In light of the decision to stick with an eight-game schedule as the College Football Playoff enters year one, the league’s scheduling philosophy was a large point of discussion at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla. on Tuesday.
With league schedules set through 2025, non-conference scheduling arrangements need to be made with strength of schedule (as it pertains to the College Football Playoff) in mind.
Every SEC school plays an FCS team in 2014, but that could change in the future.
“I think more than anything that (the College Football Playoff) is part of it, and our fan base, as much as anything, wants to see better opponents,” said Florida head coach Will Muschamp, per CBSSports.com.
Muschamp’s Gators, who host Eastern Kentucky on November 22, lost to an FCS team – Georgia Southern -- for the first time in school history last season. GSU is moving up to the FBS level in 2014.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban, whose team will play Western Carolina this season, said he prefers not to play FCS teams, but “sometimes you don’t have a choice.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt said that he supports playing FCS teams to assist those programs with their budgets.
“What I’m learning is if we as BCS teams – or whatever you want to call us these days – if we don’t have those games with the FCS schools, a lot of them have a very difficult time making their budgets,” Richt said. “I think college football is too important at all levels to hurt them by setting criteria that would not allow you to play them.”
The main debate with scheduling these types of games comes from the strength of schedule aspect of the College Football Playoff. The situation where an 11-1 SEC team that played one fewer conference game and also scheduled an FCS team earns the fourth seed in the playoff over another team with a 10-2 record seems inevitable.
The Big Ten agreed to stop scheduling games against FCS teams last year.
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