Scheduling is a hot topic around college football these days as the major conferences hold their spring meetings and plan for a future that finally includes a playoff system. Whether it's number of conference games, how often to play other major-conference teams, whether to schedule FCS teams, or playing neutral-site games, everyone is trying to find the magic scheduling formula.
So what works best? It depends on the team and, in some cases, the league.
It's admirable to hear Alabama coach Nick Saban say he wants all teams from the five power conferences -- SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC -- to play only one another, creating a better product for the fans.
Nick Saban wants Power 5 conferences to play only games against other P5 schools. "Better for fans & for players"
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 27, 2014
Saban is right, but it's also easier for him to make such a statement when he almost always has the most talented team on the field.
Other teams are just trying to get bowl-eligible, so a more manageable schedule model is the best route for them.
Here's your assignment today: Create the ideal 12-game schedule model for your team. It requires a good deal of introspection because very few teams can realistically target the College Football Playoff.
Take a look at your team, its realistic goals (that's the hard part), and what you would like to see out of the schedule. You are the athletic director, but you also must consider what works best for your fan base.
Answer the following questions in your responses:
How many Big Ten games would you like to see on the schedule: eight, nine, perhaps 10?
How many nonleague games should your team play against other teams from Group of Five conferences? Which teams would you ideally like to see?
Should your team schedule FCS opponents? Why or why not? And if yes, which ones?
How would you approach neutral-site games? Would you avoid them completely? Would you schedule them every year or every other year? Which teams would you schedule and where would you play? Keep in mind that Big Ten athletic directors are warming up to these games more and more as they try to put together nonleague schedules after 2016.