The chart above shows a trend amongst these six schools in increasing I-AA opponents on an annual basis since the expansion of college football seasons from 11 to 12 games in 2001. FSU was a relatively good apple until 2006 and then fell to the dark side.
Back to Herbstreit's point. We're seeing an uptick in these I-AA games amongst the teams but we're also seeing strategic scheduling. The ACC teams haven't really caught on to the trend while the last three years have seen a I-AA opponent for georgie, Florida, and USC(east) the week prior to their ACC rivalry games. And it's working pretty well. These three SEC teams have gone 7-2 in their ACC games immediately following cupcakes the last three years. Obviously, coaching stability, team talent, and other factors contribute but having essentially a scrimmage instead of a game prior to your biggest rivalry doesn't hurt. Below is a graph of the three year trend for FSU, GT, and Clemson's I-AA date (ACC); UF, georgie, and USCe's I-AA date; and the three year rolling ACC win percentage in these games. It's not pretty.
Herbstreit said this scheduling strategy is despicable but this is conference warfare. The SEC wants to win and assists their intrastate rivalry teams immensely by lining up these games. I want to see Tech line up bye weeks or I-AA's prior to every georgie game forever until we see a Power 5-wide ban on I-AA opponents or similar rule. What do you all think?