Cupcake games in November

I got a question on Quora yesterday which proposed that Power 5 teams be banned from scheduling easy nonconference games in November. My response was that, if you’re gonna play cupcakes at all, what difference does it make when you play them? And conversely, playing NC games late means you’re playing conference games earlier so there are better games in the first month of the season. (And how are you going to enforce such a ban anyway?)

But what do you guys think?

My reply would be that you should have a top 25 strength of schedule to be considered for the playoffs.

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The question as posed had nothing to do with the playoffs, but in requiring better quality games late in the season for all 65 Power 5 teams.

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The conference can step in and give teams a window for when they can schedule non-conference games. I think the Big 12 does that.

The SEC has turned a blind eye to it. Urban Meyer at Florida made it popular to schedule an easy game the weekend before rivalry week, and now a lot of the teams do it. Even Arkansas has that type of game on the schedule for 2023 (FIU) and 2024 (Louisiana Tech).

The intent of my reply was your comment

And, this comment

So if you are going to play them I don’t think it matters when you do. And, who cares if you play them if you still have a top 25 strength of schedule.

Fair enough. So you largely agree with me.

As soon as I hit send on OP, I thought about the conference enforcing such a ban, as Matt suggested.

Yes, I agree. I don’t think it should matter but then again I have the bias of our S.o.S. the past several years. I was just in a hurry and didn’t articulate my response well the first time.

It is hard to find a reliable cupcake these days. What may have appeared to be a cupcake when you scheduled them 5 or 6 years ago, can turn into Waffle House steak by the time you play them. I would prefer to ease into a schedule with all of my NC games up front. That little glass of Lynchburg Lemonade turned into hemlock for us. But to answer your question, no, the conference offices and NCAA should not be dictating when you can play NC ganes.

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I don’t think it matters when you play cupcakes. I have no problem with 1 or even 2 cupcakes on a 12 game schedule. That’s especially if your other games are as brutal as ours.

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Big12 schedules require that the last nine weeks of the season are dedicated to Big12 games. When UGA, Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina all play OOC rivalry games over Thanksgiving you have to create November flexibility. How the other 8 teams execute that is up to them.

The flip side of that: you are at a G5 school and looking to schedule a payday game with Arkansas. Do you want to risk being beaten up, abused, and completely knocked out of sync, schedule them in November. Early in the season you can adjust, heal, and peak, in-conference, later in the season. If “Arkansas” make that consideration tough, substitute “Alabama.”

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