A humble suggestion to help the non-BCS elite bust the BCS
Mid-majors need to eliminate the fluff and play non-conference games for pay
Teams like Boise and Utah are strong enough to go to a BCS school and win
Altering scheduling will bring in more money and increase title game chances
To: Gene Bleymaier, athletic director, Boise State
Re: A humble suggestion to help all of you fill your coffers and one of you maybe crash the BCS title game.
As you know all too well, it's a lousy time to run a Football Bowl Subdivision program that stands outside the high walls of Castle BCS. Not only must you fight for every dollar to keep your operations afloat, you also have to listen to Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman offer a cruel but entirely true explanation for why some schools get considered for the national title game and some don't. When Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch asked what Utah could have done in 2008 to play its way into the BCS title game, Perlman said this: It could've played the schedule Nebraska played last year. Then, after Hatch suggested Utah played a decent schedule, Perlman said this: That's the way the world is, I'm afraid.
Thanks to the freshly signed BCS agreement, the world will stay that way until 2014. So, it's time to stop complaining and start taking action. Perlman is absolutely correct; that is the way the world works. But you all can change that, and not through legal action, congressional debate or whining. You can use the system as currently constituted to help remedy both your major problems. You can be the Cesar Chavezes of the non-BCS conferences while fattening your wallet like Gordon Gekko.
I chose the five of you because your football teams are best prepared to attempt this little experiment. In fact, one of you inspired this idea. Gene, didn't you say in June you'd seek out more guarantee games? And then didn't you go out and schedule a 2010 game against Virginia Tech in Washington? Your idea is to send the Broncos for an occasional one-off game against a major power and collect a check in the neighborhood of $900,000 to $1 million. My idea is for the five of you to take that plan to the next level.
Eliminate the fluff from your schedules and play your non-conference games for pay. You don't play the kind of schedule a Nebraska, a Texas or an Alabama plays, but you can fix that and get richer in the process. Schedule as many payday games as the FBS rules, which require at least five annual home games, allow. Go to Columbus, Athens and Austin and charge those schools a premium for the privilege of scheduling a matchup that makes BCS-conference television rights-holders drool. Of course, it may not be that simple. Alabama will pay $1 million for a visit from San Jose State in 2010, but the Crimson Tide or any other wealthy power may not pay as much for a visit from a BYU team with an actual chance of winning. But hey, if a program ducks any of you, feel free to leak evidence of that school's cowardice to the press. If enough schools run for cover, then Sen. Hatch might have real evidence of collusion.
If you can schedule those games and one of you goes undefeated, the humans and computers that pick the participants for the BCS title game will have no choice but to invite that team. Tom, you're playing Oklahoma (at a neutral site) and Florida State (in Provo) this year. That's a great start. Just think bigger. Gene, you already scheduled home-and-home series with BYU and Utah in 2011 and 2012 for the purposes of upgrading your non-conference schedule. That's a good idea, but all of you would make more money and increase your chances of playing for a national title by rearranging those games a bit and sending your typically excellent teams to whip BCS-conference teams for a hefty appearance fee. Just try it for a season or two. If you lose a few, it proves you didn't belong in the national title conversation anyway. You can take your extra dough and go back to the way you always did things. If you win, you can fundamentally alter the system and possibly play your way into a national following and an invitation to a wealthier conference.
Obviously, all five of you can't put this plan into action immediately. Contracts have been signed, and none of you wants to be that guy. You know, the one who bails on a game with less than two years notice. So let's shoot for 2012. That year is significant for two reasons. Like 2008, that season will set the agenda as BCS leaders discuss in 2013 how to alter the process after the bowls of 2014. Second, it will allow your coaches to adjust their recruiting.
All five of your coaches have proven themselves excellent judges of talent. They see gems where the big boys see pebbles, and, in some cases, they beat out the big-money teams for recruits. Now they'll have a few aces in the hole. First, they can promise national television appearances. If ESPN/ABC has the option to televise Eastern Michigan at Michigan or TCU at Penn State, which one do you think the network will choose?
Also, the coaches can sell your new, brutal schedule as an opportunity to stick it to the man. Teenagers love rebellion, and this is an uprising in its purest sense. Let's say Utah schedules a payday game at USC in the future. When Utes coach Kyle Whittingham recruits against UCLA and Oregon, he can legitimately tell players the Utes have as equal a shot at the national title as the Bruins and Ducks, because, let's face it, none of them has a chance if they don't beat USC. As Perlman would say, that's the way the world works.
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