Friday, September 11, 2009
Xs and Os: DIVISIONS
If you are new to college football, you might be asking: How does a team win 72-0 (Air Force) or 54-0 (Boston College) and not be ranked in the Top 25? That is a good question with a simple answer: Not all teams are created equal. Maybe it is better said that not all divisions are created equal. Schools that participate in college athletics governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are divided into three divisions: Division I, II and III. For college football, Division I is subdivided into the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). A wide valley separates the level of competition between each division, and even between the division I subdivisions. The FBS teams are significantly better than the FCS teams. To clarify my answer to the original question, Air Force plays in the better subdivision in the best division of college football (FBS) while its opponent Nicholls State is from the FCS. Boston College is a member of the FBS, too, and it played Northeastern—another FCS school. It is similar to the high school varsity team playing the junior varsity team. Therefore, such a lopsided score can be more indicative of an inferior opponent and not a superior ball club. These cross-divisional and cross-subdivisional match ups are not uncommon in the first three weeks of the college football season.