The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Power Conference Scheduling

If you have not been paying attention, a growing number of coaches in the five power conferences would like to see those conference members schedule only teams from the other power conferences.  According to ESPN, 46% (somehow deemed a majority) of coaches favor such a proposal.  Should you?

Of course, the first issue that jumps off the page is… what about Notre Dame?  It would be difficult to envision the power conference leaving out Notre Dame, with or without its quasi-football membership in the ACC.  So there is an exception.

Notre Dame, of course, must play Navy.  So Brian Kelly was opposed to this proposal.  Also, 65 teams is an odd number.  Can this even be done mathematically?

If you follow the Confidential’s Twitter account (@acconfi), you know that Steve Spurrier commented that East Carolina is as good as the lower tier Big 10 teams.  Yeah, that means you Rutgers and Purdue.

And he is not wrong.  There are certainly a number of lesser conference schools (see Marshall beating Maryland in the Military Bowl, a de facto home game for the Terps) that are just as good as lower tier power conference schools.  After all… who is more daunting on the schedule… Boise State or Washington State?

That being said, the number of truly pathetic power five programs is diminishing rapidly.  Washington State is coached by Mike Leach.  Northwestern of the 1980’s is gone, replaced by a program that was on track to a Rose Bowl before the wheels fell off in a big way last year (a finish of only 5-7).  Vanderbilt expects a lower bowl game every year.  Kansas had good years under Mark Mangino.  There are simply no dreadful programs anymore.  A schedule with 8-10 conference games and a remainder with other BCS conference programs would be decent.

In any event, one can expect that this measure is to get the scheduling pansies (see Rutgers: here) to shape up.  If it accomplishes that, it would be a worthwhile goal.  One FCS team and one non-power team is acceptable.  Any more than that and you are not being fair to the rest of the teams in contention for a playoff spot.  And your weak schedule may hurt your fellow conference member.  Long story short, the Confidential is not sold on this move, but not convinced it is the worst idea either if the discussion helps level the playing field.



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8 thoughts on “Power Conference Scheduling

  1. I’m on the record for wanting as many conference games as possible. That said, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to player a lower level team as long as they are relevant. For example, I’m totally fine with East Carolina on our schedule, but San Diego State seems forced…

    • M. Caffrey on said:

      I agree. More conference games are best, and if a team is going to schedule OOC then match-ups based on region or historical connections are OK but the preference should be toward other P5 schools.

      FCS games do have some benefit as they are good for getting younger players experience (after your starters have put the game out of reach). So, instead of providing an opportunity to pad your stats/schedule perhaps allow teams to schedule one FCS per season as an exhibition?

      Syracuse vs. Colgate or Stony Brook isn’t going to be much of a draw anyway, so effectively allow a JV squad of freshmen (including redshirts) to see one game of action per year. Make it a Friday night game, or a prelude to a Saturday night game. Allow the coaches to really assess their younger guys and gain some valuable experience.

      • Really not a bad idea. PLUS, you lose the stigma of potentially losing. Plan to play your starters for 1/2. Your second team for another 1/3. Your third team for the…. (finding common denominator)… final 1/6. If you lose, you lose. You win, you win. I am sure that recent losers to FCS opponents (Michigan, Florida, etc.) would not mind that.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          Frankly, I think you could sit your starters completely and both teams would have a similar number of scholarship players in the game.

          Allow your 2nd string to start, and get some meaningful time for 3rd stringers, the scout teams, and even the redshirt players that otherwise cannot get on the field.

        • No way, first string needs work against a defense that is scheming against them–even if just 2 series. The NFL does not put their $20M QB out there for the fans. It is to get some game speed work in.

  2. M. Caffrey on said:

    Of course you also risk the chance of your starters getting injured in an otherwise meaningless game.

    • Well, that is why those games are meaningful now. But if you are not going to get your starters some reps, there is no need to even have a scrimmage. The 2nd and 3rd team can play against the starters to test their abilities.

  3. VA-OB-1 on said:

    Allow 1 FCS game against an in-state school, UVA used to plat W&M, who always played us tough, now it’s more UR. It gives the FCS guys a chance to se how they stack up against the FBS guys, also the NFL coaches have a better idea of their talent.

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