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The Ideal College Football Schedule

I love college football. If it is a 10 on my scale, every other sport is a 5 or less. But there are plenty of ways to tinker with this great sport to make it a little better. One of them would be scheduling, and if I was the scheduling czar of college football here is what I would do...

I've had the idea in my head for the last few years that it would be a good idea to allow teams to play an optional "preseason" game against a FCS team in one of the two weeks leading up to Labor Day Weekend. There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) it allows for an almost certain win before preparing for tougher competition in Week 1. (2) It knocks out most of the boring FCS games early. (3) It creates two bye weeks during the season so the players can rest and fans can savor the ever-fleeting regular season a little more. (4) When we are all dying to see the first games in mid-August, this is a great appetizer. I also would go back to FCS games not counting toward bowl eligibility. So, if you win this game you still have to win six other games. The FCS game would count towards the overall record, but not towards going to a bowl.

There would be a big incentive to play that "preseason" FCS game in this fantasy world because I'd like to create a conference challenge in Week 1 (a.k.a. Labor Day Weekend). I'd like to see Big Ten vs. SEC, PAC 12 vs. Big 12, Big Ten vs. PAC 12, Big 12 vs. SEC, etc. etc. It would be PAC 12 #3 vs. SEC #3, then Big Ten #6 vs. SEC #6 and so on. Wherever each team finished the year before, they have a predetermined match-up the next year in Week 1. There's no doubt this would create plenty of buzz, and would be a lot of fun before the all important conference schedule starts.

Week 2 would be a mandatory non-conference game before all conference play starts in Week 3. I'd like for it to be this way so there is plenty of conference games each week. I hate it when there are four huge SEC games one week and then one good game the next because five teams are playing Sun Belt teams. The only non-conference breathers from here on out would be the homecoming game.

While I'm at it, there has to be something done with the start times. The ESPN contract the SEC has is great, but it's left us with a stand-alone 11:30 game, 2:30 game and then five or six games at 6:30. With the addition of Mizzou and A&M it will be even more bunched together at night. How about playing two early games, then starting a game around 4:30 in case the CBS game gets out of hand. And stagger them from there. 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30.

Of course, if I'm doing the scheduling I'd have to propose an 8-team playoff. Honestly, I think the 4-team playoff is probably the best way to determine a champion. But the thought of a Saturday with four college football playoff games is amazing. Play those games the Saturday before Christmas - a couple of weeks after the conference championship games. There's nothing going on that day anyway....what a great day it would be.