“None of us like playing the ‘buy’ games, the ‘guarantee’ games.”

Profiles in courage, scheduling edition:

In an interview in ESPN last week, Nick Saban fired a right hook on the chin of college football’s scheduling format.

“Playing a bunch of games that nobody’s interested in is not good for the game,” Saban said on First Take as he lobbied for an expanded conference schedule and Power Five teams playing only Power Five opponents. “Players, when you’ve been playing SEC games, they’re not interested in playing somebody that doesn’t matter.”

Saban’s allies might not be plentiful, but count LSU Deputy Director of Athletics Verge Ausberry as one of them.

“I agree with him,” Ausberry said on my radio show this week. “If the rules change and everybody plays those types of schedules, we’ll play that type of schedule.

Ausberry is a former LSU linebacker (1986-1989) who has worked in the school’s athletic administration for nearly two decades. Among his chief duties is LSU football scheduling…

“I like the big games,” he said. “When I was here as a player, we only had six SEC games but we also had the opportunity to play Texas A&M—who wasn’t in the conference at that time—North Carolina and Notre Dame all in the same year. I think our fan base now, they want to see those type of games. But, at the same time, when I’m scheduling, I’m doing the same thing as Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State and Texas. We’re all scheduling the same way.

“So, if the Power Five commissioners get together and want to make the change to the scheduling format, we have no problem with that.

You go first.  No, you go first!  (Is this when somebody should point out to Ausberry that other P5 conferences are already playing nine-game conference schedules?)

“Let’s be honest. It’s hard to get your team up to play those guarantee games. And they’re trap games. With the right opponent, you get trapped, like last year we got trapped with Troy. You beat that team nine out of ten times, but if you’re not ready to play in those type of games, you’ll get beat.”

Hey, if we don’t treat cupcake games seriously, why should the players?

Ausberry also agreed with Saban that fan attendance should be a driving factor toward a change.

Eh, fans.  What do we know?


Filed under College Football

14 responses to ““None of us like playing the ‘buy’ games, the ‘guarantee’ games.”

  1. Sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it… That’s why it will never happen.


  2. Coaches don’t want tougher schedules just like they want playoff expansion. There are too many contract incentives. Someone has to lose …


  3. JCDawg83

    Until the beauty pageant aspect of selecting the playoff teams is done away with scheduling the cupcakes is not going away. Right now there is way too much downside for a program to risk that extra regular season loss to schedule more tough opponents.


  4. Bright Idea

    How much does keeping FCS and non P5 schools solvent play into these games? Many of us who dislike these games would also scream bloody murder if some of those programs had to go out of business. Will the NCAA subsidize these programs or would the feds ease off Title IX if these games are eliminated?


  5. ASEF

    Playoff expansion is a thing, as much as I hate to see it. Lot of momentum behind that one. So schools are going to need reasons to boost regular season interest.
    Tons of schools like UNC Charlotte see entry into FBS football as a worthy investment. And guys like Delaney and Swofford and Sankey and Bowlsby and Scott and all the people paying them want to remove as much of that incentive as possible. Playing each other more and funneling money to smaller schools like UNC Charlotte less is one solution to that problem.
    More conference games and more cross-conference scheduling will make media rights sugar daddies much, much happier.

    Honestly, it’s hard to see anyone on the money side who isn’t going to have a motivation to move down that road. But yes, the Balkanized nature of the game’s power structure is going to make that a slow, difficult, inefficient, and possibly disastrous process.


  6. Uglydawg

    There would be more TVable games and therefore more money to give to the cupcake schools…just a matter of figuring out a formula…
    For instance..”OK, Auburn, instead of paying JSU a million to play you, ESPN will give them a million not to..and you’ll actually make a few million because you’ll be playing Oklahoma State on TV instead.”
    Most coaches want that practice game, however. But their school is actually losing money..a lot of money…by paying cupcakes when they could be getting paid.
    Another solution would be a “B team” game that didn’t effect player eligibility…where a cupcake would come in on a weeknight and play their starters against a power 5’s bench.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some of these programs need to die off. I ran the numbers on “subsidies” to FBS non-power 5 schools in my state (TN). Between all of them, they were getting just short of $100million PER YEAR (emphasis added) in subsidies to operate the programs. That money comes from student fees and the university general fund (i.e. the taxpayer). Pretty egregious if you ask me.