Big Ten won't be playing FCS teams
ESPN.com news services
February 13, 2013
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Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says Big Ten officials recently agreed to stop scheduling nonconference games against FCS programs.

"The nonconference schedule in our league is ridiculous," Alvarez said on WIBA-AM in Madison, Wis. "It's not very appealing ...

"So we've made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools."

Alvarez didn't say when the agreement would take effect.

Wisconsin has one FCS team on its schedule in 2013, a Sept. 7 meeting against Tennessee Tech.

A source told ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg the ban could start in 2016, with several FCS games already on the books for 2014 and 2015. But it could be a gradual move with some schools stopping now and some stopping later, the source said.

Teams from FCS, formally known as I-AA, have become common nonconference opponents for FBS teams because they will accept a relatively big payday without asking for a game on their campus. Generally, they provide little more than a tuneup for the teams from college football's highest level -- with some notable exceptions such as Appalachian State winning at Michigan in 2007.

Most of those matchups, though, don't do much to generate excitement for fans or TV networks. And the lackluster games might prove to hurt a teams' chances of getting picked to play in college football's four-team playoffs that will start in 2014 -- when Maryland and Rutgers likely join the conference.

That's why the Big Ten is looking to beef up football schedules, with nine or 10 conference games and tougher nonconference opponents.

"The coaches and ADs met this week and the ADs will continue to meet in the coming months to prepare a proposal for the council of presidents/chancellors to consider in June," Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman wrote in an email Wednesday. "So, the process continues."

Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said the football-related topics also included reviewing the conference's divisional alignment.

"It's kind of a re-engineering of Big Ten football," Brown said. "But there was no decisions made on any of those things. Really, it'll have to be taken to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten in June before anything could be finalized."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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