I think about a lot of things throughout my day. Most of those things aren't anything special, but the topic of scheduling and the BCS came to mind yesterday for some reason.
It's no secret that I-AA games have increased greatly in recent years. I don't have any hard data on it, but it seems like the prevalence of automatic qualifying conference teams not playing any AQ teams out of conference has risen too. In the SEC for instance, LSU played none in 2008 and Ole Miss played none in 2009. One of the national title participants this season (Texas) didn't play any. Often there is a mitigating factor, such as someone pulling out of a contract late in the game, but it's still not a good thing. It robs fans of good games.
So with that in mind, I thought of two new rules I'd like to see the BCS adopt. I doubt we'll see it done, but I'm throwing this out there for comments.
RULE 1: To be eligible for a BCS at large spot, a team must play at least one non-conference game against an AQ conference member.
That goes for everyone, including the non-AQ conference folks. If you want in without an auto-bid, you have to play one of the AQ conference teams.
I know this wouldn't dramatically improve scheduling, since most teams do play at least one game of this kind.If nothing else, it would be to discourage teams from just blatantly scheduling a bunch of nobodies. This rule would make teams like Duke, Washington State, and Vanderbilt the most popular kids on the block of course, but there's only so many of them to go around.
The NCAA would probably set up some kind of waiver system in case a school gets stuck with no one at the last minute thanks to someone breaking a contract. Personally, I'd rather there not be waivers available though. If you don't want to be locked out of at-large contention, you better schedule two AQ teams a year just to be sure. I might consider waivers for the Pac-10 though, since that league plays nine conference games a year.
RULE 2: To be eligible for a BCS at large spot, you must play no more than a single I-AA game in a season.
For one thing, this would have prevented Hawai'i from getting into the BCS in 2007. Any rule that would have stopped that from happening is generally a good one.
Beyond that, I get why I-AA games are proliferating. They're cheaper than playing I-A's scrubs (which are now asking for as much as a million for guarantee games), and everyone needs to make some money some time.
I see no reason to give any sympathy for a team that's playing two of them. My attitude is similar to that regarding the waivers for Rule 1: if you don't want to get in a situation where you're stuck playing two and thereby miss out on at-large eligibility, then don't plan on playing one in the first place. Leave the I-AA guys as backup alone.
I realize that these two rules won't solve everything, but I think they might help stop some of the excesses. Out of conference scheduling is getting to be more and more of a joke each season, and I'd like to see something done about it. As a side note, these rules would help us find out who really needs the money and who's just using it as an excuse for pathetic scheduling. Would a team risk forgoing at-large eligibility, knowing it's a slim chance but a big payout, for the sure cash inflow of extra guarantee games? Athletics directors would get a lot more pressure and scrutiny over scheduling, and I see that as nothing but a good thing.