If there is one thing the 12-game season has taught college football fans, it's that the big boys have an unending appetite for a cupcake. You know, a lower-level opponent that is happy to travel to play Goliath and accept a fat paycheck in return. The end result is something like 42-7 or 52-3. Afterward, Goliath's coach and players talk in glowing terms about how much they respect Directional State while chalking up another victory toward becoming bowl-eligible.
Wendell Barnhouse of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram takes a detailed look at what goes into scheduling, including I-AA teams openly shopping their availability. Teams strike a deal with a I-A opponent and then try to better the game guarantee by talking with another I-A school.
The competition for cupcakes has become so intense that some teams are finding it impossible to fill their schedule. Hawaii has long benefited from an NCAA rule that allows (because of travel considerations) it to schedule an extra game and for any of its state-side opponents to schedule an extra game. Scheduling competition is so great that even a trip to Hawaii isn't good enough these days.
The Warriors could find only one Division I-A team (Washington) willing to journey to Honolulu. Hawaii had to schedule two I-AA teams and still wound up with only 12 games.
Which BCS league plays the most games against other BCS opponents? It's the Big East, which played 18 games last season. The Big East also had the best record (11-7) and was perfect in the postseason (5-0).
The SEC, which has a sparkling 24-1 record against non-BCS teams and was 8-0 against I-AA teams in 2006, was only 9-6 against BCS teams. In the postseason, SEC teams finished 6-3.
As for overrated conferences, try the Big Ten, which is a wretched 11-17 in the postseason since 2003.
Bottom line: Score one for the Big East and score one for playing other BCS opponents in nonleague games. It pays off in the postseason.