This past Thursday, on the same day that the Power Five football conferences' (The ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC) autonomy measure was passed, ESPN ran an article featuring the majority opinion of those school's coaches that they'd rather not play Group of Five (the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt and non-Notre Dame independents) opponents anymore. Of course there was plenty of hemming and hawing about making the schedules fair and balanced amongst the top schools, making it easier for the selection committee, looking out for their fans, etc..
But what really irked me—aside from the fact that 90 percent of what coaches in favor of it were saying was complete B.S.—is that of those coaches at Power 5 schools, who got there due in part to their success at a MAC school, 44 percent of them were for excluding Group of 5 teams from their schedules.
In fact, only eight of the 18 current P5 head coaches who either played, coached, or both at a MAC program were against the idea. Who, of those 18, turned their back on the programs that helped them get to where they are with that "yes" vote?
- Alabama head coach Nick Saban, played at Kent State ('70-'71), assistant at Kent State ('72-'76), head coach of Toledo (1990)
- Miami (Fla.) head coach Al Golden, head coach of Temple during the Owls' MAC years
- Michigan head coach Brady Hoke, played at Ball State from 1977-1980, assistant at WMU ('84-'86), Toledo ('87-'89), and head coach of his alma mater from 2003-2008
- Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, assistant at Akron in 1985
- Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, assistant at Bowling Green (2001-2002)
- Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, assistant at Kent State in 1988
- Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell, assistant at WMU ('95-'96), head coach at Kent State (2011-2012)
- Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, assistant at CMU (1998-2004), head coach at CMU (2007-2009)
These eight men, some of whom played for these very institutions they're trying to push out of major college football, seem to have lost sight of where they came from. They've lost sight of the fact that these very programs they're turning their noses up at played a huge role in their careers. It's because of Kent State that Darrell Hazell now makes $2 million a season to lose to NIU. Without CMU, Butch Jones wouldn't be raking in nearly $3 million a season to drown at the bottom of the SEC.
Maybe these coaches should listen to one of their P5 brethren, Arizona's Rich Rodriguez who said "some of those [Group of Five teams] are better than the so-called 'haves' [Power Five teams]."
Let me remind you holier-than-thou kings of college football, you have the power to only play P5 schools. No one is forcing you to play fluff games against FCS teams (Saban, you're playing your seventh FCS foe since 2009 this fall). But let me also remind you, if it's strength of schedule this is really all about, do you really think playing a non-conference game vs. a Colorado or Purdue is better than a non-conference game vs. a Utah State or Northern Illinois? If so, I have some Amway products I'd like to sell you.