So saith Saban,
Nick Saban floats the idea of five conferences playing all their games against each other | Dr. Saturday - Yahoo!
"I’m for five conferences – everybody playing everybody in those five conferences," Saban told AL.com, in response to a question about the Big Ten saying it might not schedule FCS teams anymore. "That’s what I’m for, so it might be 70 teams, and everybody’s got to play ’em. …"
I'm hoping this is just bluster. Maybe it's just a matter of a famous person spit-balling on the spot without forethought or a cheap ploy to curtail the recent increase in payouts to mid majors for home games. P5 Fans should have similar hopes because it's not only the mid-majors who lose out if the power5 decide to cut them out completely.
Sure UB enjoys the million dollar paycheck they get for going to Tennessee, or Georgia, or Ohio State. After the expenses of the trip that game probably covers about 3-4% of UB's overall athletic budget. It's also a chance to shock the world, and build interest among local fan bases.
Other programs, most notably Boise, TCU, and Utah have parlayed regular wins against the P5 into national prominence. Drawing a rigid line right now will hurt a programs chances of growing.
So yea, the way it hurts mid majors is easy to see but ending paycheck games would hurt the P5 more than the mid major schools.
Let's not pretend the Power five conference are playing FCS and Mid-Majors because they like spending money on games or because they are just so gosh darn nice. The SEC teams have been playing these games because it means more money than they would get if they did *not* play the games.
Yea I'm sure Ohio State fans would rather have Alabama come in on week one than Buffalo but is there any doubt they are going to sell out either way? These opening games against Mid Majors sell out because, well, it's the opening game. So Ohio State spends one million dollars to sell out a game, a game the B1G collects TV revenue for, and it costs them no return date.
How do you think it is that Florida plays eight home games a year? Do you think for a one million dollar check Virginia Tech will come into the swamp and play the season opening game? No the Hookies would want a return game which would cost Florida millions of dollars the following year.
Lets be clear, Ohio State is going to net five million or more when they host UB this year. They are paying the Bulls a million dollars for the game. That put's their net at 4 million or more, is OSU really going to throw away four million dollars every other year? I mean they are rich but not stupid.
So let's do the math. Eight home games per year versus six, that's more than a ten million dollar net change in an elite teams budget. Mid Majors would go from five FBS homes games and a payout to the FCS schools to six games, losing a million net. They would also save about 1-200 K on the FCS games they buy to offset the road trip.
No it would not replace the money they lose on those pay check games but dollar for dollar the Mid Majors would be hurt less than the P5 teams if a line was drawn between them.
Then we can also acknowledge a lot of the Power Five teams who hit six wins do so at the expense of a Mid Major. How many five win mid majors last year had a loss to a power conference? how many power conference mebers had six wins and a win over a mid major.
I think the B1G has a healthy approach to the new playoff world. Go to nine conference games, get rid of FCS contests and then pick up one or two payday games with historical rivals or teams in your footprint for a home opener or very early in the season. If a member school decides that they don't want eight home games a year, or cant risk the shame of hosting a middie than so be it, their loss.
Any organized collusion to freeze out the MAC, MWC, AAC, Belt, or CUSA would not help the 70 teams Saben is talking about. At most it might help a few in each conference, Vandy might become the new Western Kentucky, Indiana the new Eastern Michigan, Iowa State the new Buffalo.
I can see it now "Hey Cyclone's, it's Urban.. Would want to come play a home opener in Columbus? You can keep whatever you find in our couch cushions". Good luck with that Power 5.
Let's face it, the system works, and it works for both parties. It's as capitalistic as it gets! The P5 have something we need, money and exposure. We have something they need, warm bodies for a home game and a path to a bowl game.