Emails in on centralized scheduling for college football
The new emails are in, and readers are parading me through the streets. They loved my idea to create minimum scheduling requirements in college football.
Let’s start with Kent: “OU playing Idaho State, OSU playing Grambling, Texas playing Louisiana-Monroe, it’s a flatout joke. As much as tickets cost, I don’t see how anyone could enjoy a game like Idaho State. I stayed home and I’ve missed less than 10 home games since 1972. I even sat through the Blake and Gibbs years.”
I’ll never understand fans going to those games. Paying for them as part of season tickets, yes. But going to the games? Who values their time so little?
Steve, fom Wyoming, wrote: “Very well said, especially recommending that the Mountain West be involved.”
You know, some from the Mountain West thought I was their enemy earlier when I wrote that the BCS system has been very good to mid-majors. But it was true. And it’s also true that the Mountain West deserves inclusion at the BCS table.
Jim: “Your suggestion of weighting a school’s non-conference schedule is an excellent idea and might be the only way to make it work. Texas is still in denial about their weak non-conference schedule being the reason they did not play in the Big 12 or national championship game. Strength of schedule needs to be a major component in selecting the teams for BCS bowls. Without it every school will back away from going on the road to play a school from another BCS conference. If a non-BCS conference school read your article and believes it can happen, they are now in seclusion with the athletic director trying to figure out how they are going to pay the bills. The AD is trying to figure out what programs have to be cut to keep the budget balanced. Without those $800,000 paychecks from the big guys, I-AA might be history. If you think football has a problem, how about basketball? I would think you would be hard-pressed to find more than 10 schools who have full houses for preseason games against East Centrals or Binghamtons. As a matter of fact, can you find 20 programs who have full houses on midweek conference games?”
Basketball is the great example of what football must avoid. No one cares about pre-New Year’s college basketball, other than in Lawrence, Durham, Lexington and Chapel Hill. Same thing could happen to football if something isn’t done.
Scott, from Pittsburgh: “I like the plan. One other source of blame for all the mismatches — the fans. They are such frontrunners, in many cases they are willing to pay inflated prices for all these mismatches. Penn State is a great example right now in our part of the country. They have an abysmal non-conference schedule, play eight home games (including six of the first seven weeks) and fill their 100,000-plus stadium with fans every week. I am not sure I would walk across the street to see several of their games, yet people loyally trek (and it is a trek) to State College eight Saturdays a year regardless of who they play. There are certainly a lot of barriers to moving football towards better scheduling, and a little consumer demand for a quality show would help. A few empty seats might encourage a better product.”
Fans indeed hold all the power. Want a playoff? Quit watching bowl games live or on television. Want better schedules? Don’t go watch OU-Idaho State.
Brian, a Texas fan: “You are so right on the wuss way most teams (including my beloved Longhorns) schedule. I know the UT-Ohio State games were scheduled before Mack Brown got there, and while I think Stoops is a great coach who lacks in the class area, he is most willing to schedule a rough and tumble schedule. Mack Brown, not so much. I like your idea. It would in my mind make UT and all of college football better at an earlier time. USC does it that way. Ohio State and OU, too. Time for UT to step up! I had never heard of Louisiana-Monroe and thought it was the new name of the old Louisiana Tech team.”
Louisiana-Monroe is the old Northeast Louisiana. I know my Bayou schools.
Craig: “Love your scheduling idea but no way you will resolve issue quickly with that many conferences involved. What about a Big 12/SEC challenge series similar to what they have in basketball. You seed each team from both conference based on previous year performance, home and home dates, rotate every two years.”
I’m all for a challenge series; I’ve called for a Big 12/SEC/ACC challenge series, which would produce two games a year for every team. But you have to let the schools decide amongst themselves who they will play from the pool. It’s a big enough step to get them to give up that much control. You can’t expect total control.
Richard, from D.C.: “I think your proposal would do a lot to discourage the playoff idea, which I think is bad for college football and academics in general. A healthy non-conference schedule would give the ratings a little more credence and help shape the BCS finale.”
I actually think my idea is playoff-neutral. Shouldn’t affect the playoff debate much, although it certainly enhances the BCS system.
Jim: “Good thoughts. How do the small schools receive financial support? How about funding from nationwide tax on all football fans?”
Or better yet, if you can’t afford football, don’t play it.
Jim: “Good job. This is my major pet peeve. Scheduling cupcakes cheapens what is potentially the best spectator sport in America. Worst offender? Texas. They can’t seem to get enough of the Louisiana-Monroes. About the only thing I get out of it is rooting for the underdog. I still have fond memories of Appalachian State taking it to the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.”
But see, under my plan, you still have those games. I’m only calling for two of four non-conference games to be against legit foes. The other two can be cupcakes.
Josh, an OSU fan: “I liked your idea. Georgia-OSU, Miami-OU, OU-BYU, USC-Ohio State is great stuff. Bring it on. Also, the eight home games this season, for me, is a pretty large commitment. You add to that a road game (at A&M), a bowl game and possible conference championship equals an exhausting four months. I understand that no one is forcing me to do that, but hey I am a fan I’ll do what I got to do, but put me in the ‘I prefer 6 home games’ category. Also if we are going to fix college football, how about trimming the fat from division I-A. Tulane, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and San Jose State need to drop down a level. How about reducing scholarships to 80 or 75, so we can get some real parity? As a fan of a team who is not in the college football cartel of Oklahoma, Texas, USC, etc, it would be nice to see some new teams win the championship once in a while. The last team to win its first national championship was Florida in 1996. They have now won thrice. The last team to even play for its first title was Virginia Tech in 1999.”
Well, there’s a problem. Trim scholarships and create more parity, and you’ve empowered Tulane, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and San Jose State. Hard to make them better, then tell them they have to go down a class.
George: “I know we won’t have a college football playoff system soon. However, since you and others believe that the regular season works as some kind of a playoff. I think you can add a little wrinkle and make it more fair or legit. I think if during the season, say after five or six games, every top two or three teams of each conference are told beforehand to have an open date. A committee of experts would match those aforementioned teams against each other (say Texas would play BYU and Alabama would play Boise State). May have two designated open dates during the season, better in the middle of the season instead of the beginning to have a better measure of team’s strength. After that process, I believe at the end of the season, pollsters can have a better perspective of who really is deserving to compete for BCS bowls and national championship. This makes the regular season more like a playoff process.”
Well, that’s a swell idea, but it has no hope of working. College football is a huge campus event, with all kinds of activities planned months in advance. You can’t go adding games in mid-stream.
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