Some of you may have noticed the thread a week or so ago asking you what questions you would like to ask TSN’s Craig Haley about the FCS. I gathered up some of those questions and asked Craig and he delightfully answered them to give us more of an insight into the FCS. Thanks Craig for taking the time to answer these questions.
What was with the lack of coverage of the biggest story from week 2, the JMU upset of Virginia Tech?
Craig: Indeed, we could have done more. I’m offering the reason, not an excuse. Our two writers (Craig Haley and Andrew Gaddess) were on the road that day. The story was on our FBS pages, however. The JMU win would have led our FCS review column, but the No. 1 team in the nation (Montana) lost later that day. Whichever way we went, it was going to leave half the readers unhappy.
What is your opinion on the MEAC’s struggles in the playoffs over the years?
Craig: The MEAC has been behind other conference in the level of talent. Without enough of it, you’re not going to go far in the playoffs, especially when you don’t draw home games. I think South Carolina State can win a playoff game this season.
Thoughts on publishing an FCS magazine?
Craig: Sorry to disappoint, but not in this economic climate. It takes a lot of resources and staff to do it right.
Where do you see the division in 5 years? 10 years?
Craig: I can see more regional television coverage. Some of the conferences are making it happen as technology (like internet broadcasting) expands so quickly. I think a lot of fans who want to have their school move up to the FBS will realize we have it pretty good on the FCS level.
What, if any, unusual experiences have you had to date in dealing with Coaches, AD’s, SID’s or Conference officials??
Craig: Nothing big comes to mind. Most of the people on the FCS level are terrific people and accessible. One conference media relations director had a terrific story a few months ago about his days as an SID a couple years ago. He had to umpire a conference baseball game and his one student intern was a player on the school’s team. It all happened at the last minute. The SID had to update the visiting team’s statistics between innnings and the student intern (on the home team) had to update the visitor’s information when he was in his dugout. All in a day’s work.
Now that you’ve had a chance to view other teams from other conferences, what are some of biggest differences between “A” conference and “B” conference, etc?
Craig: Resources at the schools. That’s what makes conferences like CAA Football, the Big Sky, Southern, MVFC bigger and better than some of the smaller conferences. Even within conferences, there are differences. Within the CAA, schools like Richmond and James Madison have more resources than New Hampshire and Maine.
Why are the Ivies ducking the playoffs? They say academics, however, the basketball team misses way more class time than the football team participating in the playoffs for a couple of weeks.
Craig: It’s an archaic rule mandated by the school presidents. They say they don’t want football players missing classes. That is a hollow reason. The first round of the playoffs are over Thanksgiving and the Ivy champion wouldn’t miss class time. Even if the Ivy champion advances to the second weekend of the players, it would only be a plus for the school. No person within the football programs support the presidents’ rule.
How can the Griz beat a team that runs the option?
Craig: Maybe schedule a Cal Poly or an option team in the first game. Seriously because then the Griz could work on defending it all preseason. It takes a lot of preparation and experience. I saw Rutgers struggle with defending option teams for years and eventually got over it. Montana can do the same.
I took this time to also ask a couple questions that I (Chris Lynn) had about the FCS and the support us fans can provide to help increase the exposure of the FCS.
What would it take to make the FCS more successful in the media and revenue opportunities?
Craig: Certainly more television exposure. Networks need to discover the talent on the FCS level, and it starts on the regional and conference level. High-profile upsets and great games help, and Appalachian State-Montana and Montana-Villanova drew strong ratings for ESPN last year. Most sports aren’t revenue generators for the schools. It would help as the NCAA pushes the great product of FCS even more.
What is the importance of fan sites such as ChampionshipSubdivision.com and eGriz.com to FCS Football?
Craig: The sites are terrific. They give the fans a forum and a chance to promote so many schools. There should be camaradarie on these sites, not division.
Throwing the polls out of the thought process, who do you feel is the most well-rounded team in the FCS this year?
Craig: It’s hard to argue with Villanova. To have all that veteran talent returning from a national championship squad, it’s hard to argue against the Wildcats. And that’s why voters have them ranked No. 1.
What can I (Chris Lynn) do or continue to do to help increase the exposure/success of the FCS?
Craig: I like items like topic of the week or game of the week. Maybe putting more news items on the sites. Getting fans involved from some conferences that haven’t participated as much as others would help.
Thanks again Craig for taking the time to answer these questions with your busy schedule and thanks for doing what you do to cover the FCS.