The Wall Street Journal spots a potentially happy trend.
… College football’s non-conference season is about to start shrinking. Both the Big 12 and Big Ten conferences are considering increasing their conference schedules from eight games to nine in the near future. Essentially, this means one more week of Wisconsin playing a team that’s closer to the caliber of Penn State, whom the Badgers miss on the Big Ten schedule this season, and one fewer matchup against Austin Peay.
Schools and conferences are also slowly coming around to the idea that the money they can earn from these big games may be worth the risk of hanging an early loss on the team.
One reason is the success of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff, a neutral-site showcase game in Atlanta that has featured Alabama in the past two years. Last year the game sold out in July and paid out $2.3 million per team…
And that’s what really may be driving this train. The math for high-profile games is getting more attractive.
… The economics of non-conference games are starting to favor tougher scheduling. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff game pays out $2 million to $2.5 million per team, which is more than several bowl games. Before the expansion to a 12-game schedule, the typical amount that major-conference teams paid to visiting smaller-conference teams was $450,000 to $550,000. Today, the going rate has soared to the neighborhood of $1 million.
Good for us big school fans… but at some point somebody’s going to notice that the smaller schools are going to take a financial hit from it.