Ditto the 2013 slate, which has William & Mary and East Carolina at home and Maryland on the road. In future years, though, West Virginia has those neutral-site games with Alabama (2014) and BYU (2016). In order to fulfill what could be the criteria Bowlsby speaks of, one of those types of games might have to be scheduled.
But the idea is to make sure everyone does it and not just a few. Last year Oregon opened its season with a loss to LSU in Dallas. Had that game not been scheduled, the Ducks would have finished in the top four. As it was, they were fifth in the final BCS standings and probably would have missed out on a playoff.
"It is not satisfactory to lose a game in September and be taken out of the national championship dialogue [because of being one of the few teams to schedule a high-profile game],'' Bowlsby said. "I think if the University of Oregon had to do it over again they might not have played that game against LSU last year because they fought back from behind for the entire season as a result of it.
"We need to encourage those games [by everyone], we need to relish those games, and we need to make the month of September as good as the months of October and November are. And so as we move forward, we're certainly going to try and do that.''
How to manage that is the tricky part, of course. A difficult intersectional game is often in the eyes of the participants. There is also the fact that what may look like a great test in September looks like another scrimmage if the opponent fails to live up to expectations. The reverse is true, too.
Establishing some sort of mathematical rating system isn't necessarily the answer - see the ever-tweaked BCS formula - and a selection committee approach has its flaws, too. But Bowlsby wants to make sure that as the playoff architects work on the answer, they give those September schedules a long, hard look.
"I don't know that there are enough data points for the same kind of ratings percentage index that you have in basketball, but I think that there will be some measure of how one has gone about scheduling in the preseason,'' he said. "And if that's valued in terms of the selection process in the postseason, there are incentives there that will, I think, create quality matchups.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.