Maybe you're right it might not change all that much from a selection committee or fan engagement perspective, except for a few more competitive home games. That said, I still believe that they purposely avoided Oakland- or UDM-level teams after last year's experience with EMU and NJIT -- there is a huge quality difference between a solid MAC or Horizon team and a team projected to finish dead last in the SWAC or NEC.
To answer your question re a good balanced non-conference schedule to emulate, maybe look at Virginia. High majors included Cal, WVU, Villanova, OSU; mid-majors included George Washington, William & Mary, Long Beach State, Oakland, George Mason and Lehigh. Only two terrible teams on their schedule, and one of those was Bryant.