*Updated: Was the 73 meant be a 63? Matt Hinton of Dr Saturday has the scoop. Wiz take: Even at 63, it would probably be the biggest pointspread in college football history, eclipsing the 59.5 points Hawaii spotted Northern Colorado in a 2007 season opener. Hawaii won, 63-6, and failed to cover.
It has come to this in college football. Danny Sheridan of USA Today has made Florida a 73-point favorite in its Sept. 5 opening game against Division I-AA Charleston Southern. It's believed to be the largest pointspread ever for a college football game.
Las Vegas normally doesn't post lines on games involving Division I-A teams playing I-AA opponents for obvious reasons. It's simply not a fair fight. I-A teams are allowed to have 85 players on scholarship, I-AA teams only 63. There are a myriad of other reasons, but Sheridan occasionally puts a number on such a game.
But seriously, isn't it about time the NCAA put an end to such games? Since the NCAA adopted the divisional setup in 1978, only five I-A teams have not played a I-AA opponent. Those teams are Michigan State, Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and Washington. The Spartans fall off the list Sept. 5 because they play host to Montana State.
It's also time for the Bowl Championship Series put a strength-of-schedule component with teeth in its formula.
These issues impact you, the fan. Aren't you tired of paying higher prices for tickets and getting less? And if you want decent seats, you have to give money to the alumni association. All this in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. What are you getting in return? Charleston Southern?
College football has become nothing short of a scam, with coaches making millions of dollars and abusing fan rights by scheduling creampuff opponents in order to 1) go to a bowl game and 2) get another year on a rollover contract. Athletic directors, whose employment is often tied to the success of the football program, simply play along.
The excuses given for such behavior are 1) the conference schedule is so brutally tough, we have to schedule a couple of creampuffs and 2) we need a seventh or eighth home game to pay the bills.
Cry me a river. It's a man's sport, so try acting like one and play somebody. As for paying the bills, try exercising some fiscal responsibility, especially when it comes to awarding multimillion dollar contracts to coaches.
Back to Florida, which has set the gold standard in the scheduling of creampuff opponents. In the 1980s, when high-flying Miami was kicking Florida's tail, the Gators decided to end the series. (Yes, the teams have played three times since, but the annual event is no more.) The "excuse" given was that Florida wanted to play a nonconference schedule that would give it more national visibility.
So what has become of that national schedule? Florida last played an out-of-state regular season nonconference game in 1991, a 38-21 loss at Syracuse. The Gators last played a regular season game west of the Mississippi in 1983 when they traveled to USC and battled the Trojans to a 19-19 tie.
As for Charleston Southern, one can only hope it isn't looking past the Gators. The Buccaneers travel to Wofford the following week. That's the same Wofford that somehow found its way on Wisconsin's schedule. Bret Bielema, defending his weak nonconference schedule, said big-name teams wanted nothing to do with the Badgers, especially on Wisconsin's home turf.
Oh really? That's an interesting way to spin it considering that ESPN attempted to broker a game between Wisconsin and Texas this fall. The truth here is that Bielema, whose program is sliding fast, wanted nothing to do with the Longhorns.
Welcome to college football, 2009.