The Big Ten seems to be paving the way for the next era of college football scheduling. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez indicated that the conference will be moving forward with no longer scheduling games against the Football Championship Subdivision, or the FCS. Jeff Potrykus of the Journal Sentinel has more.
According to Alvarez, Big Ten officials recently agreed to stop scheduling nonconference games against FCS programs.
"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."
It is not clear when the agreement will take effect but the likely starting point would be the 2014 season, when Maryland and Rutgers are set to join the Big Ten.
This is a pretty landmark move by the Big Ten. Currently none of the major college football conferences have any restrictions on playing FCS opponents, and actively welcome at least one annual matchup with a patsy from a smaller conference to ensure one easy opponent on the schedule. Only three teams have exclusively played Division I schools: The USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. For everyone else, it's become a lot easier to handle one week during the season when their annual cupcake comes to town.
The Big Ten removing that restriction might be paving the path to a new future for major college football conferences as they try and consolidate their power. More games against major schools would probably mean more money for the Big Ten in its next TV contract. Other conferences might then try to do the same in order to keep up with the Big Ten, and soon the FCS matchup might very well become a thing of the past.