Tomato can or cupcake scheduling. Where is the limit?

Submitted by Steve in PA on October 6th, 2010 at 3:06 PM

I live very close to Bucknell (yes, that Bucknell) and there is a poorly kept secret going around that they are in negotiations to join PSU's schedule of preseason cupcakes.  Bucknell would apparently net a $500K payday and only have to travel about an hour and a half for the ass-whooping.  

Now, let's look at the history of Bucknell football...bad, bad, and worse.  This year they are 0-4 in the Patriot League.  They would even struggle against the other two nearby D2 schools and I think that the other D3 school would give Bucknell a good game.  They are just bad.

At least the Horror was a top D1a school and UMass is currently loaded with D1 transfers.  Where would you draw the line with cupcake scheduling?



October 6th, 2010 at 3:11 PM ^

There doesn't seem to be any. Great question though. If they'd consider making games like this automatic negative points in the national BCS rankings, that might help.

A playoff system along the lines of hoops where games like this actually harm the team that plays them, might really help.

Steve in PA

October 6th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

PSU gets teams who are getting better off the schedule fast.  Temple and Louisville are two teams that fell off the schedule.  Temple got bad and went back on, but I think they will fall off again.  Louisville may go back on though.


October 6th, 2010 at 3:21 PM ^

It doesn't seem like it's worth it to schedule teams like App. State and UMass. You get no credit for winning and if you happen to lose . . . . Those teams are probably better than some schools from BCS conferences anyway. I think we'd be better off with Vandy, Duke, and Rutgers type teams on the schedule.


October 6th, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

For the record, it's 1a and 1aa (well now it's FBS and FCS). We are in 1a (FBS) and App State/Umass are 1aa (FCS). Just a little pet peeve of mine.


October 6th, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

I would prefer to play a schedule like what Michigan has put together this year rather than watch us destroy North Southern Baptist Community School for the Blind each week.  One game a year like this maybe, but a schedule like some schools put out there is getting to be pretty stupid and not worth watching.


October 6th, 2010 at 4:03 PM ^

The SEC conference began the tradition of playing 1-AA teams...either in the early 90's or mid 80's.  This past Summer, I watched our game against Colorado from 1996.  That was the "Fail Mary" game in Boulder.  Towards the end of the game, Keith Jackson and Bob Griese reviewed our schedule for the following year which, obviously ended up being our national championship season.  They pointed out that we had a difficult road ahead because we were playing 8 teams that went to bowl games that year.  And our non-conference schedule consisted of Colorado and Notre Dame who, at the time, were much better than they are now. 

Keith Jackson then said, "That schedule is just too tough.  If Michigan wants to challenge for a national title, they're going to have to dumb down their non-conference schedule and do what the SEC conference does and schedule some 1-AA teams."  Apparently, that was real logic at the time.  Schedule easy wins.  But fastforward 13 years and it's gotten out of hand.  Now it seems to be a requirement to schedule 1-AA teams.


October 6th, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^

We are going to keep scheduling cup cakes (FCS schools).
<br>If we are going to schedule a cupcake I'd much rather have them be DSU than app st or umass.
<br>A cupcake is a cupcake but id rather see a really really delicious cupcake than one that you aren't sure is spoiled (I tried)


October 6th, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^

Personally I'd like to see Michigan go back to the days of scheduling schools like FSU, Colorado, Virginia, etc.  Admittedly, scheduling those schools would be a loss in gate revenue because they would have to be home and home games but it would end any question of strength of schedule.  My ideal non-conference schedule would be like this:

1.  Cupcake like EMU for tuning up.  The sting of being in Washington DC one year when Michigan got beat by ND still burns.  A few years later, I got the same sting while I was in Chicago but I still wore my blue.

2.  Notre Dame - I hope Michigan keeps them on the schedule

3.  A Premier BCS team.  I like the idea of them scheduling Alabama in 2012.

4.  A Moderate team to get ready for the Big 10.  Not one of the bottom dwellers like EMU but somewhere along the lines of Navy.


October 6th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

The school, the athletic department need the revenue that comes from these cupcakes. They are a virtually guaranteed win (knock on wood) and everybody does it.
<br>If you want Michigan in the national title game we cannot play a non conference slate that you would on your xbox.
<br>I only want 1-2 teams that have a chance in the non-con and 2 cupcakes


October 6th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

Well I hate the idea that in order to win the National Championship you have to schedule lesser competition.  I think a team excels when it raises the bar.  By scheduling better competition, you see where you need to be.  And quite honestly, an early season loss against say Alabama isn't going to hurt your chances towards the end of the season.  Especially if that loss is close.

But I guess as long as the National Championship is based on style points, you are probably right.

Zone Left

October 6th, 2010 at 4:03 PM ^

Teams will keep scheduling easy wins as long as gate revenues remain strong, six wins guarantees bowl eligibility, and the human voters reward wins with higher rankings.

None of these things will change soon.


October 6th, 2010 at 4:12 PM ^

I think this year's schedule is actually pretty good, and would be perfect if the UMass game is replaced by a ninth Big10 game.  I know I'm in the minority, but I don't care all that much about trying to go 13-0 and go to some crappy mythical National Championship Game.  Give me a hard OOC schedule, so the team is prepped for the big10 slate.  The biggest confidence booster I have for Saturday is that this is MSU's first real road game, and that may trip them up a little. 


October 6th, 2010 at 6:57 PM ^

Scheduling on the off-chance that this is the year you're going to make the MNC game is impossible, not least since schedules are set several years in advance. If the team is going to be good enough to reach that game then they're probably going to be good enough to play a respectable OOC schedule.

That doesn't mean playing Bama, Texs, USC etc every year. But there's no need to be playing Baby Seals either.

As for the financial side of things: well, Michigan is one of the wealthiest schools in the country. And with increased revenue arriving from the BTN that will only continue to be the case. In other words, if any school can afford to give up 1 home game every 2 years it's a school such as UM.

So who to play? I'd have Eastern, Western and Central on a 3 year rotation. Then there's ND and, who knows, perhaps occasional blockbuster games such as against Bama in 2012. But for the final game, home and home's with the likes of: UCLA, Texas A&M, Arkansas, UNC, Pitt, Arizona, Clemson etc seem like a good way to go.

Not only would these give UM fans in other parts of the country a greater chance of attending games, they'd also increase exposure in other parts of the country. More to the point, a strong UM should win most of these games and benefit from their opponents success too.

It's a shame UConn flopped against Temple; but were they to go on to win the Big East we'd look better still. An OOC game each year that gave the chance for that sort of kind-of reflected kudos would be good thing. That's an argument, actually, for scheduling respectable teams from wide-open but not terrifying conferences such as the Big East and the ACC. Sometimes you'll strike it rich and have an additional victory against a team that qualifies for a BCS bowl itself...


October 6th, 2010 at 8:24 PM ^

Until there is a playoff involving all conference champions, it doesn't make sense to schedule more than one non-conference team with a legitimate chance of winning.  Especially with the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten next season, the Big Ten will be tough enough that anyone who makes it through undefeated will get a bid to the title game.