18 September 2011

The reason for nonconference football mismatches

We all see it happen every year.  Big schools play little schools in nonconference games.  Michigan, Florida, and USC take on Western Nebraska A&M, East Dakota Polytechnic, and Sister Margaret's Home for Wayward Girls.

We know why the big schools do it; they get to warm up on hapless opponents and pad their undefeated records to enhance their postseason bowl appearance chances.  Why do the little schools subject their players to 68-3 defeats?  The StarTribune explains:
"...the [Minnesota] Gophers sent the [New Mexico State] Aggies home with an $800,000 tip Saturday, the largest visiting-team guarantee the Gophers have ever paid.

Nothing will change the economics of playing seven home games every season, however. It's necessary to find willing partners, and the price keeps going up. "It's become an arms race," Maturi said. "Look what happened to Purdue -- 10 months ago, they had Kent State on their schedule. Then Kent State paid the buyout and went to Alabama, because Alabama paid them more than a million dollars."
NCAA football.  Think of it as a farm league for the NFL.

Speaking of which, I gotta go.  Back later.


  1. Some state schools are also required by their state to play smaller school from their state. OSU always starts their season by playing two smaller Ohio schools (Miami of OH, Toledo, Akron, Bowling Green, etc). Because tv revenue is shared, this is basically a commercial subsidy to those smaller schools. It is a real problem for the biggest schools in terms of strength of schedule. OSU always gets flack at the end of the season for playing minor schools in the beginning of their season.

  2. Its not "preseason". the games are in the regular season, so technically you'd be better off calling them "early-season games"

    just an FYI.

    great blog!

  3. Now can you please explain how Notre Dame gets away with scheduling half - or more - of their season against weaker schools and still enjoys a guaranteed bowl invitation when they finish with a 5 & 9 record?

  4. Good old NMSU.
    When I went there a rumor existed that in the 80s the football team was on the cover of Sports Illustrated for being the worst college team of the year.
    And they hadn't gotten much better since then.


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