The Bowl College System (BCS) determines the college football teams that get to play in the most lucrative of bowls and of course the two teams in the National Championship game. It has been said that a BCS bowl can be worth $17.5 million to the teams that play in it. These bowl games for dollars are keeping college officials happy and stopping talk of a college football playoff system. So, without college football playoffs in sight, colleges are game the system to their benefit.
Boise State, a perennial winner of late, cannot break into and maintain a poll ranking in the top five. The argument is that they do not play any or enough tough games in their schedule. Yet, another perennial winner University of Texas is consistently ranked within the top three when they are undefeated. In the 2009 regular season they only played two ranked teams (none in the top ten). Texas scheduled their non-conference games against Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, University of Texas- El Paso (UTEP), and the University of Central Florida. Texas having a long football tradition and playing in the Big Twelve know that all they need to do to get into the National Championship is to not lose. Boise State playing in a weak, non-BCS conference is having hard time scheduling tougher games in the years ahead. Being a winning team, no one wants to play them and risk a unnecessary non-conference lost.
All this is to not knock Texas or promote Boise State, it is to say that it is a sad trend for the top colleges to choose to play weak opponents. This means that great early season match-ups will be a thing of the past.
Another trend to strengthen the trouble in scheduling is the desire for schools to not travel. When top tier football programs can pack a stadium with 80,000 fans regardless of the opponent, then the school wants to schedule as many home games as possible to make money. Plus, there is a cost savings from having to send a team out. No school can have all home games as conference play will require away games, but they can stack non-conference play. Other teams are only scheduling games within a certain radius to save on travel costs, so more intra-state games are arising. Again, this reinforces weaker games for the stronger programs.
Sadly, these two trends mean the strength of games available will only diminish.