Thursday, August 29, 2013

Are You Ready for ... Preseason Football?


The college football season begins Thursday, but pardon us for not working up a whole lot of enthusiasm. Say what you will about the NFL and its preseasaon - yes, it sucks because the games are fake but the ticket prices aren't - but when they play for real there won't be any Saskatchewan Roughriders or San Antonio Talons on the schedule.

Even back in 1998, in the inaugural season of the BCS, the opening weekend schedule wasn't such a desolate landscape as it is today. Florida State opened the season against Texas A&M in the Kickoff Classic on a Thursday night, and there were seven other games featuring top 25 matchups that weekend, including Notre Dame at Michigan, Tennessee at Syracuse and No. 1 Ohio State at West Virginia.

This year, we have all of two games matching up AP preseason top 25 teams on the opening weekend; and of the 46 games on the schedule, only 15 are between BCS conference teams - and we're being generous by counting games involving BYU, SMU and Boise State.

The deterioration of non-conference scheduling is perhaps the worst aspect of the BCS legacy. Title-contending programs quickly figured out that there was little incentive from playing high-profile OOC opponents because a single loss often was enough to dash any BCS championship dreams. And the NCAA's decision to allow teams to play 12 regular-season games beginning in 2006 has only made things worse, as it only increased the demands for cupcakes.


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