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
Big 12 10
Big 10 9
Big East 7
Mountain West 7
Western Athletic 7
Conference USA 7
Sun Belt 5
PAC 10 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.