With the College Football Playoff set to begin after the 2014 regular season, it’s widely believed that the selection committee will place an emphasis on strength of schedule. How much emphasis is anyone’s guess at this point.
In the meantime, some schools are preparing for the playoff era by adding current BCS opponents to their future non-conference schedules.
One of those schools is West Virginia. Director of Athletics Oliver Luck went on record in May stating that he wanted to get Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Penn State on their future schedules.
Since that time, Luck has successfully added Virginia Tech in 2021 and 2022, appears close to reviving the Backyard Brawl with Pitt, and is reportedly finalizing a home-and-home series with Penn State.
All of these moves, plus the moves of other schools, show that college football is moving towards tougher schedules similar to the NFL, Luck told the Charleston Daily Mail.
“Everyone seems to be moving down a path where a college schedule resembles much more of a NFL schedule than a college schedule,” Luck said. “When I say NFL schedule, I mean pretty much every game is a tough game. Hardly anybody is going to go undefeated anymore.”
The Mountaineers will certainly have more of an “NFL schedule” if they end up playing two of the four previously mentioned schools in the same season in addition to their nine Big 12 games.
Schedules could also get even tougher if the power conferences opt to break away and form the new so-called “Division 4.” In that scenario, it would be very likely that Division 4 schools would only schedule each other.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen also provided some future scheduling updates to the Daily Mail, including their desire to discontinue scheduling FCS teams. He also said that they may play a series with East Carolina and would be open to playing one-off games at Pitt or against Penn State and Virginia.
“Something is going to happen with East Carolina that’s going to make it more attractive for us – something possibly along the lines of a home-and-home with ECU and a neutral site game,” Holgorsen said.
“I’d be in favor of us and Pitt playing once in Pittsburgh (at Heinz Field) because it’s a big venue and because we’d have more people than they would. Us and Penn State in Philadelphia. If you can do a home-and-home, great. If you can’t, then do one game in a bigger venue. A home-and-home with Virginia, or a neutral-site game with Virginia in (Washington, D.C.)?”