Arkansas coach Bret Bielema wants an SEC-Big Ten Challenge in football
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has an idea that fans would probably love and something that could change college football in the future, something akin to bowl season in September.
The SEC’s scheduling of FCS and lower-tiered FBS opponents, especially late in the year, became an interesting topic on the league’s weekly conference call Wednesday.
Bielema would like to see an SEC-Big Ten challenge, similar to the conference vs. conference events that take place early in the college basketball season.
“There are multiple layers to it. As a head coach, I’d love to see uniformity across all conferences as much as possible,” Bielema said.
“There are 14 teams in the Big Ten and SEC,” said Bielema, who also coached at Wisconsin in the Big Ten. “Let them rank each other and play each other, and just leave that date open. Then we schedule three other opponents that are FBS and go.”
Bielema and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said the crossover non-conference games would be similar to college basketball’s inter-conference challenges.
“People have always speculated about it,” Sumlin said. “There may be some merit to it, whether it’s the Big Ten or ACC. But those things are bigger than me right now. But something like that would make sense.”
Non-conference crossover games would not only draw interest among passionate fans from two of the most storied conferences, but it would also:
1. Improve strength of schedule for each team
2. Create more enticing games to replace non-Power Five FBS schools, or even FCS schools
3. Teams would only need to find three non-conference games instead of four
4. The College Football Playoff committee could use results as a measuring stick for top conference finishers, or to help determine overall conference strength
5. Draw more national interest and TV dollars
6. Set the tone for all Power Five conferences to follow suit
7. Of course, give one conference’s fans bragging rights for a year
Then of course, there’s the real bowl season should the teams make it to late December.