There's always that one word that seems to resonate in your mind, almost like a CD skipping over the same line. For me, after the first few weeks of the college football season last year, it was parity.
This year, it’s that fluffy little treat with icing on top: cupcakes.
Lisa Horne loves them. Okay, not really, but she writes about them here on the Bleacher. Pat Forde of ESPN writes about them. Lots of sportscasters love talking about them. But it seems everyone is complaining about them.
I’m sure many of you know a child—or maybe you were that child—who cries when told he or she can’t have one.
Just imagine if the mean old man, who we’ll call the NCAA, told a little Athletic Director—whom we’ll assume is Gene Smith (Ohio State’s AD), Joe Castiglione (Sooner AD), or Damon Evans (Georgia’s AD)—"No more!"
With the addition of the 12th game in college football, we’ve seen an influx of Division I-AA (yes, that’s what they’ll always be to me) teams invading the schedules of our beloved powerhouse schools. Why?
For starters, you can’t keep the lights on when you don't pay the bills—and you can't pay the bills without any money.
When a school like OSU has 36 varsity non-revenue sports to support and pledges to do so without tuition dollars, it becomes necessary for schools to schedule in-state cupcakes to bring in the dinero.
Could money be brought in by scheduling big schools like Texas or USC? Certainly.
However, when a I-AA school will come two years in a row to your house and expect nothing but a small paycheck and to roll over and play dead in return, you do it. You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right?
Recently on Mike Tirico’s ESPN Radio show, Tirico and co-host Scott Van Pelt were debating with callers on whether schools should just agree to quit scheduling FCS schools because it is bad for college football.
I’ll agree these games are not entertaining 98 out of 100 times. For the spectators, we’d rather see more Big Ten vs. Pac-10, or ACC vs. Big East matchups over powerhouse vs. directionally challenged schools.
But then that means a ticket price hike for all of us. It could mean higher tuition for schools—who, unlike the Microsoft-like business structure of the OSU Athletic Department, do have to rely on tuition dollars to foot the bill.
I do realize two things. One is that not every major conference power schedules cupcakes. But I will argue that while you may not see FCS cupcakes on their schedules, there are generally the proverbial redheaded stepchildren of Division I somewhere on there.
Secondly, not every major conference power may fall into a financial hole. Maybe they don’t have as many varsity sports that are non-revenue or dependent on revenue sport dollars. Maybe they have really wealthy donors! I am unfortunately not smart enough, nor will I pretend to be, to know how various schools differ.
So what do we do, college football fans? Do we hope that there is a motion to cease scheduling of all FCS cupcakes, to keep games within your own subdivision?
Or do we just agree to suck it up and realize that athletic departments do have to make a buck or two to keep the college football train a-chuggin'?
While I may not like every flavor of cupcake that comes out of my athletic department's kitchen, I do understand why they bake them.
With that in mind, the Pillsbury Doughboy inside of me is calling—or is that just Ohio University this Saturday at noon?