Scott Stricklin typed out the note to himself two years ago. The Florida athletic director admittedly didn’t have much time in the past 15 months to think about it because nearly every ounce of his energy has been focused on dealing with the pandemic and its fallout. But as he thought about the proposed 12-team College Football Playoff recently, Stricklin wondered if it might help bring some or all of his “scheduling manifesto” to life.
When Stricklin sent his three-point plan during a conversation last week, it was a reference point meant to be used as background. After I read it, I asked if he’d allow us to publish it. Why? Because it’s nice to know there are athletic directors thinking about college football scheduling this way. It seems sometimes as if decisions get made in a vacuum without much concern for what fans want. Stricklin definitely is thinking of the fans while also thinking of ways to encourage those fans to spend more money enjoying his program. He’s only one AD, but he’s an influential one. And if he can convince more of his colleagues to adopt these ideas, college football could be more interesting and more fan-friendly at the same time.
Stricklin graciously agreed to let us publish his three-tenet list. The analysis of each point is mine. But if Stricklin can make all this happen in the next few years, make the man the next NCAA president.
Tenet No. 1: All Power 5 schools should play 11 meaningful games each season.
What does meaningful mean? That depends on the school. For some, it might mean 11 Power 5 opponents. For others, it might mean games against a mix of Power 5 and Group of 5 teams. A Texas-Houston game wouldn’t be Power 5-on-Power 5, but it certainly would be meaningful. Ditto for Florida or Florida State against UCF or USF. Any Pac-12 team against Boise State or San Diego State would be meaningful.
Stricklin got the Florida job in 2016. Coming off a 4-7 season in 2017, Stricklin had to sell a 2018 home schedule that included non-conference games against Charleston Southern, Colorado State and Idaho. LSU came to The Swamp that year, but the other SEC home games were against Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina. That non-conference schedule was made before Stricklin arrived; to add insult to injury, the Colorado State game was scheduled as part of the buyout that allowed the Gators to hire Jim McElwain, the coach Stricklin fired in 2017.