This week, Missouri football will travel to play Toledo. In the next few years, the Tigers have games at Arkansas State, Wyoming, and Memphis scheduled. Soon, fans of “group of five” schools may not have the chance to catch Missouri at their favorite team’s stadium, as athletic director Mike Alden says that the program is planning to “phase out” road games against those smaller programs in the future. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more from Alden, who spoke with media today.
As for football scheduling, Alden said Mizzou will eventually phase out playing road games at schools that are not in the power conferences — like Saturday’s game at Toledo and next year’s game at Arkansas State. “In the future, our road games, what we’d like to do, is have that be against … the other four (power) conferences and have the other games be home games here,” he said. “That’s the plan.”
Alden says that neutral site games are on the table, although based on how those games have looked through the years, those would likely be against power conference schools as well.
Missouri has not ruled out future neutral-site games, as long as the school maintains at least six games in Columbia. “St. Louis is very interested in the Tigers and I know Kansas City is very interested in the Tigers, too,” Alden said.
As for the power conference schools that Missouri will travel to in the future, the Tigers have a series scheduled with Purdue in the future, and Alden said that there have been talks with Illinois about playing. Interestingly, while Missouri appears to be cutting back on smaller FBS schools, FCS games are not going anywhere.
There is no movement at MU or within the SEC to stop playing Football Championship Subdivision teams. “For us, and for many of us in the SEC, we see those games as important for us,” Alden said. “Frankly, I think they’re important for college football, too.”
While saying that teams will stop heading to smaller schools to play sounds good to fans, because it means more home games, it is probably easier said than done. There are only so many power conference schools with openings available, especially with some conferences playing more league games than others.