As the boys of fall went away for battle in the Fargodome, I was left with a question that troubled me all weekend.
It was a journalism professor that posed it to me as I left for a psychology test, which was ironic to say the least. Is it better to play a giant in week one of a football season, or is it better to bring a lesser team down to size?
That psychology test may have been the most confusing mental tug-of-war of my near 20 years on the planet. That’s a great question to pose to a guy whose job it is to watch sports when he’s about to take such a daunting exam.
After much brooding, I came away with many takes on the question, but most importantly, my own answer.
Alabama can’t play anyone better than themselves, so they either accept a true challenge and go after the No. 2 team in the nation, or take on Appalachian State.
Whoops! I forgot about the upset alert.
That first game can make or break your season. If a team were to lose to a “lesser” team, such as Kansas State did to North Dakota State, their season could be lost.
But what is a lesser team? Does the FCS designation make a team less worthy than a team in the FBS? Can a team in Division II beat a team in the FCS?
These teams need to stop gambling with their championship hopes in week one. A lesser team scheduled to play a national champion will surely come to play with a chip on their shoulders. Though they may not win, they can sure put a dent in the championship team’s confidence.
My modest proposal to athletic directors and coaches out there is to schedule teams similar to you in stature, if not slightly better. Measure yourself against a team that is similar to your knowledge, or slightly better in order to add to your strength of schedule.
It may not result in that upset that happens and derails a team once every five years, but I’m tired of watching Texas beat up on the Citadel.
Week One should mean “exciting football,” not “exciting first quarters”.