After I got home from covering Florida football’s 45-0 throttling Tennessee-Martin, something much more entertaining popped up on my Twitter timeline.
It was a video of Alabama coach Nick Saban answering yet another question about his team’s strength of schedule after the Crimson Tide blew out New Mexico State 62-10.
Yes, this video of Saban standing at a podium getting testy with reporters was more exciting to watch than the Gators’ home opener, where the only question was whether or not UF would keep the shutout intact. They did, in case you were wondering.
Power 5 schools — especially those in the SEC — take a lot of flak for scheduling such games against bottom-tier FBS teams and FCS schools. I understand they’re part of college football’s economy, and I get why.
The high-and-mighty blue-blood program pays its lesser counterpart a large sum of money in exchange for what is almost a guaranteed win. The blue-blood gets a win and a break from its grueling schedule, the other school gets much-needed revenue for its athletic department.
These games are simply a cog in the large, billion-dollar machine that is NCAA football. But their very existence often results in a lesser product on Saturdays. Aside from a few upsets (sorry Tennessee), these games are largely boring and one-sided.
Saban made several key points about the type of game Alabama and Florida had just played, colloquially called cupcakes. He said that it is possible to improve in such a game. And he reiterated his dream of playing a full schedule of Power 5 programs.
After I watched the Gators beat down on the Skyhawks for four quarters, me watching that video was Saban preaching to the choir.
What struck a chord with me was what Saban said about not having to go undefeated to make the College Football Playoff. Imagine that.
This is one aspect where the NFL has the NCAA beat.
Teams in the NFL can lose a few games here and there and not have their postseason hopes derailed.
Yes, this is because of a longer regular season and extended postseason in the NFL, but the idea of losing a few games against strong opponents early on and still having something to play for sounds like a good idea to me.
The end result here should be better football. Putting a better product on the field — and on national television — will lead to schools bringing in more money. A win for fans of the game and a win for the programs.
By getting rid of “gimme” games from top team’s schedules, winning six games and making a bowl will carry more weight. Ten-win seasons will mean more. Winning it all won’t require perfection necessarily.
As a college football fan and someone who covers a Florida team that plays three FCS teams in its next 13 games, these matchups are bad for college football.
Follow Kyle Wood on Twitter @Kkylewood and contact him at [email protected].