Three home games against the Sun Belt conference? Will we see the refs from the 2005 Alamo Bowl again?
Nevertheless, 'ol Smiley Jones was mighty proud of himself as he e-mailed fans the big news today:
Uh, no they don't. If I'm a television network, I'm looking at this schedule and shaking my head in disgust. Virginia Tech-Nebraska will get snapped up by ABC, likely in prime time. But the rest of the games are headed straight to pay-per-view. 6 home games against Schmuckhead State is not attractive to anybody.
“The additional games we have added complement the Virginia Tech series very well. With the permanent 12-game schedule, we have talked regularly about trying to play eight home games on occasion and we are excited the 2008 season will present us that opportunity.”
Wait, that's not entirely fair. Western Michigan did go to a bowl game last year. And San Jose State isn't exactly dreadful. But the Sun Belt Conference is the worst 1-A conference in football, and last season, #115 Arkansas State, #124 Louisiana Lafayette, and #130 Florida Atlantic were worse in the 2006 Sagarin rankings than many 1-AA teams, such as #109 Maine.
In other words, the 2009 schedule is simply horrible.
Some will justify this schedule by pointing out teams like Ohio State, who play Youngstown State, Akron, Washington, and Kent State in 2007. But other's misbehavior doesn't justify your own misbehavior. The Weasels of Michigoon have Oregon and Notre Dame on their 2007 schedule. Last season, Oklahoma played Washington and Oregon.
Bottom line is that Nebraska should strive to play 2 home and home series each season, one with a matchup that will attract a national television audience and ESPN GameDay, and another against a BCS conference opponent. Steve Pederson has done an excellent job on the first point, with series scheduled against Virginia Tech, UCLA, and Washington. So far, he's generally failed on the second point except with the scheduling of Wake Forest. (Raise your hands if you thought 2 years ago that Wake Forest would win the ACC championship in football when this series was scheduled.)
In fairness to Pederson, he told the Journal-Star he's tried to schedule home-and-homes with BCS schools and hasn't found any takers:
Which is a shame...because schedules like 2009 hurt college football. This might have been the only option, but that doesn't make it right. These schedules are nothing to be proud of.
"A lot of teams say their conference schedule is tough enough. That’s what it comes down to most of the time."