This past Saturday afternoon the Oklahoma State Cowboys dispatched the FBS Savannah State Tigers by the tidy sum of 84-0. While I don’t know how much of a payoff the Tigers earned from the OSU athletic department to be a whipping boy, I do know that happened.
I worked in the University of Texas athletic department for a couple of years, and this practice is understood, common, and accepted throughout college athletics– regardless of whether it is ethically sound.
Some coaches want a patsy on the schedule to ensure a Week One win, and that patsy, in return, gets a big payday to get their butts handed to them.
It’s a classic win-win scenario. Right?
In these money games, no one comes out ahead.
Why you ask?
First off, the games give an over-inflated view of a team’s abilities or on the flipside, lack there of. Try as they may to make sure it doesn’t happen, Oklahoma State true freshman signal caller Wes Lunt will waltz into this Saturday’s game against an average Arizona Wildcats team thinking he can do no wrong.
Mark my words, the first few passes Lunt throws on Saturday will be casual and without pop, because, hell, that’s what worked against the Tigers, why wouldn’t it work again?
Let’s call this scenario No. 1. Guys seeing the field for the first time as college football players against cupcakes like Savannah State aren’t easing their way into the game, they’re playing against lesser competition than they probably faced in high school.
In other words, you might as well mark this one week of snaps off the board because it did absolutely nothing for the development of your team.
This will also be true on Saturday when the Florida State Seminoles are the next in line to knock the Tigers into a past universe.
From the other side, what in the world does Savannah State earn by scheduling these games? Sure, they may claim $20K or so for getting their skulls kicked in, and in return be able to buy a few new sets of shoulder pads or maybe make repairs to the team bus, but at what psychological cost to the young men that wear those shoulder pads and ride in that bus?
Did any of these guys sign up to be put on the front lines of battle with a pen knife?
Nope, don’t think so. No one likes to lose, and the Savannah State coaches have done just that: set themselves up for inevitable failure.
If the winning team in these money games doesn’t develop because of the win and does nothing more than fill a hole on the schedule, and the losing team gets money thrown at them to take a whipping of a lifetime, does anyone really come out on top?
Isn’t it actually a lose-lose?
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of the Rant Sports College Football Hour on the TSC Radio Network on Sunday evenings at 8 Central Time and Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.