There’s a reason we keep seeing FCS games on the schedule.
In the 460 matchups between the Power 5 and the FCS since 2010, the FCS team has won just 21 games, or 4.6% of the time. In the past two years, there have been exactly two FCS upsets in 92 tries. Alabama vs. Mercer in 2017 (56–0), Auburn vs. Alabama State on 2018 (63–9) and Miami vs. Savannah State in 2018 (77–0) reflect more typical recent results.
Two P5 conferences have played well over half of those games.
According to STATS Inc., since 2010, the ACC has played 131 FCS opponents, the SEC 130. Meanwhile, Pac-12 teams have played 74 FCS teams, followed by the Big 12 with 69 and the Big Ten with 65.
They do, because they can get away with it.
The SEC and ACC’s defense of their built-in wins is simple: Even though they play one fewer conference game than the other leagues, their schedules are the toughest in the country. Per Sports-Reference.com, the SEC has had the strongest scheduling of any conference in three of the past five seasons and the toughest schedules on average over that time—even accounting for all those FCS bouts. Both the Big Ten and the Pac-12, which play nine conference games have a higher average strength of schedule than the ACC over the past five seasons, but multiple ACC teams have season-ending games against SEC opponents to plan around.
Well, the SEC does, anyway.
As the article notes, that’s a practice that won’t end unless there’s a price to pay with the selection committee and so far, that ain’t happening. If anything, all of this makes me even more impressed with Georgia’s newfound effort to schedule home-and-homes with P5 powerhouse opponents. Let’s hope the selection committee is equally impressed.