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Thursday, May 29, 2014
3-point stance: Schedule solutions

By Ivan Maisel

1. Delighted to hear that the majority of SEC coaches don’t want to play FCS schools any longer. Of course, the coaches would rather play those games than play a road game against a power-conference team, so let’s not get too excited. Two ways for those games to end: The fans continue to stay home, and an SEC or ACC team gets shut out of the College Football Playoff because they play one fewer conference game than the Pac-12 or Big Ten. (Big 12 plays nine with no championship game.) We can hope, right?

2. One benefit of the Big Ten’s expansion is that in the scramble to accommodate Rutgers and Maryland into the scheduling, the Scarlet Knights filled a nonconference opening with Washington State, meaning the Big Ten and Pac-12 will play five games against each other in the regular season for the second consecutive year. And these games were set up before the conferences pushed to begin scheduling each other more often. Meanwhile, the SEC and ACC will keep playing FCS schools.

3. Todd Graham had to endure a lot of abuse when he job-hopped from Rice (one season) to Tulsa (four seasons) to Pittsburgh (one season) to Arizona State. He bruised feelings and his own stature along the way. But with the news Wednesday that he has received his second one-year extension in the last eight months in Tempe, the rough edges of his reputation are being smoothed over. He is 18-9 and has won a division title in two seasons with the Sun Devils. Maybe he really is there to stay.