Tom Allen Views New Big Ten Schedule as Chance to Make History
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Tom Allen hasn't had time to digest it yet.
Indiana's 10-game conference schedule was released Wednesday morning, and when Allen joined the Big Ten Network to discuss everything, all he had was a glance. He didn't even have his print out copy yet.
But Allen didn't need to look at it long to recognize one thing. This 10-game conference schedule allows the Hoosiers an opportunity at something that has never been done before.
"I look at it as we’re all about making history at Indiana," Allen said. "I see this schedule and I see, you know what, this is going to give us a chance to win more conference games than Indiana has ever won in the history of this program."
A normal college football schedule features nine conference games with three nonconference games in the regular season. But after the nonconference games were cut due to COVID-19, the Big Ten added a conference game to each team's schedule.
For Indiana, the tenth team that was added was Minnesota. The Hoosiers will travel to play the Gophers on Oct. 10. The first game is still scheduled for a Friday night at Wisconsin on Sept. 4.
"Obviously it’s a challenge, but I see it as a great opportunity," Allen said. "It’s difficult. The Big Ten is a great conference, a lot of really good football teams."
Indiana will still play its final game of the season against Purdue, just like they always do. A few rivalry games, such as Ohio State versus Michigan, were moved up in the schedule to late October.
Allen is happy they were able to keep that last weekend of the regular season against Purdue.
"Well that was excited for me to see. It could’ve been anywhere," Allen said. "That’s such a great game for us to play because we were really fortunate enough to win that game last year. We know how much that means to our state and our players."
In Allen's first two seasons at Indiana, the Purdue game was the determining factor to see which team would advance to a bowl game. Last season, Indiana had already clinched a bowl game, but the Hoosiers won a thrilling 44-41 double OT game against the Boilers to get their eighth win, which was the most regular season wins in 26 years.
The Hoosiers went 5-4 last season in the gauntlet that is Big Ten play, and this season won't be any easier without three nonconference games to boost their record.
But Indiana has momentum and a young roster that is hungry after not being able to close out the Gator Bowl against Tennessee, losing 23-22.
So once Allen finally gets a print out of his Big Ten schedule and look at it closely, he'll have a better understanding of what his team needs to do. But no matter what, his goal to make history this season will remain the same.
"So that’s our objective and that’s how we’re going to approach it," Allen said. "We had a team last year that did some good things and had a good season, but that was the beginning."