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Oklahoma State's 84-point victory should set the stage for a new scheduling rule

Football Bowl Subdivision teams like OU and OSU should not be allowed to play Football Championship Subdivision squads like Savannah State and Florida A&M.
by Jenni Carlson Published: September 3, 2012

It ceased to be relevant less than half an hour after the game?

Um, OK.

Sooner coach Bob Stoops got testy, too, during his weekly press conference Monday when asked about how he manages the game against an outmatched opponent.

“I don't even think of things like that going into a game,” he said. “To me, it's all about us and making improvement, being sharper. That's all I think about.”

But after what happened Saturday in Stillwater ...

“I wasn't in Stillwater,” Stoops said curtly. “I've got nothing to do with that.”

Listen, I realize why these matchups happened. Both schools got desperate. Conference realignment left them short non-conference games, and they had to scramble to find opponents. There are lots of moving parts when it comes to non-conference scheduling, everything from having open dates that match to agreeing on the payout amount. And when neither school could strike a deal with an FBS team, they went looking for an FCS team.

I understand the mechanics of the situation.

That doesn't make the reality any better.

Perhaps college football's move to a four-team playoff will change things. Right now, we have a system that rewards perfection. It doesn't mind all that much what teams you play in the non-conference as long as you beat them. But with the new system, a team won't have to be undefeated to make it into the playoff.

What's more, strength of schedule could actually be the difference between being a playoff team and being left out. Teams might be encouraged to schedule tougher non-conference games because of that.

Games against teams like Savannah State and Florida A&M might be eliminated naturally.

But in case that doesn't happen, let's ban them anyway.

If anyone is worried that this change would drive up the cost of payouts, place a cap on how much any school can pay or receive. Put it at $2 million or so. That would allow the powder puffs to receive a nice payday or two but would protect the powerhouses from facing a bidding war.

Yes, this is a lot of regulation on scheduling, and frankly, college sports has too many rules as it is.

I mean, have you seen the size of the NCAA handbook?

But clearly, non-conference scheduling needs a moral compass. Schools have long been left to their own devices, and now, we find ourselves watching games that are as lopsided as Tulsa Union High vs. Taft Middle School would be.

The madness needs to stop, and banning games against lower-division teams is the only way to make sure it does.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or at jcarlson@opubco.com. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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