The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

September 4, 2013

B10 won't penalize schools that schedule FCS teams

(Continued)

Taking FCS schools out of the pool of potential opponents will add to the challenge of scheduling.

The Big Ten will go from eight to nine conference games beginning in 2016. That means each school will have four home conference games one year and five the next.

Athletic departments ideally need seven home games to make ends meet. To reach that threshold, FBS schools have turned to FCS programs. In return, the FCS school shows up to (usually) take a beating and goes home with a paycheck for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When FBS schools schedule non-conference games against each other, both parties typically desire a home-and-home series. Sometimes a lower-level FBS school will accept a two-for-one deal, and sometimes cash is involved.

But if a Big Ten team wants to schedule a fellow FBS opponent with no obligation for a return date, it's going to cost big bucks.

"For the (FBS) teams that are available," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said, "it's probably a good thing for them. It drives the market up a little bit."

Every Big Ten team except Michigan and Penn State is playing an FCS opponent this season. Three of those games are this week: Missouri State at Iowa, Indiana State at Purdue and Tennessee Tech at Wisconsin.

Big Ten teams are scheduled to play nine FCS opponents in 2014, including Michigan's opener against, yes, Appalachian State.

The number of FCS opponents penciled in by Big Ten teams drops to four in 2015, two in 2016 and one in 2017.

The Big Ten is 72-6 against FCS teams since 1998, according to STATS. The Southeastern Conference is a nation-leading 111-2 in those games over that span.

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson has mixed feelings about the loss of FCS opponents. His Hoosiers opened with a 73-35 win over FCS Indiana State, whose campus is about 65 miles away from Bloomington, Ind.

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