If there’s one thing college football fans don’t really enjoy, it’s paying to watch their team light up an undermanned FCS team ... Well, except maybe actually losing to one (looking at you Iowa State).
This year, for the first time since 2011, Cowboy fans will be happy to know OSU doesn’t have an FCS team on the schedule. OSU is set this season with a home visit from Tulsa followed by road trips to South Alabama and Pittsburgh.
It would be nice to see OSU do away with FCS games all together. Obviously they don’t agree since they just added one to 2020. With that in mind, I went to look at the Cowboy’s non-conference schedules for the next few years.
Here they are through 2024, courtesy of FBSchedules.com.
2020 and 2021’s schedules are filled with games against Rice, Tulsa (2), Oregon State, Western Illinois, and Boise State. The Cowboys have open dates in the next two seasons, 2018 and 2019; they need a season opener for 2018, and a week two opponent in 2019.
Look, I don’t love games against FCS teams. There is ZERO value to them; win and no one cares, lose and your whole season is garbage. Even if it is to North Dakota State.
However, if the justification for adding one in 2019 is that OSU already has a Power 5 team on the schedule, I suppose I could let it slide. Even though that P5 team is an Oregon State squad that hasn’t had a winning season since 2013 (they went 7-6 with a bowl win over Boise State). If that’s the case, then 2019 will look a lot like 2020.
So we turn our attention to 2018.
Right now the schedule has two home games, Boise State and South Alabama.
So what should OSU do with it’s open spot in 2018? There are four options: Power 5 team, Group of 5 team, FCS team, or another bye week.
With this option, there are two directions the team can go; a home-and-home or a neutral site game.
With the home-and-home OSU could offer to travel for 2019 and get the return trip later, say 2024. I actually think this would be a better option than the neutral site one-off, due to the fact that most of the established kick-off games (ie: Advocare Texas Kick-Off, Advocare Classic) are set through 2020.
The Chick-Fil-A Kick-off game does have an opening. They’ve been scheduling two games, one on Saturday and one on Monday, and so far only has one match-up set for 2018; Auburn v.s. Washington.
Before we go crazy and start listing teams that OSU would NEVER schedule (Ohio State, USC, Alabama, etc...) let’s take a look at who actually has openings the first weekend of 2018. For this exercise we will only look at teams with an open spot on opening weekend. Yes, if a team really wanted to play OSU schedules could be moved around, but that’s too complicated for this exercise.
- Georgia Tech (9/01 - open | 09/08 - at USF | 09/29 - Bowling Green | 11/24 - at Georgia)
Facing the "Option Offense" would be both interesting and terrifying.
- Syracuse (9/01 - open | 09/29 - UConn | 11/17 - at Notre Dame | TBA - Wagner)
A trip to New York would be fun for Cowboy fans. You can even stop by the OSU bar Stillwater in NYC!
- Florida (9/01 - open | 09/15 - Colorado State | 11/17 - Idaho | 11/24 - at Florida State)
Obviously of the three options, this would be the best.
That’s it folks. Those are all of the Power-5 teams with an open spot in their schedule to open the season. Any of those three would be great for the Chick-Fil-A Kick-off which usually has at least one SEC or ACC team in it. All three would make for decent home-and-homes.
Group of 5
Outside of the home-and-home with Boise State and a one-off scheduled with Rice in 2021, OSU loves to schedule two-for-ones with middle to lower tier G5 teams. In this case, they usually schedule the road game first (see South Alabama this year, Central Michigan in 2015).
You could argue that Boise State is a talented enough team that adding a third G5 team to the non-conference slate will make for a sneaky difficult schedule. Granted that would depend on how good the third team is.
With that in mind, similar to the Power 5, let’s take a look at all of the G5 teams with an opening on 9/01.
- UCF (9/01 - open | 09/15 - at North Carolina | 09/22 - Florida Atlantic | 09/29 - Pittsburgh)
Despite a winless season in 2015, Scott Frost turned the team around quickly getting them back to a bowl game last season. A respectable opponent.
- UAB (9/01 - open | 09/08 - at Coastal Carolina | 09/15 - Tulane | 09/22 - at Texas A&M)
After a two year hiatus, UAB will field a football team again starting this season, so they probably won’t be very good next year.
- Western Michigan (9/01 - open | 09/08 - at Michigan | 09/15 - open | 09/22 - at Georgia State)
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve had my fill of directional-Michigan programs.
- Louisiana-Monroe (9/01 - open | 09/08 - at Southern Miss | 10/06 - at Ole Miss | 11/17 - at Texas A&M)
I mean... sure why not.
That’s four options, but only one I would "like to see".
Football Championship Subdivision
I’m not breaking down every FCS schedule. Plus, since you would only be paying them for one game, it wouldn’t matter.
I assume OSU is considering Boise State the "Power 5" opponent for 2018. Yeah, I just don’t buy that. I get the reputation of Boise State, but I’m not so high on them that I believe they should anchor a Power 5 team’s non-conference schedule.
Boise State is a solid program, I’m glad they’re on the schedule, but adding an FCS school to the 2019 slate would make the non-conference schedule on par with 2015. That one was at Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, and UTSA. Yes Boise State is better than both CMU and UTSA, but not enough to carry a non-conference schedule by themselves.
So what should OSU do with it’s open date in 2018? Should they look to add one of the Power 5 or Group of 5 opponents we suggested, or consider Boise State enough of a challenge and go easy with an FCS team? Or should they take the extra week off?
Vote in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments section. You could see them in a post later this week!