help.

2015

Sept. 5 - at Marshall
Sept. 12 - INDIANA STATE
Sept. 19 - NOTRE DAME
Sept. 26 - BOWLING GREEN

No Big Ten schedule yet

The Big Ten schedule has not been finalized that year, but we know it will have Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Northwestern is also a safe bet, because by this point the Wildcats will have been off the schedule for four years. This also could be the first year of a nine game conference schedule, likely bumping Indiana State off in place of said ninth Big Ten opponent. The trip to Marshall should be manageable (unless delayed like the Rice trip), but until we decide we want to actually compete with Notre Dame again we'll always start the conference season with a strike against us.

Also, don't forget that the Big Ten-Pac 12 scheduling agreement will be kicking in around this time, where we will likely have a Pac-12 team on the schedule every year. Our track record against everyone not named Arizona in that conference is not good.

2016

Sept. 3 - CINCINNATI
TBA - at Notre Dame

No Big Ten schedule yet

This has two open dates, one likely filled with a Pac-12 team and another that will be solid MACtion. It will probably be our toughest schedule yet.

So far, 2016 is the only schedule that we have someone other than Notre Dame listed. The series with the Fighting Irish runs through 2021 as of right now. Given the strong likelihood that the Big Ten will either through a Pac-12 team on our schedule or an additional conference game (and maybe both) the seven-win qualification will make it difficult to make a bowl game in some years unless we see significant improvement. The plus side is that it may force the hand of the program to get better rather than settle for the Motor City bowls of college football.

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