Monday we took a broad look at the schedules for the 2012 season, and today we're spotlighting the 12 worst games of the season involving Big Six league teams and FCS programs. Wednesday, we'll look at the 12 best nonconference games of the season.
Unfortunately for fans, there were a lot more games to choose from for this story than Wednesday's.
A couple of things:
• We know that some of the Big Six teams we're picking today do have some good nonconference games. And we're aware that some of these spotlighted games were scheduled at the last minute. But that in no way absolves anyone of blame. Bottom line: These games are pitiful. Fans have to shell out big bucks to see fare that, to steal a lyric from the band Drive-By Truckers, is so disgusting that even wild dogs would disregard the bones.
• We are not being derisive of or impugning FCS football. We're not averse to FBS/FCS games per se. What we don't like are Big Six teams – especially the ones that have clout – scheduling games against bad FCS teams. "Bad" is the operative word. For the most part, Big Six teams don't want anything to do with top-level FCS programs. There are some exceptions, among them Richmond at Virginia and Eastern Kentucky at Purdue on Sept. 1, New Hampshire at Minnesota and Eastern Washington at Washington State on Sept. 8, Northern Iowa at Iowa and Sam Houston State at Baylor on Sept. 15 and Georgia Southern at Georgia on Nov. 17.
Unfortunately, there are far more bad FBS-FCS games to choose from. Here are the 12 most cringe-worthy games this season involving Big Six schools and FCS programs.
12. Presbyterian at Georgia Tech on Sept. 8: Presbyterian was 4-7 last season and has won 10 games in the past four seasons as it transitioned from Division II to the FCS ranks. The Blue Hose have played three games against FBS teams in the past two seasons and lost by a combined 174-46 (average score: 58-15).
11. Nicholls State at Oregon State on Sept. 1: The Beavers are coming off back-to-back losing seasons and seem hell-bent on opening this season with a win (though they lost their opener last season to FCS member Sacramento State). Nicholls State, from Thibodaux, La., has won a combined 11 games in the past four seasons, including a 1-10 mark last season. The Colonels have had a losing record in 19 of the past 23 seasons. In its past eight games against FBS opponents, dating to 2007, Nicholls State has been outscored 375-82 (average score: 47-10).
10. Tennessee Tech at Oregon on Sept. 15: Tennessee Tech – which is coached by Watson Brown – was 7-4 last season, just its fifth winning record in the past 14 seasons. The Golden Eagles have played nine games against FBS opponents in the past six seasons; they have allowed 398 points and scored just 44 in those matchups (average score: 44-5).
9. Fordham at Cincinnati on Oct. 13: Fordham first started playing football in 1881 and has some big names in its football past (among them Vince Lombardi). But the Rams were 1-10 last season and have had a losing record in 19 of the past 23 seasons. Cincy will be just the third FBS opponent for Fordham, which lost by a combined 88-3 to Army and Connecticut last season (those teams finished a combined 8-16).
8. The Citadel at North Carolina State on Sept. 22: The Citadel was 4-7 last season, its 16th losing record in the past 19 seasons. The Bulldogs are 0-17 against FBS opponents since the beginning of the 2000 season and have been outscored 732-175 (average score: 43-10) in those games.
7. Charleston Southern at Illinois on Sept. 15: Charleston Southern began playing football in 1991 and has had four winning records in its history. The Bucs, who were 0-11 last season, have played 11 games against FBS opponents in their history; they have been outscored 627-98 (average score: 57-9) in those contests.
6. Northern Colorado at Utah on Aug. 30: Northern Colorado is coming off an 0-11 season; the Bears have won a combined nine games in the past six seasons, winning one or fewer games four times in that span. Northern Colorado has played one FBS school in each of the past five seasons and been outscored 232-40 (average score: 46-8) in those games.
5. Austin Peay at Virginia Tech on Sept. 8: Austin Peay was 3-8 last season and has had just five winning records since 1980; just two of those have come since 1985. The Governors have won a combined 11 games in the past four seasons. The Hokies will be Austin Peay's sixth FBS opponent since 2002; the Governors have been outscored 266-55 (average score: 53-11) in the other five.
4. Idaho State at Nebraska on Sept. 22: Idaho State was 2-9 last season – and that was the Bengals' best record since 2007. Idaho State has had just five winning records in the past 28 seasons; it has won five combined games in the past four seasons and 15 combined games in the past seven seasons. The Bengals have played 14 FBS opponents since 2000 and lost by an average of 33.2 points.
3. Western Carolina at Alabama on Nov. 17: Western Carolina was 1-10 last season and has had just three winning records since 1994. In the past six seasons, the Catamounts have won a combined 11 games; Western Carolina has played seven games against FBS foes in that span and been outscored 384-50 (average score: 55-7).
2. Savannah State at Florida State on Sept. 8: FSU had to scramble to add this game in February when West Virginia backed out of its scheduled matchup with the Seminoles. There obviously wasn't much to choose from: Savannah State hasn't had a winning record since 1998, when it was a Division II program. This will be just the second FBS opponent in history for the Tigers. The first? Keep reading.
1. Savannah State at Oklahoma State on Sept. 1: Oklahoma State, which arguably was one play away from being chosen for the national championship game last season, will be the first FBS foe for Savannah State. We mentioned that the Tigers haven't had a winning season since 1998; in the ensuing 13 seasons, they have won a combined 25 games. In 10 of those 13 seasons, they have won two or fewer games. T. Boone Pickens has been extremely generous to Oklahoma State's athletic department in the past decade. As one more "thank you" to Pickens, Oklahoma State should allow him to suit up and play quarterback in this one. And, yes, we know Pickens is 83.
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