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« Spring Practices | Main | Caught Up »
Sunday
Feb272005

Scheduling, Condensed

As we noted below, we have uploaded a document/essay explaining some of our thoughts on the scheduling practices within college football.

After sending the document to an associate for review, he said it was too long.  That may very well be the case, and in order to make things a little less burdensome for those who may not enjoy taking on 3,000 words focused so narrowly on scheduling, we offer the following as a condensed version of some of the arguments.  Take this as a teaser, if you will, as we hope you will find the time to download, read, analyze and consider the arguments posed within the essay.

  • Scheduling is a two-part system: conference games and out-of-conference (OOC) games.  The conference slate is usually rigid and decided well in advance.  It is beneficial and necessary.  The OOC slate is more arbitrary, and more likely to be exploited.
  • It is to the game's benefit, especially in regards to understanding the relative strengths of teams within a given season, to foster an environment of equitable scheduling.  There are several impediments to that vision.
  • First, not all conferences are the same size.  The 10-team conferences are easier to judge and analyze, while the larger 12-team conferences are split into divisions and have various means to gerrymander their schedules in ways favorable to the more elite teams.
  • Also, OOC scheduling is unregulated.  For every USC taking on Virginia Tech on the road, Notre Dame annually and elite teams within small conferences, there are several Auburns and Kansas States, taking on 1-AA opponents at home, and avoiding if at all possible BCS conference teams, let alone elite smaller division schools.  We support the open scheduling rules, but are intolerant of the various elusive and exploitative ways many established programs go about making their OOC slate.  It hurts the game, artificially boosting their records and rankings at the expense of good teams who were willing to test themselves against more legitemate opponents.
  • We set aside some guidelines, perhaps rules, to schedule opponents.  Nobody from outside D-I should be tolerated.  Contending teams on BCS conference teams that take on weak teams from the smaller, non-BCS conferences should be frowned upon and their credibility (when it comes to rankings) held up to very strict scrutiny.
  • One last point we more or less forgot to mention in the essay-loading up a schedule with home games is unacceptable.  No elite BCS conference team that regularly contends (Ohio State, USC, Georgia, etc.) should have an 8-game home schedule, or in an 11-game slate, have 7 home games and just 4 road games.  Home field advantage is very pronounced in college football, and such maneuvering usually goes unnoticed and uncriticized.  The buck stops here.  There is nothing wrong with 6 home games and 5 road games, or 6 home and 6 road, but there is simply no justification for 7/4 or 8/4, 8/5 imbalances.
There is a lot more to the scheduling process that we haven't yet discussed, and will when those aspects come to our attention.  Hopefully this primer has opened your eyes if you had not noticed these things before, or seen them in this kind of light.  There are various valid counter-arguments most programs can offer to our challenges, but nevertheless a lot of exploitation goes on (even unabashed exploitation, by Kansas State, for example), at the fans' and media's expense in determining who is best, and also at the expense of good teams that follow the rules and are better than teams that don't yet get ranked far lower.  That has to come to an end, it's simply unfair, and not a built in unfairness, but one created through dishonesty and manipulation.

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