Three and Out - Good news for the FCS?
1. If you're a frequent reader to this site, you know the Scoop is a sympathizer to the FCS in the Big Ten's desire to unilaterally banish all non-FBS programs from its schedule. It won't make up for the loss of paydays from trips to the Big House, the Horseshoe and Happy Valley, but Jason Belzer reported Thursday that ESPN is exploring the possibility of creating a 10-team FCS Football Challenge that would be a replica of the Worldwide Leader's Bracketbusters event during college basketball season. The FCS Football Challenge would reportedly take place the weekend before Labor Day, a crucial spot of TV real estate when the public is dying of pigskin starvation. A game between, say, Eastern Washington and North Dakota State in a time slot with no meaningful competition would be huge for a group of schools that could use the help.
2. Conference realignment has not at all been good for non-conference rivalries. The casualty list currently stands at Texas-Texas A&M, Kansas-Missouri, Oklahoma-Nebraska, BYU-Utah, Pittsburgh-West Virginia, Michigan-Notre Dame to name a few. It's certainly not on the level of the aforementioned rivalries, but David Borges of the New Haven (Conn.) Register reports that Boston College and Connecticut could be on the way to playing again. The pair has only met a dozen times on the gridiron (none since 2004), and it's always been more of a basketball rivarly, but it's a series that both fan bases would find interesting. We need more of that in college football. Now about those other rivalries....
3. If you're looking for a sleeper team this fall, take a peek at Rice. According to Phil Steele, the Owls return 85 percent of their lettermen (the most in FBS), 84 percent of their total yardage (24th most in FBS), and nearly 89 percent of their total tackles (third most in FBS) from a 2012 team that won its final five games to close the season. Only UTSA (85 percent/91 percent/89 percent) and Texas (82 percent/92 percent/83 percent) boast similar figures.