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Big Ten discusses beefing up schedules

The Big Ten is considering cutting back on the cupcakes.

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Conference officials are discussing no longer scheduling games against Football Championship Subdivision opponents.

``We've made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools,'' Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said on WIBA, a radio station in Madison, Wis. ``It will not be FCS schools.''

Teams from FCS, formally known as I-AA, have become common nonconference opponents for FBS teams because they will accept take a relatively big payday without asking for a game on their campus. Generally, they provide little more than a tuneup for the teams from college football's highest level - with some notable exceptions such as Appalachian State winning at Michigan in 2007.

Most of those matchups, though, don't do much to generate excitement for fans or TV networks. And the lackluster games might prove to hurt a teams' chances of getting picked to play in college football's four-team playoffs that will start in 2014 - when Maryland and Rutgers likely join the conference.

That's why the Big Ten is looking to beef up football schedules, with nine or 10 conference games and tougher nonconference opponents.

``The coaches and ADs met this week and the ADs will continue to meet in the coming months to prepare a proposal for the Council of Presidents/Chancellors to consider in June,'' Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman wrote in an email Wednesday. ``So, the process continues.''

Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said the football-related topics also included reviewing the conference's divisional alignment.

``It's kind of a re-engineering of Big Ten football,'' Brown said. ``But there was no decisions made on any of those things. Really it'll have to be taken to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten in June before anything could be finalized.''

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AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis and Associated Press writer David Mercer in Champaign, Ill., contributed to this report.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

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