Football Scheduling: What is going on here?

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:50 PM | 0 comments »

I just learned that Auburn in non-conference games will be playing Ball State as well as Furman and West Virginia in 2009. Now, I have two sides to this dilemma. This is one of the smartest moves the athletic department could make or the dumbest. Let me explain.

The pros of playing teams like Furman and Ball State are you let your stars rest a bit during the rough SEC schedule. Furman is a Div I-AA (FCS) school, but has a decent reputation in the South. Ball State at least is a Div I-A (FBS) school this time around unlike previous meetings. West Virginia should drop off next season with the departure of many players after the 2008 season, but the name is still recognizable. With recognition will come more people to look at Auburn at that point in the season.

The cons are that Auburn will only have one, maybe two if the last non-conference opponent is decent, to showcase itself. Many voters are keying in on the non-conference match-ups to determine position in the polls and the BCS. This hurts Auburn if they get the pieces to go for the national title.

I tend to side with the pros of this situation since the national champion is determined by people's opinion of a team instead of letting the teams prove it on the field. I am always looking for that SEC crown first before the national title. It has become such a rat race for the championship that it isn't even appealing to me anymore, though I will say I will jump for joy if Auburn gets the opportunity to play in the title game. A drought of 51 years since the last national title will do that to a fan.

Regardless of what the schedule looks like, every game matters. The SEC West is what Auburn needs to go for first, and they have made that their goal each and every year. After the West, will come the SEC title game. After the SEC, possibly the national championship. It all starts with winning the West, which my early prognostications seem to have Auburn in that position at the end of the season.