As it relates to NCC playing Wesley, I have a lot of thoughts. I am most happy about it because it will bring up the SOS of the entire conference and so that helps my team. The current system, however, simply does not reward teams for scheduling up. We can all argue it should, but it doesn't. The data doesn't support it. Neither does the data support the notion that playing a Wesley helps your team go deeper in the playoffs, or helps your team win its conference, or furthers your program in any tangible way other than brand in other geographic areas where they don't know who you are. In fact, if you play in a tough conference to win the AQ, playing a top 10 team early in the season and losing is more often a death blow than a help.
As a case study we have a great example in our midst. Wheaton and North Central. These two teams are 5-5 against each other the last 10 years. NCC has made the playoffs 8 of those ten years. 7 times as the AQ and once as a pool C. They missed out the other 2 years despite 8-2 records as they lost early in the season to ONU in 2009 and UWSP in 2014. And if Wheaton knew the tiebreaker formula in 2012, NCC would have stayed home that year after an early season loss to UWL.
Wheaton, on the other hand, has made the playoffs 4 times in those 10 years. 3 of which were a pool C and last year was their only AQ in 10 years. In the Pool C years (06,08,10), they won all of their non conference games and lost to NCC during the season. In fact, in 2008 they lost to NCC and Elmhurst but still got in and made the semis.
Wheaton and NCC have very different philosophies in scheduling. Wheaton usually schedules 1 team with winning record and 2 teams with losing records. They clearly believe the CCIW is good enough to get them to the playoffs and be successful. NCC likes to schedule tougher teams. It has cost them a playoff spot 2 times (09, 14)and almost a 3rd (2012).
As far as going deeper in the playoffs, NCC has faced non conference teams with a combined winning record 4 times in 8 playoff appearances. in 3 of those years they lost in the 2nd round and last year they didn't make the playoffs. In 2010, NCC's non conference opponents were 4-26 and they went on to the quarterfinals at home v UWW, losing 10-20. In 2013 they lost to Mt Union by a point in the semis, their non conference opponents were 12-18 (all of them were WIAC schools).
Wheaton, in 2008, didn't play a non conference team with a winning record, were the last team into the playoff field and won every road game to get to the semi's. Last year they played Coe (5-5), Kalamazoo (2-8) and UWEC (1-9) and many said they had no quality wins and had their suspicions yet they beat NCC and took JCU down the final minute.
I just think there is no upside in the current system, for CCIW teams, to adding another top 10 team to your schedule. The system more often penalizes than benefits. If your team is good enough, you will win the conference and the CCIW champion has usually fared well in the playoffs. I don't think the extra burden of a tough non conference game provides any real benefit. I like it, but the system doesn't reward it.
This is exactly why I have long advocated scheduling "weaker" non conference foes. As much as possible, I think that to help assure inclusion in the playoffs, you want to schedule games you will almost assuredly win. Not necessarily 1-9 or 2-8 teams that your JV team could beat, but 5-5 or even 6-4 teams that will offer both a good chance for a W plus at least a little competition that may help prepare your team for a tougher upcoming conference schedule. This is especially important to teams that play in highly competitive conferences like the CCIW where there is always a good chance of losing a conference game. As USee said, from a fan standpoint, you want to see a competitive game, but what is the incentive to highly competitive scheduling when the likelihood is that a non-conference loss plus a conference loss may very well keep you, at 8-2, out of the playoffs because the selection committee looks primarily at your record as opposed to who you play. Lets say NCC or Wheaton, or any team for that matter, suffers a couple of one or two point losses to powerhouse teams. Despite coming within 2-4 points of an undefeated season, an 8-2 record may well keep them out of the playoffs. While thats utterly ridiculous, especially when anyone who knows a football from their posterior knows you're one of the top teams in the country, its the reality of the current system.
And not to commit the sin of dwelling on basketball on the football board, but the scheduling dilemma is even more pronounced in BB where CCIW teams currently have to schedule 11 non-con games without compiling a schedule that will put tournament participation in jeopardy when you add in the losses that can be fairly well expected during the highly competitive 14 game conference schedule.