Blog Entry

Will 9-game conference schedules affect FCS?

Posted on: September 9, 2010 3:49 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most immediately evident by-products of college football's switch to a 12-game regular season in the FBS is the proliferation of the FCS non-conference game as a legitimate scheduling tactic. It's been a greatly beneficial development for all programs involved: mediocre teams get a nearly automatic W en route to six wins, elite teams get glorified scrimmages to help tune up for the regular season, and FCS teams get giant payouts that are critical for investing in their programs. It's probably no coincidence that the gradual strengthening of FCS programs over the last 10 years has come as they've been readily accepted by FBS hosts for one or two games a year.

Naturally, this symbiotic relationship is something FCS programs want to preserve, as there are likely dire financial consequences if they lose their connection to the FBS. But with the Big XII going to a 9-game round robin schedule in 2011 and the Big 10 likely following suit in 2015, some FCS schools are wondering aloud if their annual beatings will come to an end:

Three Missouri Valley Football Conference teams take a step up this weekend when they go against Big Ten schools.

But those opportunities might go away in the future when the Big Ten goes to a nine-game conference schedule in coming years.

“Mathematically, that’s a possibility,” Western Illinois coach Mark Hendrickson said on Wednesday’s Valley coaches teleconference. “There may not be too many more chances for us to play those games.”

The Big Ten will have an eight-game schedule for 2011 and 2012, but there is a push to add an extra conference game. If that happens, that’s one less nonconference game to fill on schedules.

Hendrickson is technically right, as we're not about to argue the mathematical merits of "four is greater than three." But if FBS teams--especially ones in large conferences--drop one non-con game a year, it's highly unlikely that the FCS game will be the casualty. Like it or not, the SEC's comical scheduling practices have proven beyond any doubt that nobody actually cares about non-conference strength of schedule. And considering the financial consequences of an extra loss when it comes time for BCS consideration, there's far more risk than reward in making a schedule more difficult than it has to be. 

So yes, Hendrickson and other FCS athletic directors are well within reason to want FBS teams to have as many non-conference games as possible. But in reality, they shouldn't expect to see any dropoff in invitations from their FBS brethren; it's just good business.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: September 10, 2010 4:43 pm

Will 9-game conference schedules affect FCS?

SETMETHEBALL I completely agree with your setiment. The FBS schools are fleecing fans for paying for these exhibition games. Being a Big Ten Alum and Fan I can not tell you how disappointing its been to see the majority of Big 10 schools schedule down. I applaud them doing the right thing and scheduling 9 conference games in 2015. (Although I am very suspicious that will give the ADs and Football coaches plenty of time to kill the implementation.) The game to modern AD and coach is how do they get 4 meaningless non-conference games and win 2 conference games to go 6-6 and get into a bowl game so they can hail it a successful season.

One thing they need to do is to kill the preseason polls, its never made any sense to have them: college players graduate, go pro,  transfer, quit or get suspended so selecting a #1 team at the start of the season is completely abritrary. Also by starting the official polls on Oct 1st means teams who take winning the National Championship seriously would have to play meaningful games in September to compete for rankings when conference season begins. It would diametrically change how these teams schedule. 

Fan and Alums of college football need to take stand because meaningful football is now played in October/November.


Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:12 am

Will 9-game conference schedules affect FCS?

As a college football fan in general I believe the annual game against the FCS team should be phased out for another game against a top qualilty rival from another conference, or a 9th conference game.     Every year the 1A schools win about 95% of these games, congrats to Jacksonville St, but really it just makes for a glorified scrimage most of the time.    I have been complaining for years how many of the the top 10 teams in the country get away with playing such weak out of conference schedules, playing one, maybe, BCS conference school and three others smaller schools.    &nb
sp; PAC 10 schools have nine conference games and generally play tougher out of conference schedules.    Big East play 5 out of conference games. 

Any team wanting a national championship, please schedule up, pollsters make them. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or