The announcement earlier this week that the Miami football program completed their 2020 non-conference schedule with FCS Wagner is part of a disturbing trend with the Hurricanes and Power Five conference schools in general.
The Miami football program’s announcement that they scheduled Wagner to complete their 2020 non-conference schedule is part of a disturbing trend in college football. The game against the Seahawks will be Miami’s 13th straight season playing against an FCS opponent.
Miami last played against a schedule entirely made up of FBS teams in 2007. The Hurricanes went 5-7 that season and missed a bowl game. Playing teams like Wagner and Bethune-Cookman does not help a team or players develop with very few exceptions.
The games that are played against FCS opponents are not challenging and generally against the worst teams at that level of college football. In their 23 seasons in the Northeast Conference, Wagner has two shared conference titles. The last of those came in 2014. Their only FCS playoff appearance came in 2012.
The Seahawks advanced to the second round that season. That was the last season that 20 FCS teams made the playoffs. Twenty-four FCS teams have advanced to the playoffs since 2013. Wagner finished the 2018 season 3-8. Miami football hosts Bethune-Cookman in their third game of the 2019 season.
— Wagner College Football (@Wagner_Football) July 11, 2019
The Wildcats have a far richer football history than Wagner. Bethune-Cookman was 7-5 last season. The Wildcats have won five MEAC Football championships in this decade. The last of those titles came in Terry Sims first season in 2015. Miami defeated Bethune-Cookman 41-13 in the 2017 season opener in their last meeting.
Bethune-Cookman has sent 31 players to the NFL. That includes former Miami Dolphins legend, Bethune-Cookman head coach and Pro-Football Hall of Famer Larry Little. Only three former Wagner players have been drafted. Their first in 53 years came in the 2018 NFL Draft. The 1965 pick was former NFL Head Coach Rich Kotite.
FBS needs to get rid of allowing its member football programs to play FCS schools. Big Ten teams with five conference home games out of ten are not allowed to schedule FCS opponents in those seasons. The argument against eliminating FCS programs is that they need the money. So do many of the lower FBS programs.
At the very least in the future, Miami and their ACC brethren should be scheduling games against better FCS opponents. The Hurricanes and Wildcats 2019 meeting will be their fifth. Miami has outscored Bethune-Cookman 142-37 in the previous four meetings.
That is an average of 35.5-9.25. Playing FCS opponents provides no value beyond a win. Do not expect the games against lower division opponents and the guaranteed home gate to change anytime soon.