The addition of a 12th game in 2006 has been nothing short of a scam perpetrated on fans. While paying customers were hoping for great intersectional matchups, big-time athletic directors and coaches saw something else.
Add a cupcake opponent to the home schedule, get an easy victory, make millions for the department and keep those rollover contracts in working order. Fat City! Who cares if the spring scrimmage was more competitive than the cupcake that was added to the schedule? If a team can go 4-0 in nonconference play, a mere 2-6 mark in conference gets you to 6-6, the magic record needed to earn a postseason berth to some outpost like Shreveport.
To top it off, those fools behind the BCS formula won’t penalize you for playing a team from Division I-AA. So why not schedule two games against I-AA opponents?
That passage highlights two perverse incentives built into the system. One, the need to schedule weak sisters is greater for marginal teams that must hit that absolute number of six wins to become bowl eligible than it is for the schools challenging for a BCS slot which have to be more careful about constructing a schedule that doesn’t weaken their resumes too much in the eyes of the voters and computers.
On the other hand, the Wiz is right when he notes that there’s no outright penalty in the BCS formula for scheduling multiple 1-AA opponents (although, again, there is that risk of being perceived as playing too weak a schedule). But there is one for the marginal schools, which can only count one such victory towards the bowl eligibility totals.
If that sounds somewhat contradictory, that’s only because it is.
What this all really adds up to is further ammunition for the position that D-1 football shrinking itself into an 80-school alignment of power conferences makes more and more sense. Done right, that would provide the framework to jettison these games that generally satisfy no one other than the head coaches and athletic directors who want them.