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Post Scheduling for wins and profit

Wednesday July 27, 2011

It’s usually the SEC taking criticism for its scheduling, but this week it’s Big 10 and Big 12 schools whose scheduling philosophies are in the news.

Fans looking for future opponents for a home-and-home series can probably scratch Michigan from their prospect list. Wolverine athletic director Dave Brandon doesn’t plan on playing any non-conference road games other than Notre Dame. (h/t Dr. Saturday)

I don’t believe we can or should go on the road for non-conference games when we can put 113,000 people in our stadium.

Brandon’s doctrine allows for an exception: the occasional neutral-site game like next season’s opener against Alabama in Dallas. But such games aren’t road games; Michigan will split a large payout that will more than compensate for the lost home game. The Wolverines are currently obligated to a game at UConn in 2013, but Brandon is also trying to get that moved to a larger venue with, of course, a higher payout.

Pointing out the obvious financial advantage of hosting as many games as possible is one way to frame a light nonconference schedule. There are much less graceful ways too. (h/t Blutarsky)

Texas Tech had to drop a team from the nonconference schedule because the Big 12 wanted to play a round-robin conference schedule. That team just happened to be non-BCS heavyweight TCU. Tubs, of course, admitted that Tech dropped TCU because TCU “isn’t the type of team we need to play now.”

Georgia’s new approach to scheduling following the “Florida model” is nothing to brag about. It’s also not that rare. When home games mean over a million dollars in revenue and the process values absolute record above all else, it’s good to see other teams from the far corners of the nation be honest about the way they approach the schedule. It might not produce the most entertaining matchups, but it does reflect the incentives at play in major college football.

One Response to 'Scheduling for wins and profit'

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  • Groo, until we get to a super-conference structure with conference champs and a 4-team play-off, this is what we as paying customers get to look forward to. There is zero reward for playing anyone (even a intrastate rival) of substance out of conference because a loss kills you in the polls and a road game doesn’t bring home the bacon to pay for your program. Everyone is trying to put as many wins on the board as possible and people in home team seats to pay for the rising cost of big boy college athletics. The “Gator-ization” of schedules across the board is moving the product back to a regional model where teams don’t leave their region to play someone. Who really wants to see us beat up on Buffalo, New Mexico State, Coastal Carolina, etc.?