For Once, SEC Football Should Follow the Lead of the Big Ten

By Michael Collins
Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

They’re called cream-puffs, warm-up games, or just plain easy schedule breaks. When major FBS conference teams schedule much smaller and weaker FCS teams, the result is almost always an ugly sight. But now the Big Ten says “No more!”, and effective sometime in the near future (exact date not announced), the conference will no longer schedule FCS opponents for its football teams.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said during his monthly radio show that the Big Ten’s non-conference schedule is “ridiculous” and “not very appealing.”

OK, Barry – care to expound on that thought?

“We’ve made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools,” Alvarez said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Hats off to Barry Alvarez and the Big Ten…and for those sitting in charge of the country’s most powerful football conference, please sit up and take note of this declaration by one of your most heated cross-conference rivals.

Yes SEC, the Big Ten is backhandedly calling you out.

The SEC has been ridiculed for years about some of the non-conference games that are scheduled, and rightfully so to tell the truth. If you boast yourselves to be the biggest, meanest and toughest kid on the block, you don’t make good on that assertion by beating up the neighborhood 90-pound weakling.

There is no reason for BCS Champion Alabama to feel the need to schedule Chattanooga and Georgia State, nor should SEC runner-up Georgia really waste time on the field with the likes of North Texas or Appalachian State (although folks in Ann Arbor might argue the latter).

The SEC should follow the lead of their buddies in the Big Ten, and move to schedules that contain only FBS opponents, and I guarantee if the all-powerful omnipotent leaders of the SEC make such a change, every other FBS conference will follow suit.

I understand that these games result in huge paydays for the FCS schools that set themselves up for be lambs for the slaughter, but that alone isn’t worth the embarrassment that usually occurs for their players, or the absolutely unwatchable games that almost always end up being played. The money that the big schools pay these sacrificial lambs could be better spent.

With the BCS coming to a merciful end after the 2013 season, and the “committee” coming into play who will choose the finalists in the four-team “playoff”, strength of schedule is going to be even more critical than in the past. Having two or more games against FCS cupcakes would only add fuel to the fire for those who want to argue about a teams omission from the final four.

The SEC has led the pack in the college football world in practically every aspect imaginable, but this is one case where the baddest conference on the planet should listen to their smaller cousin and follow their lead.


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports NFL Network Manager, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook

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