Media continues to be hypocritical on FCS non-conference scheduling

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The Big Ten has been in the news recently regarding changes to their schedule. As they look to increase the number of conference games, the conference looks to also be eliminating FCS non-conference games from the schedule. I dislike FCS games as much as the next guy, but the way that this issue is covered in the media today is irritating.

A recent post on the Dr Saturday blog is a prime example:

One of the lamentable things about college football is the lack of good non-conference games. There’s some, but most teams seem content to play a weak schedule to ensure bowl eligibility and a bump in the rankings before league play.

That is a great step, and hopefully other conferences (and by “other conferences” we mostly mean you, SEC) stop the practice of wasting a precious Saturday afternoon in the fall on FCS opponents. The FCS teams benefit with a large payday, and that’s great for the bean counters at those schools. It’s not good for anyone else.

It stinks for the season-ticket holders that have to pay for a sham of a game. It’s nothing worth watching on television. The FBS team has nothing to gain, because a win is expected but a loss goes down in infamy. And while the FCS team will get enough money to build a new weight room, the most common result is getting pounded by 40 or 50 points, which can’t be that enjoyable for those players.

Some Big Ten-Sun Belt game in September might not be a ratings bonanza either, but at least it’s better than a parade of FCS opponents.

What I find fascinating is how the same members of the media complain about FCS games also complain about teams getting left out of the BCS. As we’ve discussed before, these games are crucial for these small football programs to even exist. It’s not just a matter of funding a new weight room; rather, it’s a matter of funding an athletic program.

These cupcake games are going to decrease, and it will shrink the sport of college football and further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots in college football.

The other party that gets crushed in this equation is the local business owner in major college football towns. The extra home game is crucial to their business, and as conference games increase, many teams will lose that extra home game. The schools will still take in the money via television contracts, but that money won’t trickle down into local businesses without the 80,000 fans that come out on Saturday.

With the decade-long crusade against the BCS complete, the media seems intent on finding other controversies to fuel. The “FCS scheduling” controversy is also accelerated by the perception that the SEC is the main culprit of cupcake scheduling (as shown in the above excerpt). For many writers, a chance to poke at the SEC is too tempting not to take. The reality is that there’s hardly a difference between a bottom feeder division 1 school and an FCS team. They still get crushed by 40 points against any legit powerhouse.

Many members of the sports media believe it is their role of ensuring college football moves toward an NFL-like scheduling system. Schools and conferences shouldn’t be free to schedule as they wish, but instead some all-powerful individual or committee should be scheduling everything for the schools. The reality is that college football scheduling works because of its de-centralized nature. Schools that want another home game can get it, and schools that want to get paid to travel to Gainesville, FL can do so as well. If a team gets penalized in the polls for it, then that is for them to worry about.

The idea that the SEC schedules weak non-conference games more than the rest of the country is debatable at best. Even if it were true, does it matter? I’m pretty sure the SEC representatives in the BCS Championship the last seven years have handled themselves well on the field of play against the opponent.

We will be diving into this and many more issues in our upcoming future of scheduling report. Stay tuned…

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COMMENTS

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  • Our OOC games really easy because our conference games are so hard. And Georgia Southern’s triple option is no laughing matter!

  • “What I find fascinating is how the same members of the media complain about FCS games also complain about teams getting left out of the BCS.”

    I fail to see how these are related. What does complaining about weak OOC schedules have to do with complaining about teams being let out of the BCS?? If anything, the new playoff structure should discourage weak OOC scheduling by hopefully selecting a team(s) that has a worse record (due to a OOC loss vs a good team) vs a team(s) with fewer losses who played cupcakes.

    Additionally you say that eliminating OOC games vs FCS opponents “further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots in college football.” I assume that by the “have-nots” you are not referring to the FCS schools but instead non-AQ FBS schools. Again, I’m confused here. How does Ohio State playing Cal, San Diego St, Buffalo and say NC State (instead of Florida A&M) “further widen the gap between the haves & the have-nots”?? I don’t see the connection.

    “Many members of the sports media believe it is their role of ensuring college football moves toward an NFL-like scheduling system.”

    Who has ever said that? Seriously, can you name one national media CFB writer who has suggested that?

    • I’ve seen that suggestion quite a few times. It sounds as though you’re more intent on trying to pick at Kevin instead of disputing his arguments. You failed to make one argument against anything he wrote.

  • Thank you Kevin !! It’s about time someone make sense out of this.

  • I’m glad writers like you still have some common sense even if you’re a jean short wearing Gator. Teams like Georgia southern, the dakotas, the montanas, app st., and many others who can compete with fbs teams will lose this opportunity. Believe it or not, Georgia learned to play better against Georgia southerns triple option than Georgia techs. Any fcs team that ever wants into the fbs needs these big games. As for your connection about the same media that complains about the bcs being unfair then going against fcs teams to compete, you’re absolutely right. That doesn’t make sense especially after bottom feeder teams like Louisville and n Illinois this year. Who is the big ten to say they can bar the right of schools to give opportunity to other lower level schools.