The Washington Generals are employed by the Harlem Globetrotters to play against them — and lose.
Big time college football programs sort of do the same thing when they invite a team from the football championship series division (formerly I-AA) to play them at home.
The problem is, the football powerhouse is cutting those checks, but seems to be having a harder time winning those games.
Last week, Virginia Tech paid James Madison $450,000 to beat them. The week before Jacksonville State picked up a $300,000 check and beat Ole Miss. Kansas paid North Dakota State and lost and Minnesota, who lost to North Dakota State in 2007, paid for South Dakota to beat them.
It’s hard to admit this — and I’m all for the integrity of the game — but this is an inefficient marketplace. The fact that FCS teams are getting paid and then ruining the seasons of FBS teams by beating them shouldn’t be happening. The paycheck should include a guaranteed win for the FBS team.
There is a solution to all of this. Picking worse teams to play.
Athletic directors will tell me that they have to schedule some of these teams years in advance, but I don’t think they are doing a good enough job at finding the worst teams their schedule has to offer.
No one should be scheduling Jacksonville State, who averaged almost 7 wins over the past five seasons. To help every school out, I went on a search for the worst team I could find.
Norfolk State is a good candidate having played 128-3 by Rutgers (twice) and Kansas in its last three match-ups against the big boys. Unfortunately, the school doesn’t have enough history.
The Citadel hasn’t won in its last 15 games against FBS schools (the closest being a 45-31 loss to Wisconsin in 2007), but their triple option scares me — always hard to prepare for.
Idaho State, which plays Georgia in November for a $525,000 paycheck, isn’t a bad choice for a guaranteed win. They really haven’t had a shot in their last 11 contests against FBS schools, though Idaho shouldn’t schedule them (their 42-27 and 27-24 victories in the last two match-ups are a little bit too close for comfort). Note: Don’t schedule in-state guarantee games. The FCS school will play with a chip on their shoulder and no one needs extra motivation. See James Madison over Virginia Tech and the close calls Texas schools like SMU and Baylor have had with Texas State in recent years.
Then there’s Tennessee-Martin, which got paid $350,000 to get thumped 50-0 by Tennessee this year. They look like a pretty strong option, having been whipped by Memphis (41-14), South Florida (56-7), Southern Miss (35-13), Ohio (29-3) and Western Michigan (42-0) in recent years.
But the FCS team that I would try to negotiate a deal with would be Indiana State. They’ve lost their last 13 games against FBS schools, being outscored by 580-124. In their conference, the Sycamores have only won two games since 2005.
So congratulations to Penn State, Indiana and Purdue, who play Indiana State over the next three years. If a nine-game Big Ten conference schedule emerges and these teams have to give up their game against the Sycamores, maybe Virginia Tech or Ole Miss will want to jump in.
Trust me, it's worth it. And maybe Indiana State can bump up their asking price!
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