Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Scheduling Insight From Around the Nation

An interesting look at scheduling trends by conference - here. While the ACC ended up with three teams with two I-AA opponents on their schedule (GT, Clemson, FSU), it turns out that the conference still stacks up in terms of their willingness to travel and their willingness to play quality opposition. The Big12 and the SEC continue to prove that they are content to kill one another and live off that reputation instead of putting themselves out there on a more consistent basis against quality competition (outside their league).

I am not suggesting for a second the SEC is not the best football conference. They are. However, they do in football what the ACC tends to do in basketball - schedule creampuffs, then whine all year about how the conference "eats their own". I'm not saying they're wrong. However, the only REAL measure of a league is how they stack up against teams outside their conference. The problem is that you are not rewarded for doing it by bowl committees or NCAA tourney committees. Kansas didn't play one BCS team outside their conference, yet ended up with a better bowl than Missouri, who actually beat Kansas and played a tougher schedule.

At the end of the day, you are not rewarded for playing a tough non-conference schedule, and yet it is the only true measure of the strength of a league. Oh the irony. However, while the trend is toward more "easy" victories, this year's schedule of two I-AA opponents was not by design and AD Dan Radakovich tried hard to avoid it. But, when Army backs out at the last minute, that's about all that's left without seriously opening up your wallet. It raises the bar for Paul Johnson, since only one of those wins will count towards bowl eligibility. Now we have to have a 7-win season just to get bowl-eligible.