Scheduling perfect for BCS era
CJ Kaltenbach | Friday, October 30, 2009
In a perfect world it would be great if you could play 12 great games as suggested in Associate Sports Editor Sam Werner’s “Football Commentary: Schedule for 2010 not acceptable” (Oct. 29); however the current BCS format prevents that from being a reality. One loss and you are most likely out of the title consideration, two losses and you are holding onto your BCS lives.
The reality is that the Notre Dame football program, can’t have a schedule that includes Alabama, Boise, TCU, Utah, Michigan, Michigan State and USC on a yearly basis. That is just asking your football team to go 9-3 at best and go to the Gator Bowl.
The purpose of the program is to win a national title and you have to set your team up for success. Look at the title contenders strength of schedule (SOS) this year, in the Colley Matrix Rankings, which are a part of the BCS computer rankings, Notre Dame’s schedule is currently the 13th hardest in the country. Alabama’s is 37th, Florida’s 36th, Texas 51st and BCS Buster and top five team TCU, is ranked 82nd. Now I want to look at the other pre-season BCS Title and BCS bowl hopefuls. Oklahoma has three losses already, granted this is partly due to the Bradford injury, but its SOS is currently 15th in the country.
Virginia Tech was a preseason top-five team which now has two losses, is out of title contention and needs help to reach the BCS. Their SOS is the second hardest in the country. In fact the lowest SOS that has a legitimate title shot is only the 25th strongest. In fact no team in the top 20 SOS has fewer than two losses. For Notre Dame to make themselves a title contender they need to lower the SOS, and unfortunately that includes playing some non-BCS schools to boost your win total.
Granted the 7-4-1 system is not the best in the world but it would be workable if Notre Dame used it the correct way. Instead of using the one neutral site game on cellar dwellers Washington State or Army, we should use that game to take on a top level opposition. That way we don’t have to return a road game, and we still get the great game on the schedule. This then gives us seven home games, of which four will be used on the traditional games, which gives us three home dates to pick teams.
As illustrated above you can’t stack it with three tough games. If you do what Notre Dame has elected to do for the 2010 season and schedule two easier games (Western Michigan and Tulsa) and another tough game (Utah), you’ve got yourself a pretty good schedule. You would be play Utah, USC, Michigan State, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Alabama. While that in itself is probably too hard a schedule it would be in the mid-30s and give us a shot at the BCS.
In the 21st century of football in the BCS era, scheduling has to change in order to give your football team a shot at a BCS bowl and in a great season a shot at a national title. While its unfortunate that we can’t play top 25 teams every week, the new schedule will make Notre Dame a better program in the long run and that is what we all want in the end.