Monday we took a broad look at the schedules and Tuesday we listed the 12 best non-conference games of the season.
Today, we're spotlighting the 12 most embarrassing games of the season involving "Big Six" league teams and FCS programs.
A couple of things:
We do not care about the back-story of how and why some of these games came about this season. We know that some of the Big Six teams involved do have some good non-conference games. We're aware that some of these games were scheduled at the (relatively) last minute. But that in no way absolves anyone of blame. Bottom line: These games are pitiful, and the Big Six team involved should be embarrassed.
We are not being derisive of or impugning FCS football. We're not averse to FBS/FCS games per se. What we don't like are "Big Six" teams - especially the ones with clout - scheduling games against bad FCS teams.
"Bad" is the operative word. For the most part, "Big Six" teams don't want anything to do with top-level FCS programs, but there are some exceptions: Richmond at Virginia, Elon at Duke and Stephen F. Austin at Texas A&M on Sept. 4; Southern Illinois at Illinois and New Hampshire at Pittsburgh on Sept. 11; William & Mary at North Carolina on Oct. 30; and Appalachian State at Florida on Nov. 20. But as you will see, those types of games are outnumbered by some real stinkers.
12 MOST EMBARRASSING BIG SIX VS. FCS GAMES OF 2010
12. NORTH DAKOTA STATE at KANSAS WHEN: Sept. 6
THE BUZZ: North Dakota State was 3-8 last season, but two of the victories came over Western Illinois and Indiana State, two bad FCS teams that are on this list. NDSU has been on the decline the past few seasons, and that means new Kansas coach Turner Gill should get off to a good start.
11. PRESBYTERIAN at WAKE FOREST WHEN: Sept. 2
THE BUZZ: The Blue Hose - yes, that's really their nickname - were 0-11 last season as they continue to make the transition from Division II program to FCS member. Presbyterian was a solid D-II program, but those days seemed a long way away last season. The Blue Hose allowed 441 points and gave up at least 40 seven times in 2009.
10. STONY BROOK at USF WHEN: Sept. 4
THE BUZZ: USF will be the first FBS opponent for Stony Brook, which is entering just its fourth season as an FCS school. The Seawolves went 6-5 and were the co-champs of the Big South Conference last season, a league that does not have an automatic bid into the FCS playoffs.
9. WESTERN ILLINOIS at PURDUE WHEN: Sept. 11
THE BUZZ: Western Illinois was 1-10 last season, and the Leathernecks scored 21 total points in their final four games. The Leathernecks have lost nine times to FBS teams since 2000, by an average margin of 29 points.
8. NORTHERN COLORADO at MICHIGAN STATE WHEN: Sept. 25
THE BUZZ: Northern Colorado has won six games combined in the past four seasons. In its past three games against FBS schools, Northern Colorado has been outscored 135-19.
7. AUSTIN PEAY at WISCONSIN WHEN: Sept. 25
THE BUZZ: Austin Peay has had five winning seasons since 1980 and just two of those have come since 1985. The Governors were 4-7 last season. What is a legit Big Ten challenger doing playing this type of program? Austin Peay hasn't played an FBS opponent since 2002, when it played a Troy team that still was transitioning from FCS. Troy won by 38.
6. PORTLAND STATE at OREGON WHEN: Sept. 11
THE BUZZ: Portland State won two games last season and has won a combined nine in the past three seasons. In its past three games against FBS opponents, Portland State has lost by an average of 34 points per contest.
5. VMI at VIRGINIA WHEN: Sept. 25
THE BUZZ: VMI has had one winning season since 1980; that came in 1981. The Keydets have won 71 total games since then - an average of 2.5 wins per season over the last 28 seasons. We know Virginia is in rebuilding mode, but come on.
4. IDAHO STATE at GEORGIA WHEN: Nov. 6
THE BUZZ: Idaho State has had back-to-back one-win seasons and has had just four winning records in the past 20 seasons. The Bengals have played 11 FBS opponents since 2000 and lost by an average of 32 points per game, including two setbacks last season by a combined 111 points.
3. PRESBYTERIAN at CLEMSON WHEN: Sept. 11
THE BUZZ: It's bad enough that fellow ACC member Wake Forest is playing the Blue Hose. But at least Wake wasn't a bowl team last season. Clemson did go to a bowl, and there's no way the Tigers should be playing an FCS school that went 0-11 last season - even if the schools are about 60 miles apart.
2. INDIANA STATE at CINCINNATI WHEN: Sept. 11
THE BUZZ: No FBS school, much less one that has gone to back-to-back BCS bowls, should be playing Indiana State, which is one of the worst FCS programs in the nation. The Sycamores have won two games - two - in the past five seasons. Indiana State, which has had 13 consecutive losing seasons, was shut out four times last season and has surrendered an average of 52 points in its past six games against FBS opponents.
1. GEORGIA STATE at ALABAMA WHEN: Nov. 20
THE BUZZ: This will be Georgia State's first season of football, meaning the Panthers undoubtedly will be the worst team to ever set foot on the turf at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Georgia State's coach is Bill Curry, who used to be the head man at Alabama (a lot of Tide fans don't remember him all that fondly, either). The paycheck that comes with this beatdown obviously will come in handy for Georgia State. But the defending national champs playing a first-year program - and this late in the season? Yikes.
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.