On Wednesday, August 5th, the Mountain West announced their plans for a football schedule. The abbreviated schedule will feature a full eight game conference schedule and the option to play two non-conference games. It was also announced that teams will not be allowed to play games until the week of September 26th. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this scheduling format.
This mainly applies to Air Force; you have to figure that is the main reason the conference went with this schedule. The Falcons will still be allowed to play Army and Navy under this format. Most schools in the conference have already lost their meaningful out-of-conference games. Outside of Air Force, there is still some uncertainty as to who other teams in the conference will play. Teams with BYU on their schedule will probably keep that game.
There are still some scheduling issues that will need to be worked out (e.g. Boise State and Air Force were supposed to play September 12th). But for the most part, the schedule can stay the same. Some teams will have to get creative with their non-conference games, but it shouldn’t be too long before this all plays out.
It’s Not Equitable
With the season starting at a later date, teams are going to be left with what was already on their schedule. Will Boise State be forced to travel to West Virginia to take on Marshall since that was their scheduled game on that date? It seems like the Mountain West could have easily gone with the PAC-12 model and played ten conference games. It would have created more intriguing match-ups for most teams in the conference and would have prevented teams from scrambling to find games, many of which will be against FCS teams. I understand the importance of Air Force’s games against Army and Navy, but it doesn’t seem fair to the other eleven teams.
Options are limited for out of conference games, Power 5 games are few and far between, and most neighboring schools are members of the FCS. Does it make sense to have teams traveling to the East Coast to play games? I don’t think so.
The conference should have gone with a full, round robin schedule. Play every team in the conference. Yes, that means more home games for some teams (assuming Hawaii is allowed to play), but it makes every game meaningful and takes some of the travel burden away.