We're entering that part of the year where being a college football fan means being concerned with things you don't really want to talk about. Whether or not Wisconsin plays the Austin Peays of the world on into oblivion, or is able to use a crack team of 15-year-old girls to text recruits every minute ultimately doesn't matter to me. At some point, the team will play football games, and that's that.
But we're on the subject now, so let's form an opinion.
ON THE FIRST THING
Barry Alvarez shared a bit of interesting information Tuesday evening: Big Ten schools have agreed to stop scheduling FCS teams in the near future. There are a couple problems with this, the first being that our Director of Athletics just admitted non-conference scheduling has been substandard under his watch for a long time now. If Alvarez knows no one wants to see Wisconsin beat up on a lower-division school, then why has Wisconsin been scheduling those games in the first place?
The second problem is that banning FCS schools doesn't necessarily solve the issue -- it just takes away a big financial windfall for schools that need it. Not scheduling Northern Iowa more likely means getting some MACtion in its place, not a home-and-home with Alabama. There are plenty of cupcakes at the FBS level, too. I don't think a spot in a very exclusive playoff system is enough incentive to start scheduling real teams.
Can we just play UW-Whitewater every year and be done?
ON THE SECOND THING
The Big Ten also released a letter decrying the NCAA's recent recruiting deregulations, which sounds like a good thing until you realize that the NCAA probably thought things through this time. By lifting limits on the number of staff that can be on the road and how often recruits can be contacted, the NCAA no longer has to spend its time enforcing difficult-to-enforce rules.
It's good to worry about the well-being of recruits in this situation. Of course, they have the right to rebel if schools are getting too clingy. As Land-Grant Holy Land points out, similar rules have been in place in college football for over a year, and it doesn't seem to have had an adverse effect on players and/or teams.
Minnesota's struggles under Tubby Smith are becoming too commonplace.
Inspired by Ben Brust, Kenpom crunches spreadsheets and determines that not fouling when up three points in late-game situations is actually the more successful strategy. He doesn't isolate for situations when a team has fouls to give, however, which would have been particularly useful. In any case, the chances of any team hitting a buzzer-beater late when forced to shoot are extremely low.
Wrapping up: About that turtle story.