After going to New York City last year, the Hoosiers will head west this year.
Despite a push on social media for the Hoosiers to go to the Music City Bowl, Indiana has accepted a bid to play 19th-ranked Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl, held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, which is about an hour outside San Francisco.
This will be the first game for new Indiana head coach Tom Allen in his new role, after he was promoted on Thursday in the aftermath of Kevin Wilson’s dismissal. Regardless of bowl game result, Allen will be back on the IU sideline as head coach for the team in 2017, as he signed a six-year contract on Thursday to take over permanently for Wilson.
This is also the second straight season that Indiana will be a bowl game for the first time in 25 years, which is a nice achievement for a program that has spent too much time in the Big Ten cellar and plays in a very tough East division that has produced the last 4 conference champions, including Penn State last night.
This game also features a Pac-12 tie-in, so Indiana will be facing off against a Top-20 Utah team. Kyle Whittingham’s Utes were squarely in the Playoff race with two weeks left in the season, before dropping their final two contests to Oregon and Pac-12 South champions Colorado by a combined 8 points. They also had a near miss against playoff-bound Washington, dropping that contest at home by a single score -- for three losses in their last four overall.
It’ll be a prime opportunity for Tom Allen to make his coaching debut and propel a Hoosier team that is set to return nearly everyone into 2017 -- in what should be a winnable game against a ranked, respected opponent. Per S&P+, Indiana will have an edge in three of the five facets of the game — when throwing the ball & and when defending the run and pass when Utah has the ball.
The Foster Farms Bowl will take place on Wednesday, December 28 at 8:30pm EST. It will air on Fox, with Gus Johnson doing play-by-play. If you watched the B1G title game last night or practically any college basketball game with a crazy ending, you’ll recognize Gus Johnson’s voice. He’ll make the game an entertaining one to view on TV if you can’t make it to Santa Clara.
Indiana & Utah last met in Salt Lake City in 2002, when the Utes blasted Gerry DiNardo’s Hoosiers 40-13 in his first game against FBS competition at Indiana.