The Oregon Ducks have added a trio of FCS teams to their future football schedules, the school announced yesterday.
Oregon will host the South Dakota Coyotes at Autzen Stadium in Eugene on Aug. 30, 2014. It will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
The addition of South Dakota completes Oregon’s 2014 non-conference schedule. The Ducks also host Wyoming on Sept. 6 and Michigan State on Sept. 13.
Oregon has also scheduled two other first-time FCS opponents. The Ducks will host the UC Davis Aggies on Sept. 3, 2016 and the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Sept. 2, 2017.
The FCS additions mean that Oregon only needs one more non-conference opponent to complete their schedules in 2016 and 2017. Oregon also hosts Virginia in 2016 and travels to Wyoming in 2017.
With the addition of three FCS schools, one as far out as 2017, it’s apparent that the Pac-12 is not going to back away from scheduling lower level opponents. Currently, the Big Ten remains the only conference that has made any kind of statement regarding ending or scaling down games against the FCS.
While most FCS schools can hurt a team’s strength of schedule, some of the stronger ones can actually help. A look at the 2012 Sagarin Ratings shows several FCS schools in the Top 100.
In those ratings, Southern Utah finished the 2012 season 144th, which was higher than FBS teams New Mexico, Army, Tulane, Colorado, UNLV, Hawaii, South Alabama, Idaho, Akron, and UMass. Even UC Davis (160th) ranked higher than five FBS teams. South Dakota, ranked 175th, was higher than only UMass.
If a computer ranking is used in some fashion for the upcoming College Football Playoff, FCS schools can still be scheduled as long as it’s done wisely.