College Football Goes Through Numerous Offseason Changes

June 11, 2005 by Dave Congrove

The NCAA board of directors, meeting in Indianapolis, approved proposals on June 9th that will add a 12th game to college football schedules beginning with the 2006 season.

Ostensibly, schools would have to forego a bye week to schedule their 12th game as the calendar period during which games can be scheduled was not altered.

Additionally, schools can count one victory over a 1-AA opponent toward its bowl eligibility every year. Previously, schools could do such just once every four years.

In light of the increased size of athletic conferences, the new "1-AA rule" move should make it easier for administrators to schedule non-conference games against worthy opponents. 1-AA schools such as defending champion James Madison might now find it easier to get on the schedule of higher-profile in-state schools on a regular basis.

The benefits to college football fans are numerous. More games, possibly more home games, and perhaps even some extra marquee non-conference games. Top schools may not be as reluctant to add a top twenty school to their schedule if they can offset the risk of a loss with the scheduling of a 1-AA program.

Those major NCAA changes add to other events that had already taken place. Conference realignment takes hold in extreme fashion this year with every conference except the PAC-10, Big 10, Big 12 and SEC sporting at least one new member.

The latest switch took place on May 17, 2005 when Temple accepted an invitation to join the MAC. The Owls had previously been slated to operate as an Independent for 2005. Temple will be eligible for one of the MAC's bowl slots and TV revenue in 2005 and 2006, but they will not be allowed to compete for the league title until 2007.

In previous months, the ACC and CUSA announced they would stage a conference championship game between the winners of each division. And several conferences - ACC, Big East, Mountain West, Pac-10 and SEC - adopted a version of the Big 10's successful instant replay system to correct officiating mistakes.

The bowl season lost the Silicon Valley Classic when it was decertified by the NCAA on April 20. However, it certified one new bowl for San Diego which will be called "the Poinsettia Bowl".

The BCS is being forced into changes for the 2005 season. The AP told the BCS to stop using its media poll in its weekly formula back in December of last season. More recently, ESPN said it wanted its name taken off the coaches poll. ESPN had shared the coaches poll title with USA Today since 1997. A component system for 2005 is not yet in place.