Indiana went to Wisconsin as a two-touchdown underdog on Saturday and mostly dominated the Badgers, coming away with a 14-6 win. The Hoosiers entered the game 12th in the College Football Playoff rankings and left at 6-1 with their only defeat coming in a close road loss against No. 4 Ohio State. Surely the Hoosiers were bound to make a jump in this week's rankings, right? Wrong.
When Tuesday's rankings were revealed the Hoosiers were stuck in the mud at 12th, despite having defied critics all season. They weren't supposed to beat Penn State (they did), they had no chance against Michigan (they smoked the Wolverines by 17), they were going to stumble at Michigan State (24-0 blowout), and Wisconsin was supposed to be too strong for them. Every step of the way, Indiana has shown it can play with anyone, even with starting quarterback Michael Penix sidelined for the season.
It's absurd at this point. Indiana went to Columbus and lost to Ohio State 42-35 in a game the Hoosiers easily could have won. They stood toe-to-toe and traded shots with one of the nation's best teams. A seven-point road loss to a team currently in the playoff is all that stands between the Hoosiers and an undefeated season. Yet there they are, outside the top 10 in the CFP rankings behind three teams with two losses.
Iowa State is 7-2 and currently in seventh place. The Cyclones got beat up at home by Louisiana 31-14 and lost to No. 22 Oklahoma State. Both of those defeats are worse than Indiana's. Iowa State's big wins came against a bad Texas team and against two-loss Oklahoma. I love Matt Campbell as a head coach, but there's no reason for his team to be ranked in the top 10 right now.
Georgia is 6-2 and currently ranked ninth. The Bulldogs don't have a win over a team currently ranked in the top 25 and were dominated by both Alabama (41-24) and Florida (44-28). Neither of those games was as close as the score would indicate. If the Bulldogs played in any other conference they would be sitting outside the top 10.
Much was expected of Oklahoma coming into the season, but the Sooners currently sit at 7-2 in 11th, one spot ahead of Indiana. The Sooners lost at home to 4-6 Kansas State and followed that up by losing at Iowa State. Since then their only win of note came over a three-loss Oklahoma State team. They have a terrible loss and haven't balanced that out with any truly great wins.
None of those three teams has the resume to support being ranked above Indiana right now. Yes, the Big Ten is down this year, but the Hoosiers can only beat the teams put in front of them. They've done that with the exception of a close road loss against a loaded Ohio State team. What more do you want them to do to earn your respect?
Indiana head coach Tom Allen has built something special in Bloomington this season. He should be the near-unanimous choice for National Coach of the Year. Despite win after unexpected win the Hoosiers are still being underestimated. They've proven they belong on the field this season. They didn't have the benefit of the preseason hype those two-loss teams ahead of them did, they climbed the rankings by winning games they weren't supposed to.
If a one-loss Indiana team doesn't wind up in a New Year's Six bowl game the entire rankings system needs to be blown up and built from scratch again. It would be an absolute travesty.