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Boise State Wants NCAA to Require Home-and-Home Series

Lost in all this talk about BYU potentially going independent is this little nugget from Boise State president Bob Kustra and athletics director Gene Bleymaier:

Kustra: "...We want to propose to the NCAA a mandated home-and-home scheduling arrangement for I-A non-conference football games..."

Bleymaier: "I think we've really dropped the ball as an organization. The NCAA could mandate this at any time. Oregon, Oregon State are return games. Ole Miss (next year), Washington, Arkansas and Arizona State are not. It's so simple to legislate.

"We'll play anybody in the country home-and-home. You've got to do a better job of scheduling. You want us to go play three non-conference games on the road and they don't have to come here. Texas isn't going to do that, Oklahoma isn't going to do that, USC isn't going to do that, Florida isn't going to do that, Ohio State isn't going to do that, nobody's going to do that."

Here we go...

This will not happen.

The NCAA has always been hands-off when it comes to teams scheduling non-conference games. It does things like mandating the length of seasons and doing things like giving teams an extra game if they play at Hawai'i, but it doesn't get involved with scheduling contract negotiations in any sport on any level.

If the NCAA, which likes to stick its nose in so many things, hasn't gotten involved with non-conference scheduling by now, it probably doesn't want to.

It kills one-off neutral site games.

A rule that mandates home-and-homes would end the practice of neutral site games like we've seen get scheduled in Atlanta and Dallas of late. Any final rule would probably create an exemption for them, but it's worth saying.

This rule would not help Boise State get the big boys to come.

There's a very good reason why Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and Florida won't travel to Boise State on a home-and-home. Their stadiums hold 94,116 people, 82,109 people, 93,607 people, and 88,545 people according to the NCAA's 2009 attendance figures (actual capacities may vary). Bronco Stadium holds 32,000 people. Not only is the payoff for going to the blue turf not worth it when compared to playing a road game at most AQ conference schools, it may not even pay for the travel costs.

It's not just Boise State that's in that boat. Take Vanderbilt, with its almost 40,000-seat stadium. Vandy played at Michigan a few years back with no return trip. Georgia Tech, with its 55,000-seat stadium, is about the biggest school it can get to come to Nashville in the non-conference.

Texas visited Wyoming (capacity: 30,517) as a part of a two-for-one, and that's about the best Boise State can hope for until it expands the stadium. Plans are reportedly in the works for going up to 44,000 seats, but I couldn't help but notice the last line of that article: "Boise State had two sellout crowds in its seven home games last year." Maybe the school might want to figure out how to sell out its 32,000-seat stadium for every game before lecturing schools that routinely sell out stadiums three times that size on what scheduling makes sense.

Anyway, Boise State would only be able to continue to get the Pac-10 guys from the Pacific northwest and Utah to come because it's not really worth anyone else's time to go.

Other schools need guarantee games.

A lot of non-AQ teams do need guarantee games to pay the bills. They only exist because they do work well financially for both sides.

If you kill off guarantee games, who among the major conferences will go play at Eastern Michigan? Or FIU? I can't say I'd miss seeing big teams beat those guys into a pulp, but the money from guarantee games is a big part of their business model.

I wouldn't be surprised if, in the wake of such a rule being passed, that a number of programs would have to jump back from I-A to I-AA. I doubt that's Kustra and Bleymaier would want to be known as the guys who caused that to happen.

So it's not happening, right?

Right. What the Boise State guys are doing is trying to solve a personal problem by getting everyone else involved. They don't want to play guarantee games anymore, so no one should play guarantee games anymore. I highly doubt that's going to fly with many of the other 119 teams who play I-A football.

College football is not a charity, so schools don't generally schedule series that will lose them a good deal of money over an alternative. Until Boise State expands up to that 44,000, it's not going to find any more sympathetic ears than it already has. Until then, the best it can hope for is two-for-ones and not introducing ridiculous proposals to the NCAA.