Blog Entry

Too Many 1AA Games!

Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:51 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2008 1:55 pm
 With nothing more than a casual glance at the schedules of Division 1A teams, you will notice it is quite common to see Division 1AA teams peppered about many, if not most of the schedules of major programs.  At the same time, many Division 1A teams are finding it difficult for one reason or another to find enough teams to complete their regular season schedule year after year.

Why do these Division 1A schools find it necessary to step down in class when there are other Division 1A teams looking for schools to play?

I'm sure there are a number of reasons, some good, some not so good.  For example, Ohio State scheduled Youngstown State this season.  Now if ever there was a mismatch, this would be it however, Jim Tressel used to be the head coach at Youngstown State so I'm sure that is a prime reason as to why.  But a past relationship isn't the usual reason.  Sometimes, there just aren't good reasons.

There were 51 games scheduled between BCS teams, supposedly the cream of the college football crop, and Division 1AA teams.  36 more games were scheduled between Non-BCS teams and Division 1AA schools.  With only 12 regular season games on your schedule, why are these teams finding it necessary to do this?

I would submit that in many cases, it's a win.  In virtually all cases, it's a home game win.  Teams are so hungry for that sometimes elusive 6 win season that makes a school bowl eligible, they are now dipping into the Division 1AA ranks to get a win.  At the same time, you often won't find a Mid-Major program on their schedule. 

Florida State comes to mind.  The Seminoles opened their season with two home games against Division 1AA programs.  Not a mid-major team is to be found on the their schedule. Georgia Tech did the same thing.  Two 1AA teams, 0 mid-majors.  In fact, the Atlantic Coast Conference scheduled 14 games this season against 1AA programs.  While they had the most, they certainly weren't alone.  Check this out.

CONFERENCE                          1AA GAMES

ACC                                                      14

Big 12                                                   10

Big 10                                                     9

SEC                                                        9

Mid-American                                        8

Big East                                                  7

Mountain West                                      7

Western Athletic                                   7

Conference USA                                  7

Sun Belt                                                 5

PAC 10                                                   2

Independents                                       2

Several questions come to mind when you see the practice this widespread across Division 1A football.

Mid-majors, typically the stronger programs,  are clamoring that they can't get the Majors to play them in a home and home or even 2 for 1 series.  Therefore, if many games between majors and mids aren't getting scheduled, is this a contributing reason?  Could that be why both majors and mid-majors dip into the 1AA ranks to fill out their schedule because they can't agree on the terms of a potential series?

Are teams doing this to puff up their overall record, if not their strength of schedule?  I would suggest there is some of this going on for sure.  I would also suggest there may be some of the reasons similar to what Jim Tressel was doing with Ohio State, but it is logical to assume some of these games are being scheduled because it's an easy win at home.

Should games against Division 1AA programs even count toward bowl eligibility?  I don't believe they should be.  There should be a nice large asterik next to the school's record that scheduled one of these games. However, if a 1A teams schedules a 1AA team and loses?  That should definately be considered.

Additionally, there is incredible competition at the end of the season for teams striving to earn BCS bowl bids.  Only games against 1A competition should be considered.  It would be a shame if a team was passed over because another team scheduled a 1AA team to artifically puff up their record.

There is a lot of quality football being played in the 1AA ranks and this by no means is intended as an insult to those teams.  Appalachain State proved to the world they can play at a top level when they defeated Michigan but this is the very rare exception.  With 120 teams in 1A football, there should be no shortage of teams to schedule.  If that means mid-majors need to be willing to go on the road more often than not, so be it.  If that means the majors need to leave their palaces to go on the road to play a mid once in a while, they should do so.  In the end, there should be no reason to dip into the 1AA ranks at all, in my opinion.    


Category: NCAAF

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2008 3:02 am

Too Many 1AA Games!

I like the post and certainly agree that there are too many major schools playing patsies, whether they're I-AA, D-II, or bad D-I schools.  I'm really not sure what the solution to this would be.  I think your idea of not counting I-AA games towards bowl eligibility would obviously prevent teams from scheduling them, but I'm not sure if that's completely a good thing.

As a Michigan fan, the Appalachian State debacle is still fresh in my mind.  While the loss was a tough and disappointing one, I thought that the utter shock and hype of that as "the greatest upset of all-time" was horribly overblown.  Frankly, I think that Appalachian St. would have probably been a top 25-40 team in D-I last year.  Probably among the elite in a mid-major conference, or an average team in a BCS conference.  Just look at Marshall when it went from I-AA power to D-I.  It immediately was the class of the MAC and a top 15 program for years and years.  I know that is just one example, but to the best of my knowledge it is the last viable one, as I do not think any of the teams who have made the jump in the last decade were even elite at the I-AA level.

This complicates things when determining just how difficult these "patsies" are.  For instance, I would suspect that most of the Sun Belt wouldn't be able to survive if it were dropped in the I-AA playoff.  Unfortunately, because there is hardly any scheduling of these elite I-AA teams, this is a difficult claim to prove or disprove.  If such a rule was placed where I-AA wins wouldn't count for bowl eligibilty, it would just mean that the Sun Belt's phones would be off the hook, planes would be showing up to their campuses, with every big-name school wanting them to come over for a beatdown.

Ultimately, the big teams will always want these games, both for the money and the easy win.  The 12-game schedule is a huge factor in this increasingly occuring problem.  Back in the 11 game schedule, major teams could deal with having 6 at home, 5 on the road.  Now every major team wants at least 7 at home and 5 on the road.

P.S. - I couldn't help but think earlier this week about what things would be like if 2008 Ball State had its 2006 schedule.  When it scared the hell out of my Wolverines, #2 and 9-0 at the time.  A game like that is what you guys need this year, a chance to shock the world and prove you belong.

Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2008 9:41 pm

Too Many 1AA Games!

Mid-majors, typically the stronger programs,  are clamoring that they can't get the Majors to play them in a home and home or even 2 for 1 series.  Therefore, if many games between majors and mids aren't getting scheduled, is this a contributing reason?  Could that be why both majors and mid-majors dip into the 1AA ranks to fill out their schedule because they can't agree on the terms of a potential series?This is a big part of it.  Oklahoma and Middle Tennesee were close to a deal to play this season but Miss St came calling and was willing to agree to a 2 for 1 arrangement.  Oklahoma was above a trip to Murfreesboro, so (luckily for us) they refused to match.  As a result they were stuck with Chattanooga.  The average and even most big college footbal fans just see 1-AA and don't consider that the FCS division has its own powers and patsies just like the FBS.  If you don't follow the FCS (and I bet most of you don't) Chattanooga is to 1-AA what Idaho is to 1-A.  Florida State refused to be outdone and scheduled Chattanooga AND Western Carolina who is even worse than Chattanooga.  I guess that would make them North Texas.  Appalachian State would be comparable to a Florida, USC or LSU for their level.

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