For every Appalachian State-Michigan game that does college football’s heart good, there are dozens of Savannah State-(Oklahoma State, 84-0)(Florida State, 55-0) artery-clogging debacles that are yearly embarrassments to the sport.
For its part, one conference has decided to take the necessary steps to end the “ridiculous” and “not very appealing” scheduling of FCS football programs for what amounts to nothing more than in-season scrimmages.
During his monthly radio show Tuesday night, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told WIBA-AM his counterparts in the Big Ten have reached an agreement to stop scheduling games against FCS programs. While such a move likely means the conference will load up on even more MAC-like teams, it’s a step in the right direction for the sport.
“The nonconference schedule in our league is ridiculous,” Alvarez said by way of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “It’s not very appealing. …
“So we’ve made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools.”
(Your move, SEC)
It’s not exactly clear when this agreement will go into effect — the Badgers will host FCS-level Tennessee Tech the second week of the season — although the Journal-Sentinel writes that “the likely starting point would be the 2014 season, when Maryland and Rutgers are set to join the Big Ten.”
The biggest issue as far as not scheduling future games against FCS programs is the fact that the conference already has a plethora of future games scheduled against FCS programs. In fact, just one B1G member — Penn State — has no future games scheduled against lower-level programs. Michigan (App. St., 2014), Ohio State (Florida A&M, 2013) and Wisconsin (Tennessee Tech, 2013) are the only members with one such game on their future schedules.
Iowa, future member Maryland, Minnesota and Northwestern all have one FCS program scheduled every year through 2016, while Illinois, Purdue and Rutgers have one scheduled for each of the next three years. Michigan State is slated to play an FCS team once in three of the next four years.
The move to eliminate future games against FCS teams comes at the same time as the Big Ten is looking to move to nine (probable) or 10 (unlikely) conference games. It also comes ahead of the implementation of a playoff system to determine a national champion, which will presumably take into account strength of schedule when setting the four-team (for now) field.