If it were up to me, it would be illegal for an FBS team to play an FCS team at all. And it certainly seems ridiculous that you're allowed to play two in a season.
That said, thank God Syracuse played Maine and Colgate this year.
I'm not saying Syracuse wouldn't be bowl eligible this year if they hadn't. If the schedule had stayed the way it originally was, the Orange would have faced Virginia Tech instead of Colgate. I think we can all agree that the odds are we would be 6-6 right now. Since we would have only played one FCS school (Maine), that would have been good enough to go bowling.
BUT...because we played Colgate instead, the Orange have a winning record and are assured of a winning record no matter what happens in the bowl game. In the realm of Syracuse football, where four wins started to sound like a good year, six wins sounds awesome but seven wins sounds astronomical.
That extra win might also be the difference-maker that puts us in a better bowl. A 7-5 Syracuse teams sounds a whole lot more attractive than a 6-6 one, especially if say the Pinstripe Bowl needs to justify choosing us over UConn.
Remember, by January, everyone will have forgotten who we played this year. Year from now, the only thing anyone will remember is that we won seven (or maybe eight?) games in 2010 and that's all that matters.
Plus, seven wins and a winning overall record looks a helluva lot more attractive to recruits than a .500 (or worse) record. And again, very few people will question how we got there, only that we jumped from four to seven/eight in the span of twelve months.
Again, I don't want to play two FCS in a season all the time. I don't even want to do it again in the foreseeable future. But this season, we needed that kind of boost. We've played tough schedules for years and it's a part of the reason we were so down, all the while watching Rutgers and USF load up on cupcakes OOC schedules half-filled with FCS teams. We're allowed to do it once, if only to even the playing field a little bit.
In retrospect, it was also good for us to see our offense put up some great numbers. Lord knows that wasn't a trend that continued when we played FBS teams...
Syracuse lost 17-6 to Boston College, and has averaged just 17.2 points per game against FBS team despite playing Akron and playing in the Big East, so just trust me when I suggest maybe not betting on the Orange in their bowl game, okay?
Syracuse's two biggest offensive outputs of the year came against Maine (38) and Colgate (42). After that we only scored more than 20 points in a game once (Cincy). If only for the sake of statistics, we needed those games.
It's back to normal next year with our schedule. We travel to USC and host Wake Forest, Toledo and FCS squad Rhode Island. That leaves one open slot, which I'm guessing and hoping won't go to a FCS school. If it does, it sends a bad signal to the rest of the conference and nation. Even if we know we'll score 35 points by doing so...