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Why schedule tough teams?

Washington not risking a loss with a weak non-conference schedule didn't hurt them. So why should a team ever schedule a non-conference game against a good team?

Washington not risking a loss with a weak non-conference schedule didn’t hurt them. So why should a team ever schedule a non-conference game against a good team?

The college football playoff selection committee set a dangerous precedent by putting the Washington Huskies in the college football playoffs. At 12-1 with a 31-point victory over he No. 8 team in the country to win the Pac-12 Championship certainly seems very deserving of spot in the playoffs, and purely on the eye test they look like they could be one of the four best teams in the country. For all we know, they can be their ultra-physical selves and have Heisman contender Jake Browning throw all over the place and lead the Huskies to a championship. But by selecting the Washington Huskies into the college football playoffs the selection committee said they will reward victories over playing good competition.

The Washington Huskies non-conference schedule was atrocious, rankings near the bottom of all of FBS football in terms of strength, just 127th out of 128 programs. The combined strength of schedule of their non-conference opponents was 12-20. Their non-conference schedule included quite possibly the worst power-conference Rutgers (2-10), a middle of the road Sun Belt team Idaho (8-4) and a bad Division I FCS team Portland State (2-6).

Washington never put themselves in a position to suffer a non-conference loss that could have potentially killed their chances to make the playoffs. Instead they packed on three easy victories to start their season and took their chance that they would win the conference; which they did. Their one loss to USC on their home field isn’t a death nail because they are still just a one-loss team.

James Franklin might be regretting his decision to renew a great rivalry with Pittsburgh when his loss there took his team out while Washington got into the playoffs with the second-easiest non-conference schedule in the country.

James Franklin might be regretting his decision to renew a great rivalry with Pittsburgh when his loss there took his team out while Washington got into the playoffs with the second-easiest non-conference schedule in the country.

The powers that be in college football should not allow this as acceptable. Now, they clearly stated that there is absolutely no point in playing tough non-conference games. The first few weeks of the season might as well just be good teams playing terrible teams with no reason to watch any of it.

While Washington was just securing victories over losses against bad teams, Big Ten champion Penn State and Big 12 champion Oklahoma as well as Michigan each went out and risked losses in their non-conference seasons. For the Nittany Lions and the Sooners, those games have come back to haunt them while Washington is being rewarded for not playing anybody.

Penn State was lauded for renewing a rivalry against their in-state foe Pittsburgh. They went to the Steel City, played in a hostile environment against a team that also handed Clemson their only loss of the season. They lose that game by three points. Had they replaced it with an FCS opponent, we may be talking about a 12-1 Big Ten champion that beat Ohio State and impressive came back to beat Wisconsin to win the title and also beat the American Athletic Conference champion Temple in a non-conference game. Nobody would say that team should be out, whether they loss by 39 points to the Wolverines or not.

Oklahoma gave fans tremendous games to watch against Houston and Ohio State. They lost both, and deservedly so they shouldn’t be in the playoffs because it was clear they were the inferior team in both of those games, but they ended up finishing undefeated against conference opponents. Had they just played Lamar and Virginia we might instead me talking about an undefeated Big 12 team that might be fighting with Alabama for the No. 1 ranking.

Michigan didn’t suffer a loss in non-conference play, but they did beat Colorado and only suffered two road losses in the best conference in the country, and both on the final plays of the game.

With the college football selection committee rewarding Washington for going 12-1 without considering who the wins were against, their doesn’t seem to be a point in teams scheduling games against remotely respectable opponents during their non-conference season. They might as well just take the easy victories, hope to win their conference and watch and laugh when two top five teams square off and one takes the other out of playoff contention.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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