Vitale's Cupcake City award

Over the years, before the start of the season, I have reviewed nonconference schedules all over Division I. After checking them closely, I have come up with an annual award, one that most schools do not want.

It is the Cupcake City Award.

I give this out to a school that has a nonconference schedule filled with baked goods, the cupcakes, baby! Instead of lining up a bunch of tough opponents, the winners of this award have nonconference opposition that should provide a false sense of security. When you play a number of pretenders, you don't always get an idea of how good you are come conference play.

Then again, the idea is to roll up the W's leading into the tougher portion of the schedule.

My friends, I do this to poke fun at schools that put up easier nonconference agendas. Some people have fun with it.

I remember several years back awarding Colorado State the honor. I mentioned that playing at Gardner-Webb was cupcake city, baby! Back then, the coach of Gardner-Webb, Rick Scruggs, got his community to rally around the idea, and they baked more than 1,200 cupcakes for that game.

They not only shipped me some of them (yes, they were good!), but they also went out and upset the Rams.

Giving out the prize this year was tough. A number of schools should record instant W's.

No disrespect to coach Billy Kennedy, a man who has gone through a lot and I truly admire. But Texas A&M is the winner of this year's Dickie V. Cupcake City honor.

OK, the Aggies do have a game against Oklahoma, plus the final of the Corpus Christi Challenge will pit A&M against a good Virginia team or Larry Brown's improving SMU squad. But look at this list (not to disrespect any opponent): Buffalo, Mississippi Valley State, Rice, Prairie View A&M, Sam Houston State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Missouri State, Houston, McNeese State, North Texas and Texas-Pan American.

I understand that when SEC play rolls around, Texas A&M has to travel to Kentucky, Florida, LSU and Tennessee. But until then, it is loading up with the cupcakes, baby!