Monday, July 18, 2011

Scheduling Cupcakes

Everybody loves cupcakes, even college football teams. It is commonplace now for most FBS teams to schedule a FCS opponent to get an almost-guaranteed win against an undersized opponent. A few teams even go so far as to schedule two foes from the lower subdivision to pad their schedules with W's. The NCAA allows only one win over an FCS team to count toward bowl eligibility. Sometimes, eating too many cupcakes can backfire. Case in point: Arizona State got six wins last seasons, but two were against FCS teams, so they only had five wins toward bowl eligibility. The Sun Devils got snubbed from playing a thirteenth game. 

Twenty-seven FBS teams will not play an FCS opponent this season, while 93 teams will play at least one. Of those 93 programs, 4 have decided to schedule TWO lower division opponents this season.
  • -North Carolina State (Liberty, South Alabama)
  • -Eastern Michigan (Howard, Alabama State)
  • -Air Force (South Alabama, Tennessee State)
  • -Wyoming (Weber State, Texas State)

The first 4 weeks of the season will feature many of these cross-subdivision match-ups. 84 of the 97 of such contests will be in the first month of college pigskin.
  • Week 1: 38 of 78 games
  • Week 2: 19 of 65 games
  • Week 3: 16 of 64 games
  • Week 4: 11 of 58 games

BCS conference teams are also notorious for scheduling FBS mid-majors for nonconference games to pad their schedules. Many of these uneven games will also take place during the first month of college football. Despite this, there will be a number of sexy games prior to conference play going into full-swing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Least Returning Starters

Teams with the least returning starters for the 2011 season.

Auburn 5
After winning the national championship last season, the Tigers return the fewest starters in the nation--a paltry 5. However, the Tigers compensate a lack of experience with talent. They recruited the #1 class for 2011 and their 2010 recruiting class was ranked #6. Still, don't expect back-to-back national titles.

The Horned Frogs have only 2 starters returning on offense and 4 starters coming back on defense. Texas Christian's talent level and favorable schedule should get the program to a bowl game but there are lots of questions surrounding the 2011 TCU football team.

Fresno State 6
The Bulldogs are young and inexperienced. They play California, Nebraska, Mississippi, and Boise State in nonconference games. With a lack of experience and leadership, they could easily go 0-4 in those games.

Memphis 7
The Memphis Tigers look to be in big trouble with only 7 starters coming back and not too much hype surrounding the program after going 1-11 last year. Analysts predict Memphis to go 1-11 again and finish last in Conference USA.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Most Returning Starters

Teams with the most returning starters for the 2011 season.

Vanderbilt 18
The Commodores will have all but one offensive starter returning and eight starters coming back on defense. Things are looking good for James Franklin's first year as head coach.

Texas A&M 18
With key players back like Ryan Tannehill and Cyrus Gray on offense and the entire seconday coming back, will this be the Aggies year to win the Big 12 title for the first time since 1998?

Southern Methodist 18
The Mustangs have won the C-USA West the last two seasons, but with almost the entire offense coming back, 2011 could be the year SMU wins its first league championship since the Death Penalty.

Florida State 17
Combine the fact that Florida State is returning 17 starters and has recruited Top Ten classes in 2011 (#2) and 2010 (#9), and it is apparent the Seminoles are going to be good, real good. The Noles are the clear frontrunner in the ACC.

Toledo 17
With 50 lettermen and 17 starters back, the Rockets are poised to win the MAC title. Preseason rags state Toledo will have the best receiving corp and secondary in the league.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Conference Realignment Summary

After chatting with some coworkers, it became apparent that many college football fans are still confused about the conference realignments in the FBS and when these moves take affect. Here is a summary.

Fall 2011
-Nebraska is playing in the Big 10.
-Colorado and Utah are playing in the Pacific-12.
-Boise State is playing in the Mountain West.
-BYU becomes an independant.

Fall 2012
-Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii move to the Mountain West.
-Texas Christian moves to the Big East.
-UT-San Antonio and Texas State move up from the FCS the Western Athletic Conference.
-Massachusetts moves up from the FCS into the Mid-America Conference.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

NCAA Violations

College football has been plagued by scandals over the past few years. We've seen a can of worms bust open at Ohio State, USC vacating the 2004 national championship, improper benefits at North Carolina, Camgate at Auburn, the free textbook scandal at Alabama, recruiting violations at Oregon and Tennessee, and the list goes on and on.

The question arises: Has there been any FBS programs that have not come under the scrutiny of the NCAA?

The NCAA classifies violations as being either major or secondary. Major violations are ones that give a school an extensive recruiting or competitive advantage. Football and men's basketball are the two sports involved in most cases of rule-breaking. There are 17 schools in the FBS that have never been found to have committed a major violation in any sport since 1953, the year rule violations started being tracked. Those schools are Boston College, Northwestern, Penn State, Stanford, Air Force, Boise State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Kent State, North Texas, Ohio, Rice, Troy, UAB, and Western Michigan. Only 4 are BCS conference schools. Boise State may be leaving the list soon as it is currently under investigation by the NCAA's infractions committee in five sports.