Dienhart: Dropping FCS foes makes total sense

Talking on his radio show last night, Wisconsin A.D. Barry Alvarez said that Big Ten A.D.s have agreed to stop scheduling FCS schools in the future. Alvarez gave no indication on when Big Ten schools would stop playing FCS foes. But, it can’t happen soon enough in what often are little more than glorified scrimmages.

This is the latest item revealed concerning Big Ten schedules, as Commissioner Jim Delany recently said the Big Ten will study a move from an eight- to a nine- or 10-game league schedule.

Several FCS schools are on the schedule of Big Ten teams in 2013:

  • Indiana plays Indiana State
  • Illinois plays Southern Illinois
  • Iowa plays Missouri State
  • Michigan State plays Youngstown State
  • Minnesota plays Western Illinois
  • Nebraska plays South Dakota State
  • Northwestern plays Maine
  • Ohio State plays Florida A&M
  • Purdue plays Indiana State
  • Wisconsin plays Tennessee Tech

Michigan and Penn State are the lone schools with no FCS foe in 2013. Take a bow, Brady Hoke and Bill O’Brien.

Last season, Big Ten teams played eight games vs. FCS foes, winning them all and often in lopsided fashion. Illinois beat Charleston Southern; Indiana beat Indiana State; Iowa beat Northern Iowa; Minnesota beat New Hampshire; Nebraska beat Idaho State; Northwestern beat South Dakota; Purdue beat Eastern Kentucky; Wisconsin beat Northern Iowa.

Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State didn’t play an FCS foe in 2012.

Of course, one of the most epic Big Ten vs. FCS games came in 2007, when Appalachian State won at Michigan, 34-32. And Minnesota lost to South Dakota in 2010 and North Dakota State in 2011.

But, days of upsets like that appear to be finished.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (7 Comments)
Paul Nelson on 2/13/2013 @ 12:44pm EDT Said:

How about something similar for early season, non-conference basketball games? Some of those games are totally ridiculous.

Just on 2/13/2013 @ 3:11pm EDT Said:

You of course don’t point out how Wisconsin almost lost to Northern Iowa last year, NDSU’s record against FBS teams. NDSU finished #35 of the Sagrin poll. Higher than 3/4 of the Big 10. You make no sense in your argument. SDSU almost beat MN, NDSU did…TWICE.

tklab9 on 2/13/2013 @ 6:01pm EDT Said:

This holier than thou attitude from Alvarez and the Big Ten makes me sick. He says scheduling FCS teams “isn’t appealing for fans”. Well, neither is the Big Ten losing 5 of 7 bowl games this year and neither is Wisconsin losing three straight Rose Bowls.

Perhaps he needs to be reminded of the old saying “Those who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones”.

tklab9 on 2/13/2013 @ 6:06pm EDT Said:

You have to realize that the top 5-10 FCS schools are better than a lot of the teams that make it to bowl games with 7-5 records. Beating North Dakota State should carry more weight than beating Eastern Michigan

bkh on 2/20/2013 @ 1:05pm EDT Said:

You also need to do some more homework in your analysis of last season’s “lopsided wins.” Indiana beat Indiana State by a mere 7 points with the Sycamores driving for the winning or tying TD in the closing seconds only to have two obvious pass interference calls NOT made by Big Ten officials. Stop being so biased and report accurately.

thaxman on 4/21/2013 @ 4:09pm EDT Said:

The big ten just needs to face stronger fcs opponents.to be honest i think that a rule should be passed requiring teams competing for a BCS/BOWL GAME to play at least 1 fcs school. Then rankings can be based off of those schools strenghts and ranked accordingly. This rule would foster continued financial support for these programs ,while also providing students the opportunity to face a quality program like an ohio state. The big fear is that other conferences will follow suit. If so it takes away the david and goliath appeal to a national audience, something ncaa march madnesss has if anyone agrees thanks

Joe Black on 5/6/2013 @ 6:36pm EDT Said:

10 in conference big ten per year could certainly help with the competitive balance issue, bring back some trophy games more frequently, increase tv ratings, and help with recruiting. Let’s do it.