Want to know why the Big Ten is actively discussing 9 or even 10 conference games? Why the ACC may have reversed course for now on 9 games, but may revisit in the future? Why the Pac-12 and Big 12 are already at 9 conference games?
It simply is not cheap to rent-a-patsy any longer.
Pitt will pay ODU $375,000 to play at Heinz Field next season, but that’s not as much as both North Carolina ($450,000) and ECU ($430,000) are paying. ECU’s is paying out $250,000 in cash and giving ODU 4,000 tickets with a face value of $180,000.
Maryland is paying ODU $350,000.
Idaho will pay ODU $150,000, but the Monarchs are scheduled to give that same amount back in 2019 when the Vandals play a return game to Norfolk.
In all, ODU is raking in almost $1.8 million in guarantees, which [ODU AD Wood] Selig said would go toward paying FCS opponents to come to Norfolk and for travel expenses.
It’s getting expensive just to buy a 1-AA team. Now imagine how much it costs for a guarantee game from the MAC or Sun Belt. Those are seven-figure games if you don’t make it a 2-for-1 (Hello, Akron road trip in 2015). Sure most of the SEC and Big 10 can afford it, and have stadiums they fill that more than cover the cost. Still, there are reasons 106 out of 125 1-A programs have a 1-AA team on their schedule. And only 9 schools in a BCS conference don’t have a 1-AA opponent.
So, no. I don’t like seeing 1-AA teams on the schedule, but I’m not surprised any longer. It’s almost become a necessary evil if you want to have seven home games every year.
Now this year’s schedule has no weekday games — aside from ones on a holiday weekend. The ACC has Thursday night games with ESPN, but for now that is it on weekday games.
The schedule is also more traditional, with 10 Saturdays after several Wednesday and Friday night games in recent Big East seasons.
“I hope we never do that again in my lifetime,” Pederson said of Wednesday games. “We have normal college football.”
Hopefully Wednesday and Friday games will be the province of MACtion and Big East remaindermen.
Heather Dinich at the ESPN ACC blog ranks Pitt’s non-con schedule as 4th best. Seems about right.
With the move to the ACC, kicking off with FSU. Plus Notre Dame at home, there is no question that this is Pitt’s best home slate since 2003. I have no doubt, that like 2003, the season tickets will sell out this year. As for whether it is reflected in physical attendance. That will depend very much on what Pitt does against FSU to start the season.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN and will be the only Division I-A game that night.
“It provides a great opportunity because of the challenges,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “We’re excited and proud to be going into the ACC and what better way for us to do it than to play against the defending champions?”
I guess the one thing that puzzles me is this: was there really any serious debate in the Pittsburgh area about jumping at the opportunity to host FSU to start the season? Or was this sports radio BS where the hosts tried to pretend there was a real debate to this issue. I ask because there was the Starkey article before it went through and then the Cook column afterwards. Both making what look to me like fake controversy over the issue as they side with the obvious choice of definitely doing it.