According to Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, Big Ten Conference officials agreed to no longer schedule nonconference games against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision née Division I-AA. Be gone, cupcakery!
"The nonconference schedule in our league is ridiculous," Alvarez said on WIBA-AM. "It’s not very appealing… "So we’ve made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools."
While not coming out and explicitly stating it, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany more or less said the same thing:
"What we've got to do is upgrade," Delany said. "It doesn't make any sense to be playing people from different divisions with fewer scholarships [FCS]. It doesn't make sense for everyone to be playing Southern Cal and Texas, but there's comparability there that we could seek out. We're trying to find out ways that we can create fair schedules, good schedules, healthy schedules for our teams, our players, our coaches and our fans."
A move like this makes sense, especially with Big Ten officials hinting at expanding the conference schedule to nine or 10 games. These FBS vs. FCS paycheck games are some of the most lightly attended games across the NCAA. With an expanded conference schedule and strength of schedule likely to factor into playoff selection, eliminating these games caters to both demands on programs' future schedules.
Wishful thinking, but I hope Boston College and/or the ACC follows the Big Ten's lead here.
Boston College has played an FCS opponent every year since 2006, when the NCAA expanded the regular season to 12 games and allowed an annual win over an FCS opponent to count towards bowl eligibility. In each of the last three seasons, the I-AA game has been the most lightly attended home game of the year -- 34,168 for Weber State in 2010, 30,176 for UMass in 2011 and 30,685 for Maine in 2012. When not paired with Parents' Weekend, attendance dips even further.
BC is set to face one FCS team in 2013, Stony Brook on August 31 in Chestnut Hill. In 2014, the Eagles will face Rhode Island while Richmond is on the sched in 2017.
These games are rarely interesting and you'll likely pay more in surcharges than you will on the actual ticket on the secondary market. When you offer up just six home games a year to season ticket holders, you have to make every home game count (especially with at least one Friday night home game a year). You only get four chances a year to bring interesting opponents to the Heights and Maine, Rhode Island and Weber State just aren't cutting it.
While a win over a Patriot League program will soon count towards bowl eligibility, and there's some sentimental value in playing Holy Cross, Fordham or Georgetown for the old timers, would you really miss any of these games?
For reference, here is every Boston College game vs. an FCS opponent since the NCAA split Division I into two levels -- I-A (now FBS) and I-AA (now FCS) -- for the 1978 season:
L - Massachusetts 27, Boston College 0 (November 25, 1978)
W - Boston College 41, Massachusetts 3 (November 24, 1979)
W - Boston College 27, Yale 9 (October 11, 1980)
W - Boston College 13, Massachusetts 12 (November 22, 1980)
W - Boston College 52, Massachusetts 22 (November 7, 1981)
W - Boston College 34, Massachusetts 21 (November 6, 1982)
W - Boston College 35, Holy Cross 10 (November 20, 1982)
W - Boston College 42, Yale 7 (October 8, 1983)
W - Boston College 47, Holy Cross 7 (November 19, 1983)
W - Boston College 44, Western Carolina 24 (September 1, 1984)
W - Boston College 45, Holy Cross 10 (December 1, 1984)
W - Boston College 38, Holy Cross 7 (November 23, 1985)
W - Boston College 56, Holy Cross 26 (November 22, 1986)
W - Boston College 33, Northeastern 22 (October 2, 1999)
W - Boston College 29, Massachusetts 7 (October 2, 2004)
W - Boston College 22, Maine 0 (September 30, 2006)
W - Boston College 24, Massachusetts 14 (September 29, 2007)
W - Boston College 42, Rhode Island 0 (September 27, 2008)
W - Boston College 54, Northeastern 0 (September 5, 2009)
W - Boston College 45, Massachusetts 17 (September 24, 2011)
W - Boston College 34, Maine 3 (September 8, 2012)