Fixing College Football’s Silly Season
As Conferences Realign and Showcases Turn Profits, More Schools Take On Tougher September Games

September used to be one of the shiniest months of the college-football season. A few decades ago, the month was full of exotic matchups between high-profile schools from different conferences at different ends of the country that had implications for the national-championship race.

In 1980, there were 128 non-conference games between two big-name college football powerhouses—that’s a total of about 62% of all non-conference games. In 1990, that fell to 114, or about 58%. In 2000 it was down to 76, or just 38%.