Indiana needs to make bowl games.
This is no secret, given that the Hoosiers have gone bowling just once since 1993, despite an increasingly easier postseason landscape (more bowls, only six wins needed to go).
One way schools can help clear a path to the postseason is by nonconference scheduling. They take up residence in cupcake city, and have non-league slates like Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, Akron and Virginia; or Towson, Western Kentucky, Akron and Arkansas State.
Those were Indiana's nonconference schedules from the past two seasons. Where did they get the Hoosiers? Nowhere.
Big Ten teams still need some type of adequate preparation before the league gauntlet arrives. And better nonconference games are more appealing to fans and can help ticket sales.
That's why it's good to see Indiana take steps to improve its nonconference schedules during the next few seasons.
IU on Wednesday announced its complete schedules for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, including a revised schedule for 2012, as well as several nonconference opponents for 2015-2017. Indiana's future opponents include Navy (2012-13), Missouri (2013-14), Wake Forest (2015-16) and South Florida (2015-16).
"Releasing future football schedules gives our fans time to plan for football weekends here in Bloomington and even for road games," Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement. "Scheduling high quality non-conference national opponents like Navy, Missouri, Wake Forest, South Florida and Virginia, and high quality in-state non-conference opponents such as Ball State and Indiana State to go along with our home Big Ten schedule, will bring football to Memorial Stadium that our fans want to see. We hope our fans will come experience the excitement of great college football in Bloomington."
Although Missouri and South Florida aren't Alabama and Texas, these teams certainly are upgrades from what Indiana has been facing the past few Septembers.
Glass has helped Indiana boost football attendance during his short tenure as AD, and these additions should help.
The Hoosiers now must upgrade their play on the field, and they reportedly took a big step toward doing so on the recruiting trail Wednesday.
Here's a look at Indiana's future nonconference opponents:
Sept. 1: Indiana State
Sept. 8: at Massachusetts
Sept. 15: Ball State
Oct. 20: at Navy
Aug. 31: Indiana State
Sept. 7: Navy
Sept. 14: Bowling Green
Sept. 21: Missouri
Aug. 31: Indiana State
Sept. 13: at Bowling Green
Sept. 20: at Missouri
Oct. 4: North Texas
Home-and-home series with Wake Forest and South Florida