Louisiana-Monroe's football team is playing at Iowa on Sept. 24 for one reason and one reason only: To get a nice paycheck.
The Warhawks aren't competitive at the FBS level, and everyone knows it. They have yet to earn a bowl invitation since they moved up to I-A in 1994. They haven't had a winning season in that time.
ULM also claims as the smallest athletic budget in all of FBS (I-A), according to this Monroe News-Star story. According to the Equity in Athletics Data Analysis site, Northern Iowa spends more on football than Louisiana Monroe.
Take a look at this post at The Wiz of Odds for details on what the school is up to now, which is having students vote this week on whether they are willing to add to the aid they already pay to the athletic department. I know how I would vote if I were a student there. I'd rather spend my money on Po' Boy sandwiches with fries and gravy at Ray's PeGe.
Now, here come the Warhawks to Iowa City in September off a 5-7 season in 2010 that looks a lot better if you take away the team's games against -- ta da! -- BCS conference teams.
Arkansas 31, ULM 7
Auburn 52, ULM 3
LSU 51, ULM 0
The Warhawks also played three BCS conference teams in 2009, losing them all by a total score of 133-47. Mississippi beat ULM 59-0 in 2008.
You people who love Hawkeye football so much that you'll buy season-tickets, maybe you don't mind these bloodlettings. Winning has always been known to be enjoyable, and everyone in all of FBS insists every game can't be a tough one.
But these games ... they're just not any good. The only difference between them and a fixed fight is everyone is on the fix beforehand. But since the customers know what they're getting, maybe it's pointless for me to point out that Louisiana-Monroe-at-Iowa is an exercise in commerce and nothing more.
The question is whether ULM puts up a better fight against the Hawkeyes than FCS (I-AA) Tennessee Tech does when the Golden Eagles come to Kinnick on Sept. 3. Tennessee Tech played two games against FBS teams last year. The results:
Arkansas 44, Tennessee Tech 3
TCU 62, Tennessee Tech 7
The NCAA allowed FBS teams to play a 12th game for the purpose of games like these. A home gate for the home teams, and an easy win to help them get eligible for marvelous postseason games like the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
Rachel Bachman of The Oregonian had this interesting blog post Monday about FBS teams playing FCS opponents. An excerpt:
As summed up by Washington athletic director Scott Woodward, who joined the dark side (or is it the creamy-filling inside?) by making Eastern Washington the first FCS team ever to grace UW's docket, "Playing a very difficult nonconference schedule doesn't help you win a championship."
It's funny. Fans of FBS teams spend the entire season criticizing the so-called soft schedules of the Boise States and TCUs that have made runs at the BCS title game, but have never gotten there. But Boise State has done all it could to schedule good nonconference games, while many of the FBS programs do just the opposite.