Northern Illinois athletics director Sean Frazier was sick of the lying. He was sick of people pretending that Group of Five teams had a shot at making the College Football Playoff.
"There is absolutely no ability for us (Group of Five teams) to be in that national title conversation," Frazier, who advocated for a separate championship, told ESPN in December. "That's just reality. Anyone that says we can: That's a flat-out lie."
These teams have difficulty scheduling Power Five teams, partly because Power Five teams don't believe a slight boost to their non-conference strength of schedule is worth the risk of possibly losing an early-season game and eliminating all hope of both their own playoff run and overall season-long interest in their program.
Some Group of Five officials agree with Fraziers; others do not. But there is a consensus on one item: Group of Five teams would love more home games against Power Five teams. Scheduling elite, or even decent, opponents can be a nightmare for Northern Illinois and others. But which Power Five teams were willing to do so in 2017?
Here are the 10 toughest Group of Five road matchups for Power Five teams.
The teams have played just twice since 1995 when they split a home-and-home series in 2009-10 — with both teams winning at home.
Oregon's visit to Wyoming is my pick for College GameDay's Week 3 location if both teams start 2-0 and the Josh Allen NFL hype train is still rolling.
It's the third-straight season the Ducks play a decent non-conference opponent away from Eugene. They lost to Michigan State and Nebraska in 2015 and 2016, respectively. If the Cowboys knock off Iowa in Week 1, this game is a chance for them to be ranked for the first time since 1998.
Not only is Stanford traveling to San Diego State — a difficult trip in itself — it comes one week after a road game vs. USC. We'll know very early if the post-McCaffrey Cardinal can contend for a playoff spot.
Virginia at Boise State
Huge hat tip to Virginia for scheduling a home-and-home series with Boise State, something few peer programs have even considered in the last decade.
The Broncos smashed the Cavaliers in Charlottesville in 2015, 56-14, and could do the same again in 2017 with the return of quarterback Brett Rypien, receiver Cedrick Williams and rising running back Alexander Mattison.
No one thought Derek Mason could rebuild Vanderbilt after James Franklin's departure. It's been very slow improvement after back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2012-13 but the Commodores are once again heading in the right direction.
They open 2017 with a road tilt against the powerful Blue Raiders, who return quarterback Brent Stockstill and receiver Richie James, both the best players at their position in the Conference USA.
One week before hosting Wisconsin, BYU plays Utah (and they also play LSU in Week 2 in Houston).
The rivals have in all but one season since 1946 and 91 times overall. The Utes have owned their southern neighbor as of late, winning the last seven meetings and 12 of the last 15.
Ask San Diego State how tricky a trip to South Alabama is. The Aztecs lost to the Jaguars last year, 42-24, demolishing their chances at a New Year's Six Bowl.
It's the second time in three years that Oklahoma State has played a Group of Five team on the road. They narrowly edged Central Michigan in the 2015 opener.
Think UCLA had second thoughts about the second half of their home-and-home series with Memphis when they saw the Tigers knock off Ole Miss at the Liberty Bowl in 2015?
UCLA won the first game in 2014 and will come to Memphis in Week 3 likely in dire need of a good win against Riley Ferguson and a team that hasn't taken much of a step back after the departures of Paxton Lynch and Mike Norvell.
Georgia Tech at UCF
The Yellow Jackets and Knights have only three all-time meetings — all won by Georgia Tech — and none since 2000.